Winter Fit is a series where I interview Canadian fitness/outdoors bloggers and get a first hand look into how they stay fit and motivated during the long cold winter months.

This week, we’re talking to a gal who lives in my old home town of Fort McMurray, Melissa from Fit Girls Rock.


Introduce yourself

Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa Shevchenko. I am a 35 year old (almost 36) fitness fanatic, ISSA certified personal trainer, Beach body coach, runner, heavy lifter, world traveler and wife to my husband of 3 years.

Where do you live and what are your winters like?

We live in Alberta’s North, Fort McMurray to be exact, where the winters tend to start early and linger around for what sometimes seems like an eternity. It gets cold; bitterly cold here and sometime in January or February you are bound to see at least a week or longer of between -40 to -50 degrees Celsius. It is a dry cold; one that is very different from what I am used to. I am originally from a very small town in Newfoundland where we always got a lot of snow but the cold was a damp, wet one.


What are your go-to activities?

I’m not going to lie; I hate the cold. Why I chose to live in a place that sees these temperatures is beyond me, but I do like it here and although the summers are short; they are beautiful. I don’t do many activities in the extreme cold; other than running from my car to work, but when we aren’t having that bitter cold, I do like to skate, ski and snowshoe. I will admit though that the majority of my winter fitness routine is maintained inside a gym or at home. You will usually find me lifting some heavy weight around, running on the treadmill or doing a yoga class. I love variety in my routine.

How do you stay motivated in the dark, gloomy winter months to stick to a fitness routine?

During the winter, with the excessive darkness and cold I certainly have had to really re-vamp my mental focus so as not to get in a rut and want to go into hibernation mode. Being that this is my lifestyle and has been for quite some time now, I don’t feel as good inside or out if I am not working out and eating right so that is my main motivation to keep up with my routine.

However some smaller things that I do to ensure I don’t skip my workouts are every night I pack my gym bag for the next day and put it in the car so I don’t have to go home after work. I simply drive right to the gym, get my workout in and then go home. For me, personally, I find that if I go home first then it is that much harder to go back out into the cold.

I also always set small goals for myself and I find this especially important during the winter months. If I have goals to focus on, no matter how big or small, I tend to want to do more, and do what it takes to achieve those goals.

I have also recently purchased some at home equipment. It is mostly smaller, inexpensive stuff but yet it helps me get a workout in on days when I just really don’t want to leave the house. There are also so many great exercises you can do at home with just your own bodyweight. I am adding to my home gym all the time but right now I have a pull-up bar, bosu ball, swiss ball, dumb bells (variety of sizes), barbell, kettle bells (a couple of different sizes), plyo boxes, lebert equalizer bars and a treadmill. I also have the insanity & P90X3 DVD’s

Do you do any winter activities?

My husband and I both love to ski/snowboard, snow shoeing is also fun and I like to skate.

Do you have a healthy comfort food recipe to share?

In the winter I like to make a ground turkey chili recipe. Link below.

What advice would you give for someone struggling to get up and moving during the winter when hibernation mode sets in?

Get moving right away. Don’t think about it just do it; the longer you think about it the harder it will be to get going. Also setting small goals for yourself and putting dates to them helps keep the proper mindset and focus.

Invest in some inexpensive gym equipment for your home, google bodyweight exercises or even invest in some DVD programs which are really great to keep you moving as well.

Workout with a partner or get yourself a personal trainer; having that accountability really helps.

Lastly, try something new. Join a class, try some outdoor activities. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you keep moving.



  • fromtrextotigress November 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    What a wonderful idea.

    • Betty LIVIN November 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Thanks! I was getting sick of “winter fit tips” coming from trainers in sunny L.A. We girls living in snow need to hear from other gals living in snow!


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