Conquer the Winter From Your Sofa!
October has crept up on us again; the trees are turning brown, the sun is slipping away and the summer holidays feel like nothing more than a smiley Facebook profile picture staring back at you from the laptop screen.
This is a naturally reflective time of the year. In the spring you might have trained for a big event like London Marathon or your first Race For Life. In summer, a wedding or dream holiday may have been the big focus driving your health and fitness forward?
Either way it’s likely your enthusiasm and drive has slipped back a gear or two and that’s perfectly normal. Holiday season is over, work and family life are back to a normal routine and the nights are drawing in.
Time to hibernate until spring then right?
This time of year its good to reflect on the things you achieved and those which you would like to improve upon. The changing of the season doesn’t however mean the end of looking after yourself and setting new goals. We all know how much easier it is to be motivated when the sun is out but if you stop now then you run the risk of never achieving your real health and fitness goals and could be stuck in a vicious circle that will hold you back permanently unless you can address it.
What am I talking about?
Well that two weeks off training and healthy eating after your holiday has already turned into four and accidentally rolled over into October and besides you couldn’t possibly train, its the Bake Off Final! Work just got manic and the gym will have to wait until next week, dinner with friends means healthy eating will need to wait for Monday too. The weather turns cold, the heating goes on and the layers and coats pile up hiding your summer of hard work and newly sculpted body.
Next, somehow it’s crept into November and you only made it to Pilates once last month. Your friend wants to train with you so you decide to wait a couple of weeks before you get started. Now its 12 weeks since your summer holiday and then it dawns on you that the first of the Christmas social events is next week. Social after social, drink after drink and shopping trip after shopping trip rapidly turns into the week before Christmas and all bets are off, your just going to have to wait until the new year to get a grip again.
January rolls round and it’s just too cold to train outside and the gym just fills you with dread and apathy. By February you start to find a groove and start attending a few classes before deciding to work with a trainer. March arrives and the weather is on the turn again, time to get in the shape of your life, run that 10k and lose the last 14 pounds.
Except it was 14 pounds in September and you haven’t trained or eaten consistently for five months now. Now 28 pounds overweight again and with ambitions of upping your running distance from 5K to 10K is looking like an even bigger mountain to climb than this time last year.
I’m sure this sounds more than just a little bit familiar and it’s the reason you have to climb a bigger mountain each year, it’s the reason why you always feel slower, more sluggish and less able to conquer your goals and fears once and for all.
This might seem counter intuitive but the solution is actually to stop! Well for a week or two.
After achieving your big goal for the year its important to have a little down time and reflect on the highs and lows of the year. The seasons change bring with it all the challenges already discussed so the way to overcome them is to reflect and plan.
- How can you still train in the cold?
- Where can you train in the rain?
- What went well over the summer?
- Did you achieve all your goals or did you miss some, if so why?
- What do you need to improve or develop to achieve your next big goal?
If you want to run a spring marathon then you need to keep running 5-8 miles over the winter to help get your body ready for the training program to come (Don’t overdo the miles!). If however you stop running, put on 14 pounds and do no cardio or strength training then come January it’s already game over, or next stop might be a debilitating injury.
What could you do instead?
You could work with a trainer to develop your strength, mobility and core stability. You could challenge your cardiovascular system using low impact non running based exercises to help you heart and lungs adapt ahead of the marathon program in the new year. Outcome, a stronger fitter athlete ready to achieve serious New Year goals.
You managed to lose a significant amount of weight over the summer ready for a big event like a wedding. You still have a few pounds left to lose but your motivation for training has gone into free fall since the big day and your summer holiday. You plan to get started again but the weeks are slipping by and you are getting the “fear of the scales” again.
What Could You Do Instead?
To overcome this you need to mix things up and intentionally change your routine. If you attended a summer boot camp or running club then look to see what classes are available inside over the winter months. Plan you outside sessions at the weekend to allow for good light and to help make sure you don’t miss mid-week training due to weather. Try something new and add in much needed variety. A change is as good as a rest and this will spark a whole new motivation to exercise and getting more active.
Head to the shops and invest in some new season healthy cook books to keep your diet fresh, exciting and in tune with the new season. Don’t load up on stodgy comfort food that will send you backwards.
Choose a goal for the winter and next summer. Short and long term goals keep you motivated and seeing progress along the way and will help to keep your mind engaged.
Work on a Weakness.
The winter is the time to develop and work on an area that slowed you down in the summer. This might be balancing your diet or developing your balance and core. So why not attend a cooking class or try Pilates or yoga over the winter to help build you foundation nutritional knowledge, strength and core conditioning.
Working on your weakness and developing a workable plan over the winter will mean that come spring you’re not only, lighter, fitter and healthier than ever before BUT you’re mentally READY to step up and smash those big spring & summer goals next year!
Reflect, Plan, Execute, Conquer the Winter!
For help planning your winter success or how to prepare for marathon season call Fundamentally FIT to chat about your goals.