Struggling to get into a routine as we approach the winter months? We know how you feel!
We work with athletes from all over the world, from drivers wanting to make a start in motorsport to up and coming superstars like Cameron Shields (AUS) and Tanner Holmes (USA) and seasoned veterans like Jeremy Webb (NZ) and ex-V8 Supercar driver Marcus La-Delle (AUS). From a coach’s perspective, we see all the seasonal trends which come and go with both our motorsport athletes and the general population wanting to work on their health and well-being. Over the years, we have picked up some techniques to help you keep the motivation running high so you can keep getting that work in during the colder months!
1. Get Warm!
Now this one might seem a bit straight forward, but it can make a big difference! Before even thinking of venturing out in the cold for a work-out, get yourself nice and warm in the comfort of your own home. When cold, we want to avoid static stretches and stick to dynamic stretches when you’re warming up. Dynamic stretches are active movements where the muscles can go through a full range of motion. Essentially, they are ‘moving’ stretches, so movements like arm circles, leg swings, lunges and hip circles are perfect! Dynamic stretches help get the blood flowing to your joints and muscles to prepare you for the workout and help reduce the chance of injury!
Another top tip to incorporate into your winter routine is adjusting the thermostat! It’s always easier to wake up and get ready for a morning workout if it’s nice and cozy when you wake up! If this isn’t feasible, then you could try adding a few extra blankets or sleeping in your workout gear. This means that when you wake up, you won’t have to brave the discouraging chill of the morning and can get right into breakfast and warming up!
2. Remove the barriers – plan ahead!
Removing barriers is an essential part of settling into a healthy routine. What is a barrier? Our philosophy is that a barrier is anything that can stop you from achieving what you need to achieve. For example, if you train on your lunch break, forgetting your workout gear that day is a barrier to your routine, and therefore can be removed by packing your workout clothes the night before. Now everyone will have some sort of different barrier, but here is our top pick for how to stay on top of a healthy winter workout routine.
Prepare your schedule the day before and write it down! Writing your schedule for the next day holds you accountable. Think about what part of the day you can use for each thing you need achieve and allocate accordingly. During the day, tick off each task as you go, your brain will release a small hit of dopamine with that accomplishment and the motivation will help you go on to achieve more in your day! After you’ve planned your schedule, prepare all the necessary things you need for this to run smoothly. Make sure your lunch is packed, workout is planned, bag is packed, and alarm clock is set!
3. Change it up!
When it comes to enjoying exercise, variety is key. A 2016 study of 121 inactive university students found that a more diverse exercise routine resulted in higher levels of adherence than a monotonous routine (Sylvester et al, 2016). Now, what does this mean for you? Well firstly, look at your current exercise routine; is it tracked, structured and varied? Has it been in the past? If the answer to those questions is no, then following a routine provided by an exercise professional, and periodically changing it up every 4-6 weeks, is a great place to start. However, if you have been following a structured and balance routine, and you’re still struggling for motivation, then changing it up might take a bit more thought.
Sometimes it can be as easy as starting to run if you’re bored of lifting weights, or vice versa. If you already have both in your routine, then maybe it’s time to look at changing from a hypertrophy-based exercise routine to a strength-based alternative. Other options can include joining an 8-week challenge (or similar) at your local gym, joining a local running/walking group, picking up a new physical hobby. Boxing or Basketball might be ideal options as they’re usually completed indoors, or (climate depending) you could try cycling or hiking. Overall, there is a range of different options out there, it’s about finding an enjoyable option that fits you and your lifestyle.
There’s no question that motivation can take a significant hit over the colder months, and that there is no shortcut to staying on track except to put in the hard work. These tips should help you be able to put yourself in a position to put in that hard work! If you’re still unsure on how to go about staying active and on the right path during winter, be sure to contact us and learn how we can help!
Sylvester, B. D., Standage, M., McEwan, D., Wolf, S. A., Lubans, D. R., Eather, N., Kaulius, M., Ruissen, G. R., Crocker, P. R., Zumbo, B. D., & Beauchamp, M. R. (2016). Variety support and exercise adherence behavior: experimental and mediating effects. Journal of behavioral medicine, 39(2), 214–224. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-015-9688-4