Motivation to move in Winter
It's November in London, our clocks have turned back, the sun is beginning to set around 4pm, the mornings are dark & frosty and the grey blanket of winter has set in.
As a sun worshipping Aussie, this is the hardest part of the year for me - the chill gets me bad and I have to constantly fight to ward off SAD's. Vitamin D is my best friend right now. However as a trainer, I utilize my secret weapon to keep me going, energised and (mostly) upbeat.
What is it? Exercise. Of course.
It is truly my commitment to exercise that sparks me up against the bleakness, helping me appreciate the change of seasons in the scenery surrounding me and always, providing those feel-good endorphin's to balance my hormonal & energetic levels.
However, I can appreciate, that for many, it is these times that exercise is the first thing to go. The excuses become plentiful and it is hard to find the motivation to keep to your practice. This is especially true if perhaps you are new to a workout regime and perhaps your patterns aren't so routine & disciplined that skipping that workout doesn't really seem to through you offtoo much. However, you know the benefits of exercise, and now, it is time to check into your intuition and see if perhaps it is simply a change of perspective on your workout habits that will help you stay motivated and committed to fitness across these winter months.
So behold, my top tips for finding motivation and for working out among the chill.
1. Go to a class that you love
Clocking off work at 6pm (if you're lucky), peering into the darkness outside, battling the disgruntled commuters and THEN dragging yourself to the gym, alone, to smash out a session can be hard right now.
Instead? Find a class that you LOVE, where you will be surrounded by trainers who are there to inspire, fellow classmates who are with you in the mission of sweat or stretch and in an environment that is designed to support you to feel good all the while! We are spoilt in London with the variety, standard and luxury of our boutique studios and gyms and so there really is a class out there for everyone, no matter what your flavour - Spin, Pilates, Yoga, HIIT, Boxing, Barre, TRX...Give them all a shot and feel the support of a team there to push you through. The extra added bonus of being in a social community environment is hugely important, psychologically, when we begin to feel more isolated as the winter draws in.
HINT: Plus, most studios tend to have a 12-24 hour cancellation policy, so you know, you will lock it in and then be less likely to cancel than if you were only committing to a session by yourself.
This one is how I fit in the majority of my workouts during the week, as around my busy schedule I can't always make it to my favourite teachers and studios and I still want to experience fresh, innovative and directed workouts. I stream and follow workouts from a variety of studios, online programmes and video servers for Pilates, Yoga, HIIT and Dance - the ones listed below are all the ones I have used on a regular basis and find are really informative, innovative & engaging.
I have the luxury of utilising my studio for equipment, however each of the servers can be used without equipment, at home, just making the most of your bodyweight and any equipment substitutions you may have!
HINT: Tins of beans or canned goods make excellent light hand weights!
There are also plenty of free options out there too for all disciplines, you may just have to search around to find something that suits your level, desires and taste.
PopSugar Fitness has a great range of HIIT and Cardio options
Yoga with Adrienne
Meditation Vacation, Jason Stephenson and The Honest Guys for Meditation
Body By Simone
HINT: Each of these Paid Subscriptions do have a 7 or 14 day trial option so you could always give it a shot for a week and see how you enjoy them before signing up!
3. Mid-day runs along a scenic route
For safety, I tend to avoid heading out for runs in the early morning or late evening, simply as I can't run without pumping beats and to be overly cautious I wouldn't feel comfortable running with headphones in, in the dark! The upside to this though, is it means runs in the fresh, crisp air around lunch, helping re-energize the body & clear the mind to power through the remainder of the day. The days tend to still be clear and crisp, so make the most of your lunch break and pick out a scenic route, whether that is around a park, along the canal or river, or just past some beautiful houses you can gaze at!
Mindful Practice: Running can become a great moving meditation, with the continual, repetitive steady action requiring little assessment, co-ordination or challenge from the brain, and once you get going your body takes over, therefore you can clear your head and let your tensions & thoughts unwind. Make the most of being outdoors and be grateful for the beauty of nature and cityscape that surrounds us. As a mindfulness practice, try to really connect into your breathing in these runs, looking for deep, long, full breaths and connect into the rhythm of moving your body as you stride around the "great outdoors" of the city!
4. Winter Walks
A long walk is really under acknowledged as a powerful fitness tool! This form of cardio (LISS- Light Intensity Steady State) is great for Fat Burn, but is also a great anti-anxiety and stress reduction weapon, to help uplift and shake off the moody blues!
Unlike higher intensity activities, walking doesn't drastically spike your cortisol level, therefore can help lower your blood pressure and can be used as a great mood balancer. It is important to remember that exercise is stress to the body and the nervous system responds to any stress in exactly the same way - we cannot differentiate between what is an "exercise" stress and what is a "work/life" stress - therefore it is important to keep some lighter intensity exercise in the mix to help calm and rebalance the nervous system.
A long, beautiful scenic weekend walk is a great activity with your partner or as an alternative "healthy catch up" with friends. If you have some time during the week its a good time to catch up on your favourite podcasts on a brisk walk that could perhaps be a substitute for your commute. Or simply just to have some space to collect your thoughts and use the time as a meditative practice. Whatever it is, just wrap up warm, get out the door and get walking!
5. Make a date with your PT
When you feel unmotivated, you tend to feel a little lost about how or what to train and things become, well, a little flat on the training front. So why not leave the planning to a professional? Not only does scheduling in a PT session mean you have a commitment to rock up to your gym date, you will also be held accountable, be encouraged along the way and be fully supported - both to train with correct form, in the correct manner to attain your goals and mentally to get through your session. If you don't have a regular PT - in any discipline- it is a great way to have a check-in to see how you can reach your goals, gain some insight and advice or just be encouraged through a session with complete, personalised attention to your practice.
This also does not have to be a regular session - if that is something not within your personal budget- but just one session can help relight that fire and get you propelled on your journey forward when you may feel a little stuck!
See if you can try some of these options to help you stick to your routine over the coming Winter months & stay motivated.