We all know how staying motivated to exercise during the winter months can be tricky. So, we spoke to Personal Trainer Jessica Till from Bath to share her most tried and tested methods for staying fit and healthy when it's cold outside and tips for sticking to a workout routine.
1. Work hard now, work less later
I’m sure we have all been there when the first warm spring day comes and we don’t feel ready to start shedding those winter layers! Just because it's cold outside and we're covered with clothes, we should still be mindful of what we are eating and keeping ourselves fit and strong through exercise. Staying fit will mean less worry and not suddenly cramming in workouts when it comes to switching out those winter knits for strappy tops.
2. Exercise helps keep colds and flu away
I'm someone who hates being sick, and through keeping myself fit and healthy through the winter I can prevent any illnesses by having much better immunity and flushing out any toxins and impurities. Even though the winter season can have us indulging in plenty of Christmas treats, we can still be mindful of what we are eating and keeping ourselves fit and strong through exercise.
3. Wear something awesome
Wearing a great piece of kit can boost your mood! I am in love with my Boudavida Resolve Jacket - it looks so sleek and stylish, I always get complimented when I wear it, and the pockets are fab to keep all of my belongings in. It's also lightweight enough to work out in without overheating, but keeps enough warmth for getting to and from a gym.
4. Get outdoors
I love running outdoors, especially in the winter months because everything looks so scenic as the seasons change. Its also refreshing to get outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery. Plus, if I’m ever feeling stressed or worried, nothing helps me more than just plugging in some music and pounding the pavement. Its the best stress buster for me. I also love a great bootcamp / HIIT class outside, especially in the rain! There's something very satisfying about getting a great workout outside in a group environment, and getting all muddy and dirty together!
5. Focus on the positives
I think the main benefits of working out in winter is to maintain what you have worked hard for in the summer! Its so easy to train and get in shape for a summer holiday or wedding but fitness should be more of a lifestyle. Its very easy to keep covered up in winter, but we all want to feel fit and healthy, and feel good. Working out in winter will also help beat the winter blues - after exercise, the brain releases the “feel good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, and we could all do with a little more happy hormones in the winter months.
6. Stay consistent with your routine
I’m just as reluctant as anyone else to get up early and go out when its dark and cold outside, but I really try to practice what I preach as a personal trainer by sticking to timings in my regular routine and getting outside for my workouts. I also really enjoyed the whole social side of Christmas, and I didn't want to feel deprived from mulled wine or mince pies, but I always made sure I trained over the festive period too. Its all about balance!
7. Warm up
If I’m working out in a gym, I will either use the start master or cross trainer for 10 minutes, beginning gently and then building up a little more speed and resistance until I’m a breathless but still able to hold a conversation, and my body feels warm and my skin is starting to “glow”. I will always include dynamic stretching to ensure my joints and muscles are ready and switched on. Top tip - I might also do a yoga flow for 10 minutes so that I have my body warmed up and I’ve done all of my dynamic stretching at the same time. If you prefer to workout outside, I suggest going for a jog, or a short circuit of press ups, sit ups and squats.
8. Try something new
A great way to give yourself a boost is to try something different. I have just spent the past 4 weeks taking up a new exercise in the form of yoga. I travelled to Goa to complete my teacher training for ashtanga yoga, and this has been incredible. There is so much more to yoga than I ever imagined! I truly believe that everyone should give it a go - its great for mobility, strengthening your bones and joints, mental clarity, flexibility, fitness, and it's suitable for everyone.
9. Eat well
Just like everyone else, I’m a big fan of comfort food in winter but I'll just try to make a healthier alternative. If I train in the morning, I will have protein porridge for breakfast, which is delicious, warming and nourishing. It's simply porridge oats, a scoop of protein powder and then usually almond or cashew nut milk, cooked just like a normal porridge. I will also use a little cinnamon on top for an extra boost. Otherwise, if I train later in the day I will have either a warming home made vegetable soup with chicken, or a warm salad or stew, again adding some form of protein to repair muscles after training.
10. Keep a motivational quote on standby
I have a few faithful quotes that I like to repeat: “Summer bodies are made in winter”, “what you eat privately shows up publicly”, and “it will take 4 weeks for you to see a difference, 8 weeks for friends and family, and 12 weeks for everyone else". Keep going!
11. Wrap up warm
I LOVE my Boudavida Cwtch Hoodie. Its so cosy and warm, and the fact that it's oversized means I can layer up underneath, depending on how cold it is and how I’m planning to train on that day!