8 of the Best Ways to Stay Fit, Healthy and Motivated This Winter
It is no hidden secret especially in colder countries that when winter comes people’s motivation to train and maintain their fitness programs becomes more of a struggle. I have run fitness bootcamps for over 10 years, as well as owning a gym, and attendance always takes a dip in the colder, darker months.
Nevertheless, when spring comes clients are always filled with regret that they slipped up or didn’t continue with their training. Due to this, I’ve developed numerous approaches to ensure people stay motivated and healthy during this season – here are some of the ways to improve your fitness levels in winter.
1. Adjust Your Training Routine
Clients typically have a behaviour to train more and be healthier in the summer. This is down to many reasons. Warmer and longer nights mean that clients like being outdoors. Holidays have been booked so clients make a conscious effort to look good then. The irony I see is that clients adapt their clothes in winter to adjust to the darker and colder nights but don’t have the same approach to their training. Let me give an example; parks are full of people running and doing classes morning and evening in the summer – which is great for people’s health – but too many people try to continue that in the darker months. But then when it’s dark, wet and freezing, your bed or Netflix can seem ever more tempting.
As with our clothes, we need to adjust. Try PHA training, HIIT training, Tabata or classes in your gym. Athletes use the winter months to condition their bodies through upping their weight training programs. This allows them to prepare and increase performance for the following year.
2. Join a Local Fitness Group
Sometimes a little accountability, structure from an instructor and a community of like minded people is all someone needs to get them through the winter months. Fitness classes are great for this. For example, in my bootcamp class, I will adapt the training to the weather accordingly. You’ll also be joined by a very supportive group that gets vocal on the morning of sessions through social media to encourage and support each other to get to the class.
3. Train With a Friend
There are many benefits to training with a friend. The biggest one is that you will support each other in the colder months. When one of you feels low, the other one will be there to pick them up. Always ensure you both have similar goals and actually create training plans you can do together, in or outside the gym. The other big advantage of training with a friend is that you will also get excited and want to see them, which supports you when building a more positive relationship with food and exercise.
4. Set Challenges and Performance Related Goals
Don’t use the gym or training as a means to lose weight. Instead, always have performance related goals in mind when you go to the gym. Exercise is not the only thing that impacts weight loss; weight loss also comes down to nutrition and there is a high chance that, with Christmas around the corner, nutrition becomes less of a priority.
Clients should always have more powerful, performance related targets when going to the gym instead of burning a certain amount of calories. If you set performance goals it will give you a sense of achievement as you start to see progress. With that in mind, here are some examples of performance related goals I use with my clients:
- Increasing the 1.5 mile run time
- Hitting personal bests with certain lifts
- Increasing muscle size
- Completing a plank for a certain period of time
- Being able to cycle longer distances
- Increasing the intensity of their PHA training
- Climbing a rope
- Doing a pull up
- Increasing their 10k time
- Learning to run
All these have a more positive and meaningful impact on a client mentally, meaning that they are actually want to continue their training in the winter months.
5. Keep Up With Your Vitamin and Supplement Regime
There is a clear relationship between vitamin deficiencies and lack of motivation in the winter months. In the UK, SAD syndrome is very often overlooked and we always take for granted the goodness we get from the sun and our diets. A huge majority of the population rarely see any direct sunlight in the winter months, so make sure you keep on top of it by trying to get as much outdoor exposure as possible and top up with vitamins if you feel you need to.
6. Book a Fitness Event
Striving towards a goal or having an objective will always increase the chances of you keeping motivated and focused in the winter months. Book an event or race that inspires and work towards it. This will give subconscious accountability and add structure to your training routine. Make sure you book an event that isn’t too far away either, so you always feel a little bit of pressure and responsibility to keep the training on point. Within the next 12 weeks to 3 months is a good time frame to get ready for an event.
7. Use a Personal Trainer
Sometimes bringing an expert on board and letting them take control can be the most productive thing going forward. A decent personal trainer will have all the knowledge, skills, and experience to help create an adaptive training programme throughout the winter months. With the right personal trainer you will find you will achieve your results and goals much quicker, which will increase your motivation, belief and relationship with your exercise. This will produce productive results in the winter months, which wouldn’t be so effective if you were training by yourself.
8. Book a Residential Boot Camp
It’s very common at this time of year for our bookings to start increasing for January and February bootcamps. One of the biggest reasons for this is that people openly admit that they don’t want to turn up to bootcamp being in a bad position mentally and physically. Making a commitment to boot camp gives them an end goal, increasing their chances of meeting their goals and not slipping up through the winter months. At our fitness and weight loss boot camp, we introduce clients to a huge variety of training methods that are all completely adaptable throughout the year so they are empowered to take control when they go home.
Whatever your fitness or health goal is, for you to be able to achieve it long term you need to have the knowledge, experience, and confidence to be able to adapt and be creative with your training and nutrition programmes. If you ever feel you are not enjoying your training or it starts to become a chore because the nights are getting darker, make changes that keep you happy and motivated to want to keep fit and healthy. If you feel you need more help or support, don’t hesitate to get in touch.