It’s getting colder and darker, and as the days go on, the memories of al fresco dinners and drinks in the summer sun are fading away.
However, this isn’t a reason to abandon your exercise routine and let the winter unravel all the hard work you’ve been doing.
Yes, you don’t have your body on show as much, but as the saying goes, summer bodies are made in winter! Play the long game and keep going with your fitness to reap the rewards of a fitter, healthier you by the time summer swings around again.
Here are my tips to stay active in the winter months:
1. Create a home gym
If you can’t face going out in the cold and rain, move your fitness regime inside! There are so many free home exercise videos available on YouTube that you can easily follow. I am such a fan of 15 minute HIIT workouts where you can roll out of bed and complete without even leaving your room!
You can even create your own simple total body workout by doing star jumps, lunges, squats, press ups and sit ups. Do 10 of each, 10 times around with 15 seconds rest in between each circuit. As time goes on you can increase the reps and number of circuits.
2. Variety is the spice of life
There are hundreds of ways to stay active, so take the change of weather as an opportunity to mix it up and try something new like swimming, boxing or a quirky gym class. Your body will thank you for the change and you’ll notice a difference by doing alternative activities that use varying muscle groups.
Exercise is supposed to be enjoyable, so if you feel like you’re punishing yourself doing a particular activity, switch it up and try something else that suits your mood instead.
RELATED: How to actually enjoy exercise
3. Be competitive
If you’re used to running three times a week in the sunshine, you may need motivation to do so in the cold and wet. Local park runs and running clubs continue throughout the winter months, so why not join one and run with others? I also find it useful to enter different races so that I’m driven to get out, train and push myself.
Alternatively, you could challenge yourself in the warm by walking instead of getting in the lift or using the escalator. It’s a very effective way of keeping fit, especially if your office or flat is in a tall building.
4. Planning is key
Whatever the season, preparation is so important. Plan your week in terms of what you are going to do and when. You want to vary the parts of the body you are focussing on, so try not do two spin classes in a row.
If you’re going to exercise somewhere in the morning, I would suggest packing the night before – the worst thing after showering in the gym is finding out you’ve forgotten to pack underwear!
5. Get into a routine
I would describe myself as a morning person, but I still struggle to get up when it’s pitch black outside. It’s hard to get started, but if you set your alarm for the same time every day, you’ll get used to it and be amazed by how much you can fit in before the day has actually begun.
I love exercising in the morning as it means you’re then free in the evening to make good use of your time seeing friends, sitting in front of the sofa or having more time to cook. If your lifestyle allows, you could also fit in lunchtime workouts when it’s light and you’re most awake.
6. Earn those FitPoints™
This is the WW system for physical activity – the more you move, the more FitPoints you earn, which you can then choose to ‘spend’ on food/drink. You’ll lose weight faster if you don’t use them, but when the cold months kick in and you fancy comfort food or it’s getting closer to Christmas and you’re going out more, motivate yourself to up your exercise levels so that you can eat a little more.
7. Grab a friend
Things are better when you have company. If you arrange to do things with someone else, you will be more accountable, more motivated and ultimately have more fun! You may also be more interested in trying something new when you have someone to share the experience with. So rally your friends round, work out together and then reward yourself by cooking a WW recipe afterwards!
8. Don’t give up!
I’ve always used winter as an excuse to wrap up in warm clothing and hide the parts of my body I didn’t like in baggy dresses, roll necks and stretchy jeans. However, hibernating in these types of clothes doesn’t motivate you to get up and get active. My advice is to continue to wear your fitted clothes to remind you of how far you’ve already come.
If or when you feel like you’re falling off the wagon, focus all your efforts on remembering why you started out in the first place, and that a healthier, happier and fitter you is something that takes hard work!
A fit and healthy body doesn’t happen overnight so if you keep on top of your exercise regime, there will be less pressure to lose the winter weight come spring. Make sure you congratulate yourself for all exercise and forgive yourself for the workouts you miss. Self-care is so important on a weight loss and wellness journey.