winter training motivation

While most people are putting away their bikinis and short shorts and getting the woolly knit out, for anyone who trains this means putting the vests away and getting the base layers out; winter training begins!

Transitioning from summer training when the days are longer and brighter, you can wear a vest and shorts, and generally feel more energetic to colder, darker nights when you would prefer to just go home to a hot meal and a blanket can be tough, so here are a few tips to help keep your training on track.

Planning

The saying "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail" is one of my favourites, because how true is that? Planning your week's training helps you stay on track. I ask my PT clients each week what their training schedule is for the week, then make a conscious effort to ask them each day how it went. It's all too easy to say that you'll go to the gym tomorrow and then skip the session. Make a weekly planner like mine below, set your alarms, and pack your bag the night before. Having something written down makes it real.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 
S&C Legs S&C Back and Biceps Teach Spin Watt Bike Teach HIIT Long Run Rest Day
Boxing Watt Bike Core Core Teach Spin Core
Run Club Teach Spin S&C Upper Body

 

training gym workout CrossFit

Be accountable

By planning your workouts, you are being accountable to yourself, because no one likes to see skipped workouts crossed off the calendar. Also, if you train with someone else you don’t want to let them down. Tell people what you are doing, and you’ll find they will encourage you more than letting you slip into the chunky knit!

Take the training inside

Used to running or cycling outside? There is no reason why you can’t keep your stamina and energy levels up during winter. The only time I don’t run outside is if it is raining, as due to injury I cannot chance slipping on a leaf. So the treadmill helps! At the gym where I work we also have a 'skill mill'. This is a self-propelled treadmill which is shaped like a banana. It is much more natural to run on as it replicates running outside. I mix it up by running intervals. By turning the resistance up to its highest, it replicates a prowler. My current plan is below:

  • 5 mins warm up jog, halfway resistance
  • 2 min sprint, low resistance
  • 2 min prowler, heavy resistance
  • Repeat x 10 
  • 5 min cool down walk

When it comes to cycling, this one is easy. I teach 3 spin classes a week, but also am a big fan of the Watt Bike. This feels more natural than an upright bike and you definitely get a big workout on it! There are workouts on the Watt Bike app, or I tend to log into my Zwift app and follow one of their plans.

skill mill treadmill running indoors gym workout

Go Shopping

Who doesn’t love shopping for sportswear? It’s the perfect excuse to get some winter kit to make you warmer and more visible outside. These are my winter activewear essentials:  

Running

Winter running tights

Thick running socks

Long Sleeve Base layer

Buff (for neck or ears)

Gloves

Cycling

Bib shorts with leg warmers

Winter Cycling Socks

Base Layer

Thermal Jersey

Waterproof and windproof jacket

Buff (I wear 2, one round my neck and one under my helmet)

Cycling Gloves

winter cycle training

Get a Personal Trainer

Think of the money you are saving by not sitting in the pub beer garden with a cider! You could be putting your beer money towards keeping you motivated during winter.

Most personal trainers sell sessions by the block which works out cheaper than individual sessions. I tend to run a 6-week kick start course just before Christmas which gets everyone into the mind frame of training and eating better before the festive period. 

Speak to a trainer about what your goals are. They will keep you accountable and it is their job to keep you motivated! If you were to have 1 session a week it could cost you around the same as your week's worth of coffees that you grab on the way to work.

‘Summer bodies are made in the winter’

We've all heard it, but it is true! You might want to swap your water for a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, but think about your reason 'why’. As a personal trainer and nutritionist, I’m a believer in moderation. I don’t advise cutting anything out of your diet, unless it is detrimental to your health.

I tend to eat well during the week, but I always order a pizza on a Saturday night. My Christmas tipple? Baileys Irish Cream! I don’t deprive myself, but I factor it in when I am training and ensure I do an extra few squat jumps or an extra kilometre run. In the past, I have found that if I completely deprive myself, I get ‘hangry’ and start to resent everyone who is tucking into their selection boxes while I am trying to convince myself that this yogurt is equally as satisfying.

So if you want the chocolate bar, have it, if you want the glass of wine, have it. Just don’t talk yourself out of going to the gym to burn it off!

About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and Sundried ambassador.