Bright and warm 6am starts, longer evenings and workouts in the park. Summer is the best time of the year to be active and get out of just using the gym. But then autumn creeps in, then winter comes. The days start getting shorter, darker and colder. The commute to work is dark. The commute home is dark. We all want to just go home, snuggle up in bed and not get back out until we have to. It's hard to keep up your training during the colder seasons, but alas, nature won't adapt to us: so, we must adapt to nature! As a personal trainer and CLIF Bar ambassador, I encourage you to embrace the seasons, continue to #feedyouradventure and get a plan in place so your goals don't suffer!
Get up and get moving! During the summer, we tend to just get up and get it done before it gets too hot. This is a great routine we embrace as getting it done and dusted and out the way first thing helps us to make healthier choices throughout the day. All we need to do when transitioning into autumn is, not change anything! Keep that routine and mind-set; commutes home from work get darker and colder, so don't leave it to the evening and risk feeling de-motivated by the time you leave work. Keep hold of the summer morning workout routine - don't break the habit.
Re-group, re-focus, set new goals. It's so important to take a step back sometimes and give yourself some well-deserved kudos, or even a little kick up the derrière (we all need that sometimes!). Recognise and appreciate what you achieved, or perhaps didn't quite get around to achieving during the summer months and aim for new heights this autumn. Write your goals down so you can physically visualise them and make sure the list is accessible to you at all times to remind yourself of why you're doing what you're doing. But remember, set achievable goals and even more importantly in realistic time frames, track your progress and don't dwell on what didn't happen for you this summer. Just focus on the here and now and what you want to achieve; after all it's a marathon, not a sprint!
ACCEPT THE SITUATION
The weather only gets worse throughout the colder months, so we need to embrace the fact that our workouts will probably transition to training inside. Just have a plan in place: a fun home-workout using your surroundings or if you think you'll end up in bed watching Netflix (we've all been there), join a gym, a club or try out a new team sport; become a member somewhere!
Yes, you heard correctly. There's nothing wrong with binge-watching the latest series on Netflix and trashy soaps, but it tempts us to sit down and show some serious sofa loving for hours-on-end. If you're tempted by chilling in front of the TV, choose to do something active whilst watching! For example, an incline walk or jog on treadmill, get on the bike or cross trainer and watch with headphones. You could also stretch and foam roll whilst watching TV, giving your body some well-deserved TLC. If you can't quite bring yourself to get to the gym, do some HIIT bodyweight intervals during the commercial breaks at home!
DITCH THE EXCUSES
So, I'm giving you a bit of tough-love here people. Make. Training. Mandatory. Ditch the excuses and don't let the seasonal changes affect your mood or motivation. Weather is not an excuse! You need to find new motivation or ways to train that you enjoy, to prevent any Sofa-TV-Doritos-Ben & Jerry's-Mishaps. A great way to make sure your training is a priority is scheduling your workouts into your diary as if they are just as important as every other task in your day-to-day life. Treat it like an important meeting or anything else on your Must-Be-Done-Today to-do list.
During summertime, we naturally focus more on hydration because we are often very hot, sweaty and thirsty, but as the cooler weather creeps in, we tend to forget to hydrate as we are colder and less thirsty. But lack of hydration can lead to lack of energy, feeling under energised and sleepier. This can then lead to unnecessary snacking, mistaking thirst for hunger. Drinking water also helps you feel fuller and only eat when you're hungry. Hydration is also pivotal in helping transport essential nutrients that provide energy. Combining adequate hydration with a CLIF Bar (chocolate chip are my favourite!) will give you the essential energy you need to complete a full workout successfully. If you're struggling with cold drinks on a cold day, embrace the weather and opt for lots of tummy warming green teas or hot water with lemon and ginger.
Get an accountability buddy or group! It's harder to skip out on your workout if it involves you letting someone else down and flaking on them last minute. Organising training, workouts and runs with a friend, group or family member helps keep you accountable and makes you show up. Share your goals with someone you trust who will keep you accountable and train with like-minded or motivational people that are going to be rooting for you to succeed and achieve. Working out is also better fun when you're not going at it alone.
STYLE IT OUT
Get some new gear and dress for the occasion. Obviously, materialism isn't everything and isn't essential but there's nothing like a fresh pair of kicks or gym clothing to get you motivated and ready to smash your workouts, especially some warm clothes if you're braving the outside (snaps for you.) It's a bit like when you buy new stationary going back to school on the first day - there something about the shiny new pens and pencils that motivate you to get back to it!
If you've planned to go for an outdoor run or cycle and you wake up to a heavy down pour and wet miserable morning, have a backup workout plan written down and in place. An indoor bodyweight workout using the furniture is great, or even by making sure you have access to the local gym, so you can carry on with your training plans for the day! Don't let the weather determine your motivation for the day, so that back up plan is essential.
I cannot stress how important getting enough sleep is, especially as it gets harder to get up as the mornings get darker. It's even harder when you haven't had enough sleep and you're tired! Make sure you are getting a minimum of 7-8 hours per night so you have the essential energy to fight the dark morning struggles and stay motivated. Getting ample sleep is also important for recovery, preventing your body from being in a state of stress and aids fat-loss.