We all know that the wellbeing industry often focuses on key moments when your fitness motivation and enthusiasm is highest – post-festive season weight loss, New Year’s resolutions, pre-wedding tone-up training – all moments when we’re primed to set ambitious fitness goals and embark on a new journey.
As many of us appreciate, the trip hazard is that fitness isn’t a one-time deal, nor can you achieve transformative, healthy change over a 3-week blitz or a 3-month crash diet.
Let’s talk about what it takes to form healthy habits, why making fitness training and nutrition a part of your everyday routine is essential, and how to get your mojo back when the dark nights and gloomy weather make you feel like doing nothing less than heading to the gym.
Why Is Fitness Training Harder in the Winter?
If you feel sluggish and ready to hibernate when the temperatures start to dip, please rest assured you are far from alone. There are multiple reasons for this, but predominantly, we tend to have lower Vitamin D during the times of year without as much sunshine – which can make our cardiorespiratory fitness levels dip just slightly.
However, the biggest barrier to keeping going on a fitness journey and committing to a workout plan is more psychological. When it’s cold, dark and wet outdoors, our natural instinct is to want to snuggle up with a hot chocolate in front of the TV and close the curtains.
Here’s the problem! Whether we’re working out with a personal trainer or prefer to head out for a run, skipping several weeks or even months of exercise can make it considerably harder to get back into a routine when the sun returns.
It’s often said that motivation and discipline are two very different things. We can all feel motivated and energised from time to time, but it’s having the discipline to stick to your fitness goals and take steps to pursue a healthy, happy life that reaps long-term rewards, even when you don’t feel like it.
Supplementing your diet with great natural sources of Vitamin D can be a good call. Eating more oily fish, eggs and meat, or alternatives for vegetarians and vegans, but ultimately if you invest time and effort in going after your goals, your mindset will come with you – until training isn’t optional, but an integral part of your routine that leads to a healthy body and healthy mind.
Is Training Year-Round Really Beneficial?
Consistency is everything, and you might be surprised to learn the helpful information that, rather than being a test of your dedication, training in cold weather is actually incredibly valuable. When you’re cold, any exercise you perform, from resistance training to weight training, running, walking or dancing, makes your cardiovascular system work harder to keep pace.
Pushing your heart to pump blood around your body in lower temperatures massively benefits your heart health and will mean when you try strength training in the summer, your old PBs become your warm-ups before you know it.
I’d also recommend that you think of the winter as a season for improvement, where you can focus on how to perform exercises correctly with perfect form, seek support from a certified personal trainer, and work on muscle-strengthening activities in the warmth of the indoor gym environment.
Running or cycling in lashing rain and gale-force winds isn’t much fun, but regardless of your preferred form of exercise, you can maintain a great baseline of fitness that will keep your energy levels on point.
It’s also the ideal period to think about those useful exercises you tend to disregard in favour of calorie-crunching weight loss workouts. Think flexibility activities, engaging your core muscles with real intention and trying to build strength that will improve your ongoing quality of life – as the foundation for strength, longevity and wellbeing.
While the weather might not tempt you out onto the trails, resigning yourself to inactivity is never a good shout. In the worst-case scenario, it can set you back considerably on your fitness journey and make it tougher to carry out those everyday activities, from carrying the kids to bed to hauling in your weekly grocery shop in one go.
How Can I Improve Balance in My Fitness Training During the Festive Season?
As a personal training specialist with years of career expertise, I’d say the crux is all down to accountability and real, in-person support. If you find it tough to keep up with your healthy lifestyle at certain times of the year, committing to a PT session once or twice a week can keep you on track, irrespective of your chosen types of exercise.
Here are a few tips to demonstrate why keeping your metabolic rate at a good level and the personal trainer cost is well worth it if you’re considering hanging up your trainers until spring:
- Booking personal trainer courses with a friend or partner does wonders for your motivation! You can work on muscle strength, fitness goals, lifting your own body weight or maintaining a great range of motion until it’s bright enough to hit the road again.
- Following a plan to retain your aerobic activity levels has long-term benefits – along with a balanced diet, you’ll find that regular workouts can improve body composition, burn fat, and maintain youthful bone density, among many other physiological positives.
- Working out all year round, making adaptations as necessary, is crucial to helping you avoid injury, rather than trying to hope your body will make a major adjustment every year and be able to cope with rigorous workouts after months of inactivity.
The right personal trainer will always listen to your goals and design training sessions around your existing skills, designing an exciting, fresh and novel workout plan that will help you maintain a healthy weight, activate all the right muscles for your preferred sport or discipline, and keep your injury risk to an absolute minimum.
Hitting the gym before Christmas? You might be delighted to know it’s a quiet time of year before the New Year’s rush – and the perfect space to focus on each personal training session, work on your weaknesses, and make them your strengths. Rather than hibernating the winter away, you’ll know you are investing time and effort into being your very best self.
I’ll see you there!