We're in February already; for many people, the new year's resolutions have already worn off. There are many reasons why these promises don't work long-term. One is that you decide right in the middle of the coldest and darkest season to dedicate more time to training, to be on top of nutrition, and generally become better organized.
The motivation might drive you for a few weeks, maybe even a month or two, but then the reality of winter hits, and you might get tired of it all. So, what can you do if you want to ensure you work consistently for your fat loss goals throughout the winter months? Let's look at ten tips to help you stay active and stick to your exercise routine during the winter.
#1. Wrap Up Warm
One turn-off from going out of the house in the winter is the cold. If you want that to be a non-issue, ensure that you have suitable winter clothing to stay warm while out and about.
If your choice of cardio is running outdoors, ensure you have proper winter running gear to protect your joints and prevent you from catching a cold. Aim for wearing specific running gear developed to keep moisture away from your skin as a base layer, and choose a shell that will protect you from the winds and potential rain. The same goes for the bottom and the shoes.
#2. Warm Up Thoroughly
You shouldn't let the cold get to you if you aim to achieve weight loss, visible muscle tone, or a consistent workout routine. Your warm-up will make or break the efficiency and success of your workout. This is true in any season but is even more critical during winter, particularly if you exercise outdoors.
The warm-up aims to increase circulation in your body so your extremities and joints have what they need to maintain your performance. You also want your muscles to be ready for the intensity to prevent any injuries. Your body needs longer to get warm in the cold, so allow yourself plenty of time to get your blood pumping. Add 5-10 minutes to your usual warm-up to make the workout more enjoyable and prevent any issues that could stop you from exercising for weeks.
#3. Adjust Expectations
We put too much pressure on ourselves to show up daily for our workouts. However, we are all human; sometimes, we must lower our expectations. Many workout plans will tell you to increase the intensity, frequency, or time from week to week. However, on some days, just putting your gear on and making it to the gym can be a huge win.
Showing up can be a goal in itself. Adjusting your expectations will ensure you stay consistent and keep yourself from beating yourself up when you do not fulfill the exact prescription for a specific workout.
#4. Find Exercise Options You Enjoy
Prefer working out in groups? Check out group fitness classes in your area until you find one where you enjoy the vibe, like the trainer or the instructor, and look forward to the next session. When it becomes something you enjoy doing, you don't need any motivation to show up.
You may prefer working out independently but want someone to keep you accountable. You can work with a personal trainer in the gym or online to provide you with what you need to stay on track.
#5. Create an Upbeat Playlist
If you know you lack the motivation to work out when it is cold, grey, and wet outside; you should take it upon yourself to create an upbeat playlist.
Your music preferences might differ depending on the season. Whatever music inspires and motivates you, you should blast through headphones or speakers on those cold days to encourage you to exercise.
#6. Find a Challenge
Challenging yourself will prove you can do anything, no matter the weather. Are you a runner? Sign-up for a race in the spring, 5k, 10k, doesn't matter, but knowing you'll want to be your best early in the year will give you that extra motivation. You can also look for obstacle races if running alone isn't exciting enough, or even for a longer hike.
Whatever rocks your boat, as they say. New challenges and putting yourself outside your comfort zone will help you feel proud and accomplished, encouraging you to keep working out, whether cold, wet, dry, or sunny.
#7. Offset SAD
Many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the winter. The cold and grey days make them unmotivated, which is what you want to avoid. If you suspect you might be affected, you can offset this feeling and achieve a sense of motivation.
You can buy and use a SAD lamp regularly, get outside for fresh air, follow a nutrient-dense diet, and supplement vitamin D to maintain high energy levels throughout the day. You can't expect to feel motivated and ready to exercise when constantly feeling down and fatigued.
#8. Make Exercise a Non-Negotiable
Whatever your schedule entails, it would help make exercise non-negotiable. You know it makes you feel good, so why avoid it? Instead of trying to fit in working out around all your other commitments, why don't you schedule it into your days and then organize other plans around it?
This way, if someone or something else wants your time, you can pay the respect to your workout time and yourself that it deserves, ensuring you prioritize your fitness and health above friends, family, and other commitments.
#9. Find an Exercise Buddy
Regarding staying consistent with your workouts, accountability will play a much more significant role than motivation in the long term. Even if group classes aren't your thing, you might want to find an exercise buddy to help each other to stay on top of your game and exercise throughout the winter.
A buddy will hold you accountable and encourage you to work out, even on the days you don't want to. You can motivate each other to get up, walk, work out, and stay active when you want to stay in bed. Having someone to work out with will help to push you through the challenging times.
#10. Focus on Recovery
Everything you experience during your day puts some form of stress on your body: your daily activities, work frustrations, emotional stress, and even exercise. Then when you sleep, your body makes sure you recover to start it all over. Trouble begins when you don't get enough quality sleep, and your daily stress increases. If you wake up tired every morning, this is for you.
Getting plenty of sleep, eating the right amount and quality of food, managing your stress levels, and exercising the right amount and intensity will ensure you avoid burnout and nourish your body. Providing the right fuel for your body will enhance your energy levels, and getting plenty of rest and making time for rest days will help you stay on top of your exercise game during the winter.