Now the cold days have well and truly arrived, it makes it that little bit more difficult to muster up enough energy – and enthusiasm – to get ourselves to the gym. So here are a few tips to keep on track to achieving those summer goals.
Prep the night before… Always!
If your kit is in your bag, your supplements sorted and the protein is already in the shaker you’ll find it much easier to haul yourself to a morning session or you’ll be prepped for the night session straight after work. Two minutes of prep the night before can make a huge difference.
Rise and shine!
Working out during the winter months can seem like an impossible task sometimes, but for me there is no better time to get fit. Darker evenings will have you feeling like it’s much later than it is and with that comes a more significant barrier to motivation, especially after a long day. Don’t let this be the case! Don’t lay in bed in the morning and feel sorry for yourself because it’s still dark. Getting up and at it means that you have a reduced chance of missing your morning or evening workout. Think of why you started your journey and what your short-term goals are and this should be enough to get you up and out of bed. I always have my Contact Coffee prepped in the cafetiere, which is something to look forward to in a morning.
Find some structure
Winter training is often disrupted by the festive season. It’s hard to settle into a routine, but that’s when you have to decide what your priorities are. Plan around those Christmas parties and celebrations to try and ensure you’re still getting some training in, even if it’s a jog or an hours gym/CrossFit class. If you’re not training, then you can’t expect to achieve your goals, so if you are struggling to train prioritise sufficient intensity in those sessions. I find that giving 90-100% in a class workout can be as beneficial as training for a couple of hours alone at low intensity.
Eat well, but eat right
It’s important to try and find structure in your diet around winter months. Be sure to enjoy yourself at social festivities, but prepared to manage your diet around them to still ensure you’re eating the right quantities of good food. All we have to do is make smart food choices around days where we know we will be overindulging. Eat a little less the day of the social occasion and then maybe less the day after to even up your week’s calorie intake. However, it’s still important to still ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein each day around your training sessions regardless of overindulgence. I started tracking my meals on My Fitness Pal last month to ensure I’m not overeating fat, but am eating enough to fuel my CrossFit sessions. I’m lucky enough to have Next Step nutrition currently helping me out with my macro split and ensuring I have enough calories to accommodate my sessions.
Everyone no matter who you are loses their gym mojo. You’ll feel demotivated and struggle to find any motivation to do anything. The best thing I find to do is talk to someone about it. Whether it’s a loved one or coach at the gym they’ll give you some confidence and guidance on whatever it is what is making you feel de-motivated. For me, it’s always injuries. When de-motivated I tend to make some short-term goals and manage this week by week to keep things fresh. This then starts to rebuild confidence and before you know it you’ll be smashing gym sessions again.
Find a workout buddy
If you feel like you can’t manage on your own, find a workout buddy to help you through the tough winter months. A workout buddy can give you hints and tips and also make a session more fun or give you something to chase in a workout. In my opinion, a training partner can often be the difference between success and failure in a gym session. Training with someone a few times a week is crucial to my motivation and helps me ensure I am progressing efficiently and effectively.
On your rest day or even every other day (if that’s what it takes) promise yourself a treat. This isn’t a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but perhaps a mug of hot chocolate, a sports massage or even a TV binge. Whatever floats your boat I suppose, but this often helps me keep on track and training harder.
Whenever you’re feeling the chill think of these tips to stay motivated and exercise. A little preparation can go a long way, and structure with a good diet will help you face the winter months. Winter doesn’t mean you have to hibernate; no more excuses!