Winter fitness tips from my personal trainer and partner in Lifestyle Fitness Bootcamps
The cold weather is the most challenging time to continue on your fitness journey and to achieve those goals. It’s dark early, finances may also not be in the best shape and there's and there's an overwhelming feeling of ‘this is too hard’
If you have not got back on the ‘active’ horse yet, then now is a great month to start as we are approaching spring, light nights and warmer weather.
So what can you do about this dip in motivation or to get motivated………………. your mind rules your body not the other way round. Your body tells you when it is tired and when it cannot be bothered. There are reasons for this such as not having enough sleep, not eating a cleaner diet, not resting and not getting enough sleep. You need to recognise what you are doing and use your mind to change it, pushing your body through the dip. It is not too dissimilar to ‘hitting the wall’. We have all heard this term before, in simple terms the body becomes exhausted because it has run out of energy but the body has more to give. You may hit the wall after 10 minutes or 30minutes. If you push over or through the wall, your body will kick into another source of energy. If you can just keep going for a few more minutes you will feel a rush of refreshment through your body and you will be good to carry on. Breathing correctly when exercising will help with this. I have trained people who need to stop running after 2 minutes because they cannot breathe. No oxygen no energy = exercise is too hard.
It is important to focus on your breathing, slow it down, make it deeper; get into a rhythm. If you focus on your breathing you will be surprised how your thoughts move away from what you are doing, before you know it you have exercised for longer, gone further, lifted more than before. If you are in the gym, breathe out when you push or pull, breathe in when you are lowering or relaxing the weight. You need to sound like a steam train, but not too loud.
We have all gone to bed early and then got stuck on social media for another hour or three. Sleep is so important to your exercise routine. In simple terms your body recovers when you sleep. Your body does all sorts of funky things whilst it is asleep so you can get up and go again. You need at least 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
When you get your joggers on, tie up your trainers the next step is warming up your body before going all out during your routine. Warming up is you basically saying to your body that in about 5 minutes you are going to get your ass kicked. Your body has a quick word with your muscles and energy systems, in effect saying ‘on your marks, get set’. Imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night asking you to run 5km compared to someone bringing you a cup of tea in bed and saying ‘be ready to leave in 5 minutes’
Eat or not to eat, that is the question? This part is definitely not rocket science. To drive your car, you need petrol/diesel. If you fill the car up too much it overflows, so manage what goes into your body to give it enough energy to exercise and recover. You need twice as many grams of protein than your body weight in kg’s. So eat more chicken and have a few protein shakes on the go Get this bit right and when you are sleeping for 7-9 hours your body will be recovering real good. Before your workout get some porridge, fruit, brown or wholemeal bread down you. My favourite is peanut butter on toast with chocolate spread and a banana.
Some of us can get carried away at times and get consumed by needing to exercise every day. Rest is as good as a visit to the gym. If you are in a good routine and are training hard make sure you rest. You may get that guilty feeling of being lazy but your body will love you. You will see improvements quicker and you will avoid injury. It sounds crazy but if you are on it like a car bonnet your body will need 2-3 days to recover if you are doing similar exercise during each exercise session. If you are focusing on strength or building muscle, then you can get away with training each body part twice a week.
Good luck, it will soon be summer!
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