By Joel Zanatta
The Cycling Lawyer

If you find November the hardest month to keep up your exercise routine, you’re not alone. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s rainy, it’s snowy — I get it. In fact, November is such a tough month, that a few years ago two buddies in Boston started something called The November Project. It was a way for them to stay committed to working out during these dark days.

They were on to something. That two-person project ballooned into a nationwide free-fitness movement. The November Project now stretches across 16 cities in the US, involving thousands of people, supporting each other throughout November and beyond.

I find training in November hard too. So I turned to my friend and personal trainer Karla Benson for some advice on staying motivated during the dark days of winter.

Karla’s not just an amazing personal trainer and indoor cycling coach, but also an elite cyclist and triathlete. Karla hits the road all spring, summer and fall. She looks at the winter season as an opportunity to try something new.

Now is the time Karla really mixes things up. She’s currently trying boxing, which is really helping her upper body strength for cycling. And for the entire month of October, she did a Pilates challenge.

“You’ve got to shake it up on occasion, and have some fun,” says Karla “Try to do something different to work on any of your weaknesses and any area you can improve on. Maybe it’s your mobility, or tight hips. It’s a great way to stay motivated and use your body in new ways.”

After a dynamic warm-up, the following exercises are great options for a cycling focused strength training session:

  • deadlifts for strength
  • box jumps for explosivenes
  • lunges for unilateral strength
  • paloff press & side plank for lateral core strength

All very doable with some items at home.

Box Jumps



Paloff Press

Side Plank

If you are looking for some assistance to get you started on your off road training, or you want to bring your training routine to the next level, we highly recommend consulting with a personal trainer for a few sessions.  And if you want to connect with Karla for some personal training, you can reach her at

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