Nix those winter demotivators
As it starts to cool down, many of us can already start to feel our bikini-fuelled, Summer-loving fitness motivation beginning to fade. When the season ahead offers thick, warm layers as a fashion staple and your usual workout time is either now dark, 15 degrees colder or both, there’s no wonder so many of us fall off the wagon between June and September.
“During Winter, we all tend to eat more, move less, and hibernate from the colder, darker, and shorter days,” says personal trainer and nutritionist Michael Hermann. “However, there are plenty of things you can do to not only maintain your fitness and figure throughout winter but actually enhance both. It will just take a few simple changes.” Your winter workout sched doesn’t need to be the same as the routine you kept during the hotter months; in fact, according to Hermann it shouldn’t be the same at all. He talked us through the ways we can make our colder weather training work for us, here are some of his tips.
Clothing is the easiest thing to change but probably the most powerful kick-starter for whipping you into shape. If you are cold, you will naturally feel more lethargic and less motivated to workout. Get some new winter workout gear that not only looks fabulous but feels comfortable too. Essential items include:
- Winter compression tights – don’t be caught without these!
- Running jacket – look for one that keeps off the rain & keeps you warm but still breathes
- Training socks – the wrong socks can leave you with shoes full of sweat and bad blisters – I recommend Ultralight micro merino socks with strategically placed mesh vent zones to avoid both of these problems
Eat for the season
Few people either forget or don’t even realise how powerful nutrition can be at boosting their metabolism and raising core temperature. Most people tend to consume more calories during winter and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Try dropping summer salads and warm yourself up with some slow cooked meals, stir fries, and homemade soups – the big ingredient you want to include in all of these is lean protein. Lean cuts of beef and chicken work well here as well as vegetarian sources such peas, lentils and bean varieties.
Protein increases the thermic effect of feeding (TEF) and raises core temperature significantly compared to carbs and fat. Don’t forget to include some spices too – these are great for raising your metabolic rate and core temperature – spices like cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger and turmeric should all make an appearance in winter meals.
Tweak your training
While summer might have seen you sweating it out in the sunshine or taking runs after work thanks to daylight savings, chances are this type of workout isn’t going to cut it in winter. Changing the way you train to ensure you stay motivated is seriously important.
Try training in the afternoon, inside a warm & bright gym, with some weights, and with friends (insert motivation and accountability).
Group fitness classes are another great option and possess all of the perks mentioned above.
If you want to get in and out quickly (who doesn’t!), throw out the bicep curls and isolated exercises and go for the bigger whole-body movements that are more metabolic such as squats, presses, deadlifts, rows and lunges.
Higher intensity training (like HIIT) not only gets the blood pumping more but expends a lot of calories both during exercise and up to 48 hours after through a raised metabolic rate, making it the perfect way to train in winter.
Getting your R&R
While staying fit in winter is important, it’s okay to take things down a notch and give your body a chance for extra recovery.
If an early morning workout is your goal, make sure you’re allowing yourself adequate rest– leaving a warm bed is difficult at the best of times. Feeling overly tired when you wake up certainly does not enhance motivation.
When you finish a workout, reward yourself and relax in a salt bath after training as opposed to showering – this is another method that keeps you warm but also helps with muscle repair.
Finally, spend extra time on the foam roller, take yourself to a heated yoga class or simply take things a little easier with some slow cardio followed by lower body releases. Stick to a routine but also, give yourself a break.