Winter can be the toughest time of the year to feel motivated to stick to your fitness schedule. With the short days, rain and cold temperatures not set to cease for months, it may seem more appealing than ever to stay at home on the sofa. Still, it would be a massive shame to waste all the hard work you put in over the summer. So here are five winter workout tips to help you continue smashing your fitness goals until the new year and beyond.
Have a plan to beat the snooze button
There are loads of benefits to working out in the morning. However, it’s natural to find this tougher in the winter. If it’s still dark when your alarm buzzes, the lack of sunlight will cause the brain to release melatonin, a powerful sleep-inducing chemical. You’ll need a solid strategy to beat it.
Going to bed earlier will be really helpful. Ensuring all your equipment is ready before you go to sleep is another great move. It should be easier to get up if your body is well-rested and there’s no unnecessary hassle to demotivate you.
Invest in equipment
Heavy wind and rain won’t be able to put you off your jog if you have a quality raincoat. Invest in a light, windproof jacket from a well-known sports or hiking brand. It can make a world of difference. But make sure to also buy some reflective straps so you can be seen in poor light, and some proper running trainers that’ll keep you safe in wet and slippery conditions.
Keeping hydrated is just as important in winter, even if you don’t feel as hot and sweaty. Also, make sure you warm up extensively, as you’ll be more prone to muscle strains in cold weather.
Have a target
Many people are inspired to work out in the spring because they want a great ‘beach body’ to show off on their summer vacation. You can keep this summer body motivation going all year long by arranging other reasons to stay fit throughout the winter. This could be as simple as joining or creating a team for indoor sports like basketball. It could also be a great time of year to sign up for a charity boxing match or set up a sponsored fitness challenge.
The ‘Start With Why’ concept may have been coined by Simon Sinek about business motivation, but it applies to fitness, too.
Prepare for carb cravings
It’s natural to crave comforting carbohydrates during the winter because a lack of sunlight leaves you with reduced serotonin levels. This deficiency will often leave the body craving serotonin from the starches and sugars in high-carb foods. Not ideal if you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle mass.
The best counter-attack to these carb cravings may actually be to give in to them. That doesn’t mean you need to stuff your face with pasta and cakes all winter. You can get your carb fix from “better carbs,” such as oatmeal, cinnamon toast or sweet potatoes. A mid-afternoon snack is also likely to be the best tool to keep these cravings at bay.
Don’t let snow slow you down
Perhaps you live in parts of North America where heavy snow presents a huge obstacle to outdoor exercise or even travelling to a gym. If that’s the case, consider using snow as your fitness friend instead of a foe. Shovelling snow for 30 minutes burns almost 200 calories, while cross-country skiing burns more than 250 calories. A 30-minute snowball fight with the family could burn off 96 calories, while building a snowman or climbing the hill to sled down it will also help you work up a sweat.