I know, I know. Training in winter can really suck.
It’s dark, it’s cold, and we seem to be more tired at this time of year!
Believe it or not, I too struggle to stay motivated to train over winter. But it remains a non-negotiable despite how little I feel like getting out of bed some mornings. Here’s what I do to help keep my training consistent and my health on track in the colder months.
- I get plenty of sleep
Our biology doesn’t lie to us. In winter we naturally need more sleep to match the extended period of darkness, so even though some nights I love the idea of snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie late into the night, I make sure I get to sleep at the same time each night! This consistency is important for our overall health as it effects our moods, our cravings and of course, our energy levels.
- I come up with an interesting or challenging goal
Bringing a little bit of spice to my training helps immensely. It creates more excitement and purpose, which means that I know why I must turn up to training each week. There aren’t many public events over winter to train for, so you may need to get creative here. I find that working on a skill (eg. learning a new move like the ‘snatch’) or working towards a new PB works well.
- Embrace indoor workouts
I love training outdoors but the reality is that over winter the weather is unreliable, and I can’t have it turn into an excuse to miss a training session. Strength, mobility, and conditioning/interval training take priority over winter, which means by summer I am ready for anything!
- Do different activities on the weekends
In summer it’s pretty normal to go for walks or do outdoor activities that naturally involve movement. For most people this drops off in winter, which means that overall movement is reduced.
I combat this by booking activities with friends and family that are winter friendly. For example, indoor rock climbing, ice skating or local hikes (with rain coats!)
- Purchase good gear
Every year Melbournians (including me) seem surprised at how cold and wet it can be. But as soon as you wear appropriate clothes, this all changes. There is a phrase that goes something like this, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing’. As soon as I got myself proper layers for training in, a beanie and a really good rain coat, everything changed!
- And finally, it’s essential that I plan ahead rather than go with my ‘feelings’
In winter, I never really ‘feel’ like training when it’s dark and cold. So, if I rely on motivation to get me out the door, it will never work!
But if it’s in the diary, and if I’ve booked a session in with a trainer or friend, I will always make the effort to follow through and meet with them.
These tricks and tips work wonders for me. In combination they are very powerful, but even if you added one or two of them to your winter strategy, I’m sure it would help.
The most important thing to do is to remember that consistent training needs to be a non-negotiable if you want to remain fit and healthy all year round. So, deciding that you will ‘find a way’ and make it happen each and every week must come before any of these strategies will truly work.
Pippa Burfield is the Head Coach and owner of Strong Women Can who specialise in helping women over 30 improve their movement, gain strength and fitness, and improve their motivation and overall health.
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