Maybe you have already found yourself pulling out an extra dooner for the cold nights, an increased reluctance for getting out of bed (at all) in the mornings- or maybe you have just noticed, like me- that getting to the gym now has a few extra excuses to do the actual training session.
Game of Thrones coined the now famous phrase “Winter…..is coming” and cometh it is. Approximately ten days from now (at the time of writing this) and we enter the icy cold clasp of the winter months.
The point is “getting it done” is getting harder- but it doesn’t need to be. There are plenty of ways to keep on track, lets go through a few of them now:
1. Set a Plan that is AIRTIGHT
At Hybrid we often talk to people that have the goal to “lose a bit of fat” when first coming into the gym. The majority of the time starting out this is fine as we like to prioritise the daily habits that form the construct of health.
In saying that- we do encourage each person to become a little clearer. Rather than losing a bit of fat, now its lose 4kg of bodyfat by the end of winter and the next step is setting the plan.
You aren’t making a commitment solely to your gym, or the coach running the class- the commitment is to yourself. Set aside time and make a commitment to yourself to follow through- obviously make it realistic. Don’t pencil in 21 training sessions, exercising three times a day because chances are it won’t stick. I work in a gym and spend the majority of my life around the gym and I don’t do that.
For example, during the Hartley V Manikis #EndoftheSloth competition I have committed to four weights training sessions per week, one low intensity cardio session (a walk/ride/jog/row etc) and one high intensity conditioning session (metabolic circuits, sprints etc). By no means is it for everyone but it is my airtight plan that I can stick to and will provide the results attached to my goal.
2. Be Realistic
Usually in May I have this discussion with at least half a dozen people- daylight hours shrink and some people (not all) like the idea of exercising in the morning to free the evening up for a last little bit of sunlight to end the day.
The problem? They have never woken up before 8am unless their life depended on it. Now they are planning on doing four 5:30am workouts per week.
I admire the courage to attempt it, but I implore you to be realistic. Getting the work done throughout winter is hard enough as it is- make exercise work for you, not vice versa.
For example- I enjoy training later in the day because in my mind at 8:30am when I have a nice gap to workout I convince myself I’m too cold. The problem is a thousand things come up prior to training and boom the time to workout is gone, so now, I force myself to get warm because I know that 8:30 is the perfect time for me to train. It breaks up my working morning, clears my mind for a good few hours of either more coaching or admin and it means I have wiggle room in the afternoon when something does come up without feeling guilty.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable (Or find someone to do it for you)
It is plain and simple, once your goals are set, a plan is laid out and you are being realistic on all fronts- holding yourself accountable is key. If you know yourself, that you will bail more often than not but these goals are important find someone to keep you accountable.
It could be a training partner at your gym, someone to go for a walk with you, maybe even your pooch, maybe its hiring the services of a personal trainer or coach.
Someone who will call you out on your bull shit (believe me, I know from what I’ve been like in winters gone by- there will be plenty!) and want you to achieve your goals as much as you do can be the most important piece of the puzzle.
Accountability is king and rightfully so.
For us, we are fortunate to have multi-layered accountability- if we don’t stick it out we are a bad example to our members, we have taken before pictures and will update them each four weeks until first day of spring plus we keep each other accountable. It is just what mates do- even if it is with an incredibly stern word!
Of course keeping on track is much easier said than done- and I know it is one of the dirtiest clichés that circles gym floors all the time- I cringe writing it but…..willpower is as much something that needs regular work, just like a specific muscle.
Nobody expects you to not hit any speed bumps, nobody is under the illusion there won’t be at least one morning where the snooze button is hit so hard you finally wake up to a smouldering alarm clock.
However if you chip away and put in 100% effort for the majority of time then I guarantee you will be the one in your friends group that is rocking the swimsuit in September when the sun comes back out and we are all keen to defrost after another long winter.