During winter it’s easy to slip into hibernation – we tend to lose focus and forget the health and fitness goals set earlier in the year. But when spring hits and we realise our clothes are a little tighter, that warm cozy bed can seem like the enemy.
Don’t panic just yet, here are 5 tips to help you maintain your gains in winter.
Stay motivated this winter and on track with your training by switching your mindset to a positive one. Why should winter be any different to summer (or spring or autumn), when it comes to exercise and your training regime? Remind yourself of why you exercise and how good it makes you feel. – the abundance of energy it brings, the lighter mood and the reduced stress levels, for example. Research suggests a positive mindset can have a wider impact to our overall health. Clinical mental health counsellor Donna Torney says, “positive thinking leads to positive feelings like happiness, satisfaction, pleasure and contentment. Positive emotions not only affect your mental health, but also have been shown to boost the immune system, increasing resistance to illness and disease.”
Staying on track with a regular training schedule is key to maintaining your gains in winter. Add sessions into your diary the same way you would for a work meeting, a birthday party or a personal appointment. If getting out of bed for an early workout becomes too hard, look at moving your session to the afternoon or evening instead so you don’t miss it.
Set a winter fitness goal and consider it a three month challenge to achieve it! You might want to run a marathon, or or fit into a new swimsuit next summer – let winter be your time to put a focus on what you’d like to achieve.
Stephen Kraus, author of Psychological Foundations of Success, explores the three reasons why goal setting (including a fitness goal) increases performance goals provide direction and channel focus and effort goals create motivation and a desire to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be goals encourage us to think longer and more creatively about progressing forward
If you’re an outdoor exerciser, changing your workout wardrobe is essential for maintaining your gains this winter - an extra layer or two, longer pants instead of shorts and sweat-wicking material is perfect to keep the chilly air out and regulate your body temperature during a workout.
Gyms not only provide a wide variety of exercise options – from cardio machines and strength equipment to classes and group training sessions – they also provide a supportive and comfortable exercise environment too, with like-minded people. It can be very easy to find a gym buddy to exercise with too – doubling your chances of getting to your workouts if you’re accountable to each other and doubling your fun and results if you’re training together on a regular basis.
Don’t let winter ruin your efforts made throughout the rest of the year, maintain your gains and remember summer goals are achieved in winter!