Dan Smullen is one of my latest guest bloggers to feature on my blog. Dan is a Personal Trainer with a Bsc. in Sport and Exercise Sciences. Apart from training people day to day, he loves to blog sharing fitness tips as well as training advice. Besides fitness, Dan loves to play his violin as well as cook the ultimate cheat meal after a week of working out! This week we are looking into how to stay motivated during the winter months. Or as he likes to say “how to best prepare yourself for the food binge to come, otherwise known as Christmas!”
Let’s be honest, when it’s a great day out, nothing beats putting on your runners and feeling that fresh air hit your face. You are naturally motivated. But in the winter, more likely than not the rain and dark forces you to hibernate to the couch and Netflix. You are as a result entering a vicious circle. Scientists from Dallas have shown for each hour of sitting you are increasing your risk of heart disease by 14%. But its dark, wet & cold out and you simply couldn’t be bothered to work out! Even the pressure of looking good in your swim gear has been lifted and the Christmas party is too far away to care. So how do you stay motivated to keep working out?
1. Get more Vitamin D
At the best of times, unless you are living in Dubai, you will not get the required 20 minutes of sunshine you need to have a sufficient level of Vitamin D. Research has shown that a Vitamin D deficiency is correlated to weight gain, lack of energy & muscular strength. Unfortunately adding more fish, eggs & mushrooms to your diet will only account help you 10% of the way. Philly Mac Mahon, Nutritionist from Fitfoods says “the best way to ensure you get sufficient levels of vitamin D in the winter months is to take a daily high quality supplement.”
2. Don’t Do it alone
If you are struggling with motivation, training on your own is much harder than group training. In a group you have the accountability. Having to be at the gym at a certain time forces you to include working out as part of your day. According to a study carried out by the Society of Behavioural Medicine, Working out with a partner or as part of a group can even double your performance as well as motivation. But finding a training partner to go to the gym with can sometimes be difficult. Instead taking part in group exercise is not only a great way to meet new friends but your gym class won’t bail on you for a date!
3. Get Enough Sleep
We all know that if were tired, working out will be the last thing you will want to do. Cian Doyle, Sport scientist & Performance coach from Icon gyms says not getting enough sleep increases your body’s level of cortisol and decreases your body’s ability to burn fat. Not only have you less energy, your actually putting yourself at a disadvantage. He adds “when your brain is tired it actually craves more sugar. This increase in cortisol as a result of sleep deprivation negatively impacts your body’s sugar level regulator, insulin. In short, simply getting more sleep will not only help your motivation levels but also help you crave less junk food!
4. Trick your body in getting out of bed
If you have commitments in the evening, getting out of bed for early morning workouts is your only option. Darkness is why you lack the motivation for early morning workouts! You could trick your body in waking up by using an alarm clock that wakes you up naturally. Alternatively setting your alarm as your favourite song is helpful & but the most effective in my opinion is just not pressing the snooze button! Either way, early morning workouts will boost your productivity in work & energy for the rest of the day.
5. Set Different Goals
Strength and Conditioning Coach, Lucy Kenefick from Crossfit Return Gym says that the biggest reason why people lose motivation in the winter is because they set the wrong goals. In the summer people want to lose weight to look better. In winter a weight loss only goal is harder to become motivated for obvious reasons! Instead take a page out of the Olympics. Athletes in general have great bodies. Their reason for putting in all those hours at the gym despite the season is not to look better, instead it’s to perform better. Change your mentality from losing weight, to trying to lift more weight, run faster or even simply being better each workout.
A great blog to motivate you through the winter months at the gym. I definitely agree it does get tougher as the weather gets cooler and the nights draw in, it can be hard to even get yourself through the gym doors. However if you follows these steps, hopefully you'll feel less guilty when splurging on Christmas food!
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