May signals the last stop before we officially dive into winter. Bye beautiful autumn days, hello dark mornings and even darker evenings. With the temperature dropping it’s common to see your motivation follow suit, so we’ve spoken to Nick Conroy, Director at Vision Personal Training Willoughby to get his best tips and tricks on maintaining motivation and achieving your goals throughout the colder months.
Train with a buddy
“Find something you like doing with friends, such as sports that you played when you were younger. A seasonal sport that you have to commit to each week with friends will keep you consistent and accountable.”
Weekly activities such as a netball or soccer competition are an awesome way to keep active! These activities are also a perfect excuse to catch up with friends, have a laugh and let off some steam from the working week.
Set yourself a goal
Setting a goal can act as a source of motivation in all aspects of life – in particular, setting a realistic goal when it comes to health and fitness can be the difference between pressing snooze for the tenth time and lacing up those new Nikes. Goals can range from losing 5kg before summer to running your first fun run. Goals lead to achievements and results which are the strongest form of motivation you can find!
“Have an idea as to where you want to be by summer – set a target that’s fair, based on your current lifestyle – that’s how much exercise you will realistically commit to and how dedicated you will be with your food. Can you improve on your progress? Don’t tell yourself you’re going to struggle because then you will. Be realistic and don’t get caught up by the latest trend.”
Falling off the wagon
Missing a few days of the gym or eating poorly is normal in the journey towards better health. Though, to keep you accountable you need to ask yourself how determined you are to get back up if you do fall.
“Everything comes down to headspace and motivation. The best way to control that is to sit down and have a plan to reach your goal. Being able to visualise where you’re going and how you want to get there makes achieving goals more achievable. Think about what you need to do and why you want to do it each time you feel like you’re struggling. Reminding yourself of your goals is the best way to get back on track!”
Recognise your excuses
Excuses not to exercise are easier to find than water in a rainstorm, but unfortunately they do nothing to make us healthier. Some of the most common ones are “I’m too busy” or “I’m tired”. To combat these there are a few tricks you can try…
“If you view exercising or going to the gym as a chore than it will become one. Rather, visualise it as creating a healthier mind and body. Look at why you want to go to the gym and why you started in the first place – it will become a different internal conversation and eventually a non-negotiable part of your day, like brushing your teeth!”
You can also beat excuses by writing down your goals and keeping them on your bedside table for you to see as soon as you wake up. Motivational messages on your phone alarm are also a great way to get your butt out of bed!
Find your favourite exercise
People that don’t like running are going to find it a lot harder to get up early and casually jog a solid 10kms. The trick to maintaining your exercise regime during winter is to find something that you really love, or think you might like to start.
“I think it’s good to have a balance and find an array of activities you enjoy. Mixing up your exercise means you can always be prepared – should you get injured playing a team sport but also enjoy swimming you can take a break from your weekly game and start hitting the pool. If I’ve hurt my knee and can’t run I will pick up weight training or if I’m away from the gym I play soccer. This also helps keep your body guessing which ensures you don’t hit a plateau too quickly into your fitness goal.”
Lastly – Work, nourish and repeat
You can work hard at the gym or on the track but the most important thing is to keep your body well nourished. A 10km run is only going to do so much if you follow it up with a box of doughnuts. Instead, try and prepare some key ingredients which can help create an all-round healthy and delicious meal.
“Roast veggies are awesome! If you can stay away from white potato, pretty much everything else is alright. Put some on a baking tray with some herbs to ramp up the flavour and add in some meat to make a wholesome meal. Lasagne with eggplant or pasta with zucchini are also great options, you can even do curries with cauliflower rice. Look at trying to reduce the carb content at night and replacing them with healthy fats!”
Remember you can always make double and save some for lunch the next day. Much tastier and more nutritious than your ham sandwich!