Winter sleep in or gym? How to motivate yourself to exercise 

On cold dark mornings the temptation to bury yourself beneath the duvet is strong. Here is some advice to help you be even stronger.
Hit the snooze button or hit the gym? When it’s shiver material beyond the cover it’s all too easy to reach over to turn the alarm off. As Ned Stark predicted, winter has come, but this is no reason for you to put your health on the backburner. Here are seven tips for helping you keep your training on track.

1. Make sure that you put you training sessions into the calendar!

While we may not be your lifestyle advisor, the use of one calendar for your entire life, not several will help you keep organised. Get into the habit of sitting down once per week and scheduling in exactly when you going to exercise.

By locking it in, you have made the decision and planning happen in one hit rather than continually contemplating it and making excuses for doing it another time. People that don’t schedule their training tend to overthink it – and overthinking drains motivation. ‘Should I go to the gym in the morning?’; ‘Oh, it’s going to be cold in the morning…maybe I should stay in bed’ and ‘How dark is it in the morning?’ I’m exhausted just typing it… imagine what it’s doing to your willpower having those thoughts running around your head each day. It’s even worse if you train at night because you have all day to talk yourself out of it if it’s not in your schedule.

2. Gear up!

I’m not exaggerating when I say overthinking it will drain energy. This also goes for getting training clothes organised. Lay out your training clothes, shoes and socks the night before. If you are scheduled to exercise in the morning, get dressed in their gym gear as soon as you get up. If you’re training later in the day, make sure you have everything you need packed and ready. This includes, towel, drink bottle, car keys and anything else you need! The less you need to think about it the next day, the less of an obstacle to your training.

3. Avoid muffins …and the muffin top

Okay, maybe not all muffins are bad, but the point is that you need to eat healthily. Making poor food choices more often in winter will increase sluggishness. You know that you can’t expect to wake up energised to exercise if you’re not nourishing your bodies with energising foods.

4. Get enough sleep!

I’m not going to preach to you about sleep when I don’t always get enough myself, but I do try. It’s easier to wake up raring to go to a pre-sunrise workout if you’re not sleep deprived. Everything is better when you have enough sleep. Try to hit the sack at the same time each day to make sure that you wake up energised.

5. Make training and healthy eating habits, not options

What’s the main difference between those who are fit, healthy and lean and those who are not? Habits. Healthy habits as opposed to non-healthy ones. Do you want to make a habit of showing up to the gym or hitting the snooze button? Have you really got to the bottom of why you practice unhealthy habits rather than healthy habits? You wouldn’t choose whether or not to brush your teeth – you just do it (I hope!). You need to do the same with your training. Take the first four points of this list and make them your healthy habits.

6. Keep goals in mind

Before you know it you will be saying ‘I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas’ and the next few months will be gone. Contemplate what your health and fitness will be like in six months’ time if you don’t keep your training and healthy eating on track. There is no magic pill that can give you all the metabolic benefits that exercise can.

7. Embrace winter

No, I’m not going mad. Personally I would choose a Hawaiian getaway any day over freezing my butt off at the snow (although I do love both), but the reality is that a change of season can be refreshing. It is what it is. Don’t overthink it. Remind yourself of this, or even better, don’t talk about how cold it is. Focus on how easily you can get their body warm with exercise!

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