With the cold weather and dark mornings curbing our motivation to get out from under the duvet and get our bodies moving, it’s hardly surprising that half of us put on up to five kilograms over winter (Dieticians Association research, May 2015). Former ironman Guy Leech reckons it’s time to ditch the excuses and toughen up: ‘Winter often provides the perfect excuse for people to skip workouts, or drop their workout routine all together. But the reality is, consistency is key, and you can’t build a strong and healthy body by bailing out three months of the year.’
Here, Leech slams the most common excuses for skipping winter workouts and replaces them with solutions.
1. It’s too cold to get up!
‘This is one of my favourite excuses,’ says Leech, who suggests making a fool-proof plan to get you out of your warm and cosy bed; ‘Put a heater in your room and set it on a timer so it starts cranking twenty minutes before you wake up. Additionally, lay out your workout clothes the night before so you can literally jump out of bed and put them on. If that fails, recruit an exercise buddy and enforce a ‘no cancellation’ policy between you’ he suggests.
2. I’m hidden under winter woollies, so it doesn’t really matter what I look like
According to Leech this is one of the most dangerous excuses you can make: ‘This sort of excuse is giving yourself permission ‘to let yourself go’ and besides all the negative health consequences, chances are by the time spring comes around you’ll be very sorry you skipped all those workouts and feasted on all that winter ‘comfort food’” he warns: ‘As little as 15 minutes of exercise is proven to make a difference to your fitness and wellbeing. Remember, losing weight is far harder than maintaining your healthy weight, so don’t line yourself up behind the eight ball.’
3. I don’t want to catch a cold
‘This is an old wives tale from way back’ says Leech: ‘Exercising in the cold doesn’t give you a cold, on the contrary, exercise keeps us fit and healthy, which in turn boosts immunity. So you’re not going to be any healthier by skipping your workout.’ Leech adds that the winter we experience in Australia is nowhere near as intense as other places around the world where people continue to exercise on a daily basis: ‘Go to New York in winter and you’ll see countless people rugged up and going for a jog in the snow! We Aussies need to man up!’
4. It’s dark before and after work and I don’t like training in the dark
‘This one is a doozy’ says Leech: ‘If you don’t want to train outside in the dark, no worries – there are tonnes of options for you! Join a gym, go to a local yoga studio, or get on board with an outdoor personal training group. If you’re cash-strapped and none of those options suit, just grab a buddy and make a plan to meet three mornings or evenings a week to go for a walk or a run.’
5. I’ve got the winter blues and can’t get motivated
Leech admits that winter can often leave us feeling sluggish and a little ‘down’. ‘Set yourself a goal for the winter that you can focus on – maybe it’s running the City to Surf in August, doing your first mini triathlon in spring, or maybe it’s just increasing the time you can exercise without stopping by five minutes a week.’ Leech says that whatever your goal, having something to work towards gives you a solid reason not to skip your workouts and should get you feeling excited as you move closer to achieving your goal, or indeed, achieve it. ‘Once you’ve chosen your goal, write it down and put it somewhere that you can see every day. Better yet, tell people about it or find someone to go on the journey with you so you can share the experience’ he says.
Written by Oliver Kitchingman for the Australian Fitness Network
This blog post contains content from legendary former Australian ironman Guy Leech. For more information on what Guy’s up to now, visit guyleech.com