We all know the challenges of keeping up our fitness game in the winter months, especially around the festive season. It’s cold, it’s dark and no matter where you are, doesn’t there always seem to be some kind of sweet treat around?! But no fear, here are a few of my top tips for keeping up the good habits over the winter season.
Increase your activity levels throughout the day
As the seasons change and the weather makes getting for a daily walk seem slightly less enticing, it tends to fall to the bottom of many people’s to-do lists. And as we are all generally going to be walking less with the seasonal shift, it makes sense to look at our daily routine to try and incorporate movement elsewhere, so we are still getting in that active calorie burn throughout the day! If you’re lucky enough to have a stationary bike or treadmill at home, why not fit in an extra 10 minutes of brisk walking or cycling when you wake up or on your lunch break? Alternatively, try running up and down the stairs a couple of extra times a day or have a walk around the house whilst taking calls!
2. Keep hydrated through warmer drinks
If you find it challenging staying on top of the old 2 litres a day at the best of times, colder months sometimes can see that becoming even more of a challenge. As an alternative, why not squeeze in a bit more of your fluid fix through warm drinks? Making frequent cups of decaffeinated or fruit tea throughout the day can make sure you’re still getting plentiful fluids to keep yourself hydrated and feeling fresh!
3. Challenge yourself to eat seasonal veggies
Are you getting lured in by the endless supply of winter warmer comfort foods that seem to be everywhere you turn?! You can still satisfy those heart-warming recipe cravings whilst staying on track with your fitness goals by simply having everything in moderation and making sure you get in as many veggies as possible! Try a warming vegetable soup, which can be kept exciting by researching what veggies are in season. Make it a challenge for yourself to try at least one different seasonal veg a week!
4. Stay accountable! (and drag your mates in to help)
One of the best ways to stay motivated, no matter what the season, is by keeping yourself accountable. Perhaps starting a fitness Instagram account to post your progress into the social media space could help keep you motivated, as you can visually see your progress take shape (with a fan club of your pals alongside for emoji support and praise). Or if that’s a bit too public for your liking, get your friends involved so you can all keep each other accountable! It’s always handy to have that little nudge when a HIIT workout after a long day at work isn’t sounding the most appealing and you would rather curl up with a hot choccie…
5. Sign up to an online fitness community
Another great way to stay accountable and motivated is by joining a group of people on the exact same mission as you are. There are so many fitness communities and online programmes to join out there. One of my favourites from past experience is the LLL (Live Like Louise) programme. Founded and run by ex- MIC star Louise Thompson and her PT fiancé Ryan, the community is built on a sustainable approach to fitness, enabling those involved to achieve long-term, sustainable results and fundamental lifestyle changes in the way they approach nutrition and exercise. Just one glimpse at Louise’s Instagram account will have you scouring for the sign up. Many online communities have Christmas fitness challenges on the go to so you can enjoy your festivities whilst keeping your fitness game up, all with the added support and motivation from your group!
6. Avoid excessive restriction
We all know how it goes, eating like an absolute health QWEEN for your 3 meals a day and then your evening snack ends up in 3 tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, 4 packets of Jaffa cakes and a sharing bag of Maltesers. Dieting isn’t sustainable guys. If you’re really after those long-term fitness goals and sustainable lifestyle changes, it’s all about moderation. Yes, I know it sounds easy when you just say it but in reality, if you really did give into your cravings 24/7, you’re really going to get bored of a dozen Krispy Kreme’s for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eventually. So let yourself enjoy the festive goodies and DON’T feel guilty, just be sensible about it e.g. have a mince pie but maybe avoid eating the remaining 5 in the pack because ‘you might as well now you’ve had one’. The last thing we all need is a feeling of guilt and negativity around the festive period.
Most importantly, enjoy your festive celebrations and remember veering off the usual greens and proteins isn’t going to ruin your long-term results. Fitness should always be something that adds to our lives, never something that dictates and dominates our decisions.
Enjoy some good food, plenty of festive tipples and make the most of the time to relax and recharge.