8 Tips To Stay Motivated For Your Winter Workouts

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Make A Commitment
Sports psychology consultant Dr Josephine Perry suggests making plans to train with a buddy, and making those plans for the morning. “You are much more likely to do a session if you know you have someone to train with,” she says. “And doing the session first thing means you are less likely to cancel if you get busy with work or a crisis happens during the day.”

Pick Up A Winter Sport
“There are some types of exercise that can only really be done in winter and a lot of them are fantastic when it comes to improving cardiovascular fitness and burning calories,” explains Chris Hall, trainer and founder of Hall Training Systems. “In fact, winter sports often have a slightly higher energy requirement. For example, a 68kg (150lb) adult can burn 102 calories with 15 minutes of ice skating or skiing.

Change Your Workout Time
Dark evenings aren’t brilliant for working out. Even if you can stay motivated to exercise after work on a cold winter’s night, it’s not always safe to go for a run or bike ride in the dark. Race director for Judgement Day Events Mark Buller suggests getting out of bed early to make the most of the early mornings. “Once the clocks have changed I find it much easier to get up in the morning and train when it’s daylight,” he says.

“Find lunchtime classes,” suggests trainer and founder of the FitMumFormula Pollyanna Hale. “If early mornings and dark evenings deter you from getting out and about then check out local gyms or classes to see if any offer half-hour workouts that can be squeezed into your lunch break.”

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Talk About It
Dr Perry says that telling your friends and family about your fitness goals is a great way to stay on track. “Research has shown that knowing people are likely to ask you how you are doing means you are more likely to stick to them,” she says.

“Join an online community like Strava and record your training,” says Mark Buller. “It’s a good motivator to see how you’re improving, you can find new routes and see what
other people are up to.”

Do Something Different
Don’t let rubbish weather stop you from exercising completely. “Go for a swim, find an indoor bootcamp or go to the gym to work on your strength and core,” says Mark Buller. “It’s good for the body and mind to mix things up and it means you won’t miss out on a days training.”

“Don’t be afraid to change things up, start a new programme, join a club or sign up with a personal trainer,” adds personal trainer Jamie Betts. “Novelty will lead to a dopamine release and this will motivate you to continue exercising.”

Restructure your thoughts
Dr Perry recommends spending some time each week to note the negative thoughts you’ve had about exercise. “Find a way to spin each thought into a positive,” she says. “If you were thinking, ‘it’s too early’, you can turn this into ‘doing this now means I don’t have to later and I won’t spend the day dreading it.’

“Practicing this and working on them when you are not in the middle of a session means it will be easier to spin them when you are out doing your session, or trying to find the willpower to get out the door in the first place!”

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Look Ahead
It’s always important to set yourself goals for working out. “Think of an event coming up early in the New Year, a holiday or a birthday party” says trainer Chris Hall. “Use this as motivation to keep pursuing your dream body and stay as healthy as possible. Countdown apps can help keep you focused.” He suggests setting realistic targets each week, as hitting them will keep you on track for the bigger end game.

Have Fun
“Enjoy it!” says Pollyanna Hale. “Did you ever stop to think how much physical exertion it takes to build a huge snowman? Me neither, but that’s because you’re too busy having fun, yet you’re using many muscles, bending and stretching, and are elevating your heart rate, especially when you really put some effort into it. Blustery walks with family or friends in the park or along a beach can be equally enjoyable, and the resistance from strong winds means your body is working that much harder.”