Winter Cross Training

I’ve been less motivated to train since it is cold out, but still wanting to burn calories.  I’ll occasionally hit the treadmill, a spin class, or suck it up and swim a mile but I’m taking the opportunity to try new things.

Matt likes any outdoor fitness, so when I suggested we treat Des Moines like a vacation destination, he jumped at the chance to suggest we rent snowshoes and hit the trails at Walnut Woods State Park.  Because I was “playing vacation” I was more apt to try something new.  It was SO FUN!

We used Matt's trekking poles and rented snowshoes from Active Endeavors for $15/pair/day

We used Matt’s trekking poles and rented snowshoes from Active Endeavors for $15/pair/day

We’d had our second snowfall of the year and it was super quiet and calm in in the woods.  The trails were pretty clear, but the best part was going off the trails and walking through the big soccer field areas that hadn’t been touched since before the first snowfall of over a foot fell.  Great workout and fun too!

snowshoeing 2

Our friends/training partners Abra and Braxton invited us to try Salsa Lessons with them as a fun new workout.  We would have been game, except that Matty  J has gigs with Brother Trucker some of the Fridays in the session.  I know we’re game to try the free intro classes at Lime Lounge on Thursdays, but in the meantime, we decided to practice some of our old ballroom dance moves.

When we were high school sweeties, we took some ballroom dance lessons with friends, would don our homecoming outfits, and go to the early evening dances at the Col Ballroom in Davenport with a ton of octogenarians who bought us popcorn and pop.  We weren’t good, but it was so fun!  Then Swing dancing became popular when we were in college and we used to go to dances in our college towns and (because I was pretty tiny then and guys were not so worried about things like back pain) I loved getting tossed around.

A page from my high school scrapbook!  Matty J and me (no, I am not a natural redhead) prepare for a night out with the octogenarians!

A page from my high school scrapbook! Matty J and me (no, I am not a natural redhead) prepare for a night out with the octogenarians!

Since we couldn’t fit a dance class into the schedule, we cleared out the living room furniture, made a playlist of contemporary songs that are good for waltzing and cha cha, and practiced at home!  It was fun to research the music.  Most of the recommended contemporary pop waltzes were way too fast, but we found a few that worked.  Our two favorite contemporary pop cha cha songs were Taio Cruz’s “Dynomite” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.”

I looked up both of these activities on’s MyPlate.  Nothing was listed for Snowshoeing (boo!)  but the estimated 1 hour calorie burn for ballroom dancing was about 200-300 depending on how fast you danced (this is for my measurements-5 ft. 1 and about 122 lbs).  Not too bad for a free date night activity!


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