As we head towards the tail end of the year and the thermometer drops, it can be hard to maintain the same levels of motivation for exercise that we have when it’s warm and sunny. After all, when it’s cold and dark outside, it’s hard to argue with a couple of million years of evolution telling you to hunker down somewhere warm and cosy and wait for spring.
But with exercise as with most things, consistency is key. So here are a few of our top tips to help you keep your workouts on track as the holiday season approaches.
1. Morning workouts are best
By switching from evening workouts to morning sessions, not only are you going to the gym in daylight – always more motivating – but you’ll also get to enjoy the metabolic benefits of your workout for more of the day, ditto the feelgood benefits of those post-workout endorphins.
2. Put the heat on earlier
Winter mornings are tough for night owls. So for those of us who aren’t morning people (even on a good day) and we’re trying to summon up the willpower to leave our nice warm duvet for a workout, getting dressed in the warm can really help.
3. Lunchtime is the true night owl’s morning
If a 7am workout is just too early to be an option (yep, that’s me), schedule your workout for lunchtime. It’s light, you’re already up and about and you’ve still got plenty of the day left to benefit from the endorphins and the metabolic boost of your session.
4. Reward yourself afterwards
That doesn’t mean following your workout with a big bowl of cheesy chips and a full-fat coke, but it is important to take some time after your session to recover and refuel with something tasty and nutritious.
5. Make your workouts as important as your work
It’s easy for other demands on your time to get in the way of your workouts, especially when your motivation levels aren’t at their highest. It can help (it certainly helps me) to schedule classes and workouts in advance, make sure the time is blocked out in the diary, and give them the same priority you’d give an important meeting.
6. New kit always helps
Research indicates that new workout kit makes workouts 42% more effective. Or if it doesn’t, it should, because we all know how much better we feel when our new purchases get an outing.
7. Find yourself a workout buddy
It’s always more enjoyable to exercise with someone else. And equally important, if you’re finding it too easy to skimp on your classes or workouts, a workout buddy will hold you accountable when you’re struggling to motivate yourself.
8. Don’t skimp on recovery
The recovery phase is where you actually get to make the gains from your workouts and it’s important to allow enough time between sessions. And don’t forget that good quality sleep and nutrition are key elements for helping your body recover. So make sure you’re getting (and enjoying) enough of both.
9. Showing up is half the battle
It’s easy for the idea of an upcoming workout to feel a bit daunting, especially if we are struggling to stay on track. So don’t think about the workout itself, or the exercises you’re going to have to do – especially the ones you don’t like. Instead just focus on getting there. Especially if you’re booked into a class. As we like to say at Ten “All you have to do is show up. We’ll do the rest.”
10. Don’t wait for the New Year to start your New Year’s resolutions
The upcoming holidays are a time to unwind, celebrate and enjoy a certain amount of excess. There’s nothing wrong with that – especially after the year we’ve all had. But if we’ve already got a fitness goal and plan in place by the time Xmas comes around, we’re more likely to be motivated to make the holiday a little healthier and more active than we would otherwise.