Discovering your ski pants are too tight while on vacation is a sign that your week is going to be painful. Of course, you could always buy new pants, but you can't avoid the fact that your muscles are poised to betray you. There are simple ways to prepare for your ski vacation. By acting instead of reacting, you're going to have a ski vacation that is 100 percent better.
Ski season has kicked off with a vengeance in Utah with snow flying and everyone excited about resort openings. Every year I listen to my friends whine and moan about the first few ski outings. Some of them ease their pain with an elaborate routine involving copious amounts of Advil, multiple massages, and even more copious amounts of whiskey. Every year I ask the same question, "Wouldn't it be easier to take a few weeks and get in shape?" And every year I suffer through the same response, "Why? I already have a system that works. Advil is awesome." Unless you are a masochist, here are a few tips for getting into shape for the upcoming season:
Start slow. If you haven't been exercising, don't jump full-steam into a complex series of workouts. You'll get burned out and quit. There is a workout technique called "scaling" where you can take on almost any exercise and make it work. If you haven't been active, start walking, progress to jogging and then add in a few ski-specific strength exercises.
Start with a goal in mind. Give yourself a minimum of six to eight weeks before your ski vacation to see a difference. If you ski only once or twice a year, having a goal is essential to having a pain-free vacation. Similar to sunburns, the inability to walk after a day on the slopes really impacts your après ski enjoyment.
Keep it going. This seems simple, but consistency is the key. This is my own demon as well. I'll go a few weeks with a regular exercise routine, and then life interferes. Try to do something small even on hectic days, even if it is walking for 15 to 20 minutes. Be consistent and work your way up.
Do what you can. Get rid of guilt, we all lead busy lives. A couple months ago I started bringing workout clothes to the office. Every once in a while when I have a break, and a meeting-free afternoon, I change into sweats and go for a quick run. The rest of the day is spent comfortably in workout clothes, standing a few feet away from anyone. I feel better when I fit a workout into an otherwise busy day.
Hire an expert or get a friend to harass you. My boyfriend and I both do CrossFit. We bond through sharing our daily workout and telling each other how awesome we are. Working out with a friend keeps you motivated. If you don't have a buddy and you have the resources, hire a trainer. As you start to see changes, most likely your significant other or spouse will tell you how good you look. That's the best motivation.
You'll be so glad you did these things when you're barreling down a steep hill on two skinny sticks and feel your muscles holding strong. Not to mention you'll look good and your ski pants won't feel too tight. Forget the Advil and pain-recovery strategy -- get in shape and have a great ski vacation.
What is your favorite tip for getting in shape for ski season?
Maile Keone is an entrepreneur, writer and traveler. She currently works in the vacation rental industry helping people stay in cool places.