Because the struggle is real when it's dark and cold at 4pm...Winter months generally tend to mean shorter days, reduced motivation, comfort eating and ‘hibernation mode.’ It’s almost impossible to drag myself out of bed in the morning – it’s pitch black and the cold walk from my bed to the shower actually scares me.
Finding the motivation in the winter is to me, even more important than the summer because we are in so much more need of a mood lift and energy booster. Of course, part of the reason we exercise might be to shift a few pounds, to tone up, but the most important benefit for me is definitely the way it affects my mood and energy. When I don’t exercise I become so much more sluggish and unproductive.
Here are some of my top tips that have helped me keep in shape during winter:
1) Wake Up Music
I always believe that how you wake up has a huge affect on how you feel for the rest of the day. Being woken up abruptly to a loud alarm is really not the best way to start your day - have you noticed that if you hear that same alarm tune later in the day an actual wave of anxiety goes through you?
Music can change our mood so much, so I have now set my alarm on my iPhone to one of my favourite songs from the summer (mine is Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk) and it immediately perks me up when I hear it. Create a dedicated morning playlist for you to listen to while you shower or get ready and you will feel so much more energised.
I also recently bought a Lumi Lamp from John Lewis which has basically changed my life. You set your alarm for a particular time, and for 30 minutes before that, the light (which is supposed to resemble natural light) starts slowly brightening up so that your eyes start adjusting to it and you feel like you wake up more naturally.
2) Create A Ritual
Making your exercise routine into a habit is one of the easiest ways to make sure that you keep exercising regularly. When something becomes part of a routine it is so much easier to stick to and it becomes an effortless decision rather than an ongoing battle in your head; “I know I should go, but I’m SO tired, but I will be feel so much better, but I’ll just go tomorrow”.
Choose a time of day that works best for you, some people find they prefer to work out in the morning, whereas others prefer evening classes. Knowing which works better for you is the first step and once you’ve chosen it, commit to that same time 2 or 3 times a week and create a ritual around it. For example, if you love working out in the morning, then set a mini-morning reward after - like, after your workout you always go to your favourite coffee shop for a treat. If you work out in the evenings, then run yourself a bath when you get home with gorgeous bath oils, and magnesium sulphate bath salts (great for relaxing muscles and helping you get a good night's sleep). The first week of doing this might feel like an effort, but by the second week it will feel so natural and you will be feeling so great from it that it will become something you look forward to, rather than dread.
3) Get A Gym Buddy
I really love working out with friends. Having a gym buddy means that you’re much more likely to stick to your sessions because you don’t want to let them down, and it's also way more fun being able to have a giggle and a catch up with a girlfriend while you’re working up a sweat. I love working out with one of my best friend's Millie Mackintosh because we both love the same classes which is so important when choosing your gym buddy - you won’t feel excited if your friend wants to go boxing and you absolutely hate it!
4) Choose Something FUN
I love exercise but you would never find me in a gym running on a treadmill or trying to do a session on my own - I find it too boring and I loose all my motivation. When the days are so dark, it can be quite draining on your mood so it is SO important to choose something that make you smile, laugh and gives you a real sense of euphoria after.
For me, its all about energetic group classes. I love doing sessions in the morning at Psycle - it’s a spinning class in the dark with laser lights and the most amazing music. You sweat so much and the music makes you feel so energised that you leave feeling like a completely different person. It’s also really important that you go to a class with an instructor that you like. A smiley, energetic person will help lift your mood too. Either way, try out a few different classes and different instructors until you find something/someone you love. I try and do three different types of classes a week: Psycle, Paola’s Body Barre and Boxing at 1Rebel. If I do too much of the same thing I don’t enjoy it as much and I also find that my body responds a lot better to exercise when I keep changing it up.
5) Work Out In Style
Pretty much as soon as October comes, I seem to wear nothing but black. Whilst I do love it and think black always looks chic, I think when it comes to working out, bright colours definitely inspire you to work out harder. Why not reward yourself for your new commitment to exercise by buying yourself a gorgeous new workout outfit, or some bright, fun new trainers! Not only will you look and feel great but you will want to make sure you get your money's worth by wearing it as much as you can. In winter, I love wearing long sleeved sports tops, or make sure I have a comfy warm jumper to put over my sports bra while I journey over. My favourite picks are at www.activeinstyle.co.uk.
So, go on. Set yourself a mini goal for Christmas and use these tips to help you work towards it!
Lots of Love, Roxie xx