As I put the electric blanket on our bed and slip into my bed socks, I seriously entertain the idea of not leaving the house again for the next three months. After an unusually hot Autumn, the start of winter has come as a very rude (and unwelcome) shock! Getting out of bed in the morning can be a task in itself but add freezing temperatures and lack of sunlight to that and the chance of avoiding the snooze button drops by about a billion percent.
As trainers we notice a trend through the cooler months with a quick decline in class attendance as soon as the first cold morning of the season hits. I'm not saying it's easy to exercise through winter but if you can avoid completely falling off the wagon you'll also avoid, weight gain, low energy and undoing all the hard work you put in for the last nine months so it's definitely worth a try! To help you combat the urge to hibernate this winter, why not try my five winter exercise strategies that might actually work...
1. Invest in some new (and warm) training gear.
New training gear can give you a little push to roll out of bed and get dressed in the morning. I don't know about you but when I have new active wear, I look forward to the gym just so I have an excuse to wear my new outfits! The best part about it is that you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars at Lorna Jane anymore; Cotton on Body, TK MAXX and even Kmart have some really nice fitness attire that looks the part without costing an arm and a leg. It may not last as long as the expensive brands but it will get you through winter and it's a great excuse to buy new stuff again next year😉
2. Mix up your workout routine.
If you've been meaning to try something new then now might be a good time to do it. Maybe you could trial a different type of class or commit to a fitness challenge to keep yourself accountable? Perhaps you might switch your early morning time slots for evening classes? Mixing up your workout routine or trying new types of exercise will not only keep things interesting but it will also challenge your body which means hello sore muscles and hello results! Win win!
3. Phone a friend.
Those who train together stay together and let's face it, it's hard to rollover and go back to sleep when you have someone honking outside your house at six in the morning, A training buddy is great for accountability at any time of year but in particular during winter when motivation is low. Choose someone you know will be on your back about hitting the gym because chances are, if they stop going, so will you!
4. Go to bed earlier.
Getting enough sleep is so important for many reasons but in particular to keep your body and mind functioning well during the day. If you go to bed late, you will be less likely to wake up for that 6am pump class and even if you do manage to get there, you'll feel lethargic and unmotivated for a decent workout. Good quality sleep will help you make better food choices, give you the energy to exercise and also give you mental clarity to get through the day so put your electric blanket on early, pop a good book by the bed and make sure to get at least 7 hours of shuteye each night.
5. Treat 'yoself.
Don't get too excited. I don't mean reward yourself with a KitKat every time you make it to the gym in June, July or August but you could create your own reward system. Some people use star charts but however you want to do it, track your workouts and once you reach a certain goal, buy yourself something nice. For example, if you make it to the gym three times a week for a month then you might buy those sunnies you've had your eyes on since Christmas. The further along the chart you get, the more desirable the rewards become.
Whether you exercise or don't exercise during winter, it will become a habit so choose which outcome you'd prefer. I'm not saying you're going to roll out of bed with a smile on your dial every morning but if you can find small ways to stay on track then you will feel so much better for it when Spring rolls around. Remember you don't have to exercise six times a week to make it worthwhile. If your exercise schedule drops to four times a week through winter then so be it! It's okay to slow down at different times of the year but the key is not to stop completely.
Here's to a happy, healthy and motivated you this winter,