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 mountain girl Joanna from Living Mint Green. Canmore-based Joanna is one of my top 5 favourite blogs because she loves mountains, food, and Hawaii. Besides the great content and drool worthy mountain photos in her blog, she’s hilarious so it’s always entertaining to read her posts.

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Introduce yourself 

Hi! I’m Joanna, author of the lifestyle blog Living Mint Green. I write about my life in the Canadian Rockies which is mostly comprised of mountain adventures, running and exploring the outdoors.

Where do you live and what are your winters like?

I live in Canmore, which is an absolute paradise for year round outdoor enthusiasts and athletes. It’s the home of the Canadian Biathlete Olympic Team, and was host to the 1988 Winter Olympic cross country skiing and biathlon events.  One of the things I treasure most about living in Canmore is it’s allowed me to connect (and train!) with accomplished athletes.  This will be my first full winter in the Rockies, and although I’m slightly nervous about the cold and snow (I’m used to mild Southern Alberta winters), I’m excited to pack my spare time full of winter sports – particularly snowshoeing and snowboarding.

What are your go-to activities?

When it comes to fitness, I’m used to doing something physically active everyday, and the changing seasons challenges me to become more creative with my workouts.  My go-to (indoor) winter regimen incorporates strength training, Bikram yoga and cross-training cardio on stair climbers and elliptical machines. (I’m a runner, but refuse to run on treadmills – my gait never feels ‘right’.)
When it comes to the outdoors, snowshoeing offers a full body workout AND it’s a lot of fun.

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

Living an active lifestyle is just who I am now, and I’ll always find a way to keep moving, no matter what the weather conditions are like. Although winter is a time to pause and slow down a bit (key word = A BIT), I’m not happy sitting indoors in front of the tv day after day.

Do you do any winter activities?

Winter is actually when I get into the best physical shape because I spend more time in the gym. I’ve always found group exercises classes to be beneficial in preventing gym-routine boredom, plus you get to connect with like-minded individuals.  Bodypump is my favourite group exercise class because it incorporates full body strength training to great music. It’s ideal for people who aren’t good at following choreography.
Hot yoga (particularly Bikram yoga) is such a treat. Just knowing you have access to a 40C oasis can help keep the winterblues at bay. This form of yoga is deeply restorative for the body, mind and spirit and it targets every single muscle, ligament, tendon and major organ systems. Yoga is great for treating and preventing sports injuries too and a solid winter practice can help us athletes prepare for the upcoming training/race season in the spring.
Winter sports. I love snowshoeing and am still learning how to snowboard. Now that I live in the mountains, I have no excuse but to get out there and take advantage of the snow. I’m currently accepting applications for new friends who would like to join me on my upcoming winter adventures.
I’m particularly excited about snowshoeing because it satisfies my hiking craving and you feel super-human while running up massive snow banks. Cross country skiing is a lot of fun too, especially with a group of friends.

Do you have a healthy comfort food recipe to share?

Maintaining a healthy diet and eating with the seasons. As we transition into colder temperatures, we naturally start to crave warmer, heartier meals.   And, nature provides us with just that:  plenty of grounding foods, such as root vegetables and squash.  My slow cooker is my best friend in the winter. I love making  curries featuring sweet potatoes and chickpeas with (warming) spices such as  turmeric, ginger, cumin, cayenne, etc.

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

Nights in with family and friends. I’ve always been known as a nurturer within my circles of friends, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than hosting a dinner party.  I love cooking for people!  One of my favourite crowd-pleasing winter dishes is a baked sweet potato casserole made with whipped coconut milk, maple syrup and pecans. It’s unreal.

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  • Joanna @ LivingMintGreen December 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Have you interviewed Kaella Carr yet? All she does is run. That’s it. That’s her life. 😉

    • Betty LIVIN December 22, 2014 at 10:21 am

      You betcha! Her interview is coming in soon! She’s hard core about running in the cold too!


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