THE BLOG
01/09/2014 04:27 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2014

Snow Day Code of Conduct

I equate having a snow day with entering a time machine. Not where you travel to the future or the past, but a time-altering time machine that makes the present move incredibly slowly. I also have an attraction-slash-aversion to snow days: When they are declared, I am jubilant. When I'm halfway through one, I feel like I'm serving a life sentence at a penitentiary. And the cost to my non-physical energy is correlated to how many inches we get: The more it snows the more exhausted I feel the next day.

To counteract, the temptation of going off your fitness plan, I've outlined below some
snow day Code of Conduct Rules.

1. Don't stay up later than usual.
With state-of-the-art radar weather predictions, not only do we know what is coming, when it is arriving and how much, Snowmageddons are usually predicted a few days in advance. If you run into a crowd in the A&P milk aisle or if the CVS is out of flame-glo logs, then you have no one to blame but your own procrastination. Before the kids get out of school on the eve of a snow day, the next day's school cancellation has often been announced.

This is good news for moms everywhere. In the olden days, snow predictions always meant waking up at 6 a.m. to watch the news or, more recently, to check the school website to answer the age old questions: "Do we? Or do we not have to go to school?"

So now, after stocking up on healthy snacks and extra wine, moms everywhere relax bedtime curfews and let the kids play online blitz Scrabble all night with their friends. Moms even might stay up until midnight watching consecutive episodes of Scandal, but this theory is flawed, even though their motivation is not. We sometimes rationalize that snow days are perfect for bucking our usual routine and doing what we usually don't. Fair enough. Where we go wrong is in thinking that moms are able to sleep in past 6:07 a.m.

2. Have a Non-Negotiable Bare Minimum Plan.

Brushing your teeth is on my non-negotiable list (although my gym friend Bonnie did tell me that she always brushes her teeth at the gym and that on a recent snow day, she didn't come to the gym, so she didn't brush her teeth at all). Come on. Walking the dog is another one. It's snowing sideways? Too bad. Get the leash and let's go. Seventeen inches of snow? Keep moving. A snow storm does have the potential, like all other schedule changes, to seriously derail a solid fitness plan. For those of you who are getting results, stop and think hard about what you can do in order to guarantee that this major change in your schedule doesn't keep you from getting to your goals.

3. Take a Shower

It's tempting to skip it. But if you do, you'll feel more like yourself.

4. Shovel that sidewalk.

Think of it as cross-training or The Seven Minute Workout. If you like a bit of muscle soreness, go ahead and shovel too much. Otherwise, get the kids to help. Whether they want to or not.

4a. Warm up before you start shoveling.

I'm convinced that the reason so many people get stiff from shoveling is because they go from sitting on the couch in PJs to throwing on their snow gear and immediately digging in. With the heavy snowfall this week, this can be really too much, too soon. Next time, prior to putting on your snow gloves and picking up the shovel, do some squats, some walking lunges and most importantly some planks and some crunches to wake up the abs (the abs are the opposite muscle group to the spine, so if your core is firing then you less apt to strain your back).

5. Snow day Timezone is another dimension. I don't know about you, but I was shocked when looked at my watch at 7 p.m. on our snow day. I thought it was at least 10:30 p.m.

6. No fighting.

There's nowhere to escape to because everything is closed.

7. Snow day WORKOUT PLAN.

If you are the type to start drizzling fat gravy over your loaded nachos just because you are off your routine, have A Non-Negotiable snow day Workout Plan that you can do anywhere. Even stranded at the airport. Or in your mother-in-law's spare bedroom. What would that look like?

snow day WORKOUT PLAN
500 moving squats (or jog in place for 20 minutes or run 2 miles if you can)
400 jumping jacks
300 walking and/or reverse lunges
200 crunches
100 pushups (okay, maybe not 100, just do as many good form push-ups as you can)

Weather is never within our control. Our jobs are often outside our control. Idiots are always driving the car directly in front of us. But our body is almost always within our control. If you get a workout in not only will you feel better but it can also still be a great day. Controlling your body puts you back in control of your life. And as a local female weather forecaster recently mentioned, 17 inches of anything is too much.

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