The days slowly get shorter, the temperature gradually declines, hell, even the nights feel darker – and without fail, your motivation begins to wane.
Now don’t get me wrong, I get it.
I really do.
The months of winter are hands down one of the biggest sucks on motivation that this amazing planet has to offer.
Whether it is due to the shorter days, of simply because we are not going to be wearing a swim suits for another six months, it really doesn’t matter – winter is a time when simply staying healthy and positive becomes damn near impossible.
And the result?
We begin to see increases in weight and declines in both our physical and mental wellbeing, all of which can make it pretty hard to stay in shape ready for summer.
But fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way – because we are here to help.
By following the 7 key tips outlined in this article, you can keep motivated and healthy throughout the colder months, ensuring that you are making progress all year round!
1. Start Supplementing with Vitamin D
Most people seem to have a pretty good handle on their supplement regime. Ask anyone who goes to the gym regularly, and you can be certain that they are taking a high-quality protein powder and maybe some creatine on a daily basis.
However, during the colder months, this really doesn’t cover all our bases.
You see, during winter the amount of sunlight you see starts to drop dramatically – and as a result, you start getting less and less Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients in the human body, where it plays a number of different roles – one of which revolves around your ability to produce energy and maintain optimal cognitive function.
With all this in mind, the deficiency of Vitamin D (such as that seen during winter) has shown extremely strong associations with mental and physical fatigue, as well as feelings of lethargy and tiredness. Incredibly, having too little vitamin D has been shown to negatively impact your ability to produce muscle strength and power.
Considering all of this, the colder months can reduce energy and motivation at a physiological level, through a reduction in Vitamin D exposure.
But fortunately for us, this can be easily rectified. By simply supplementing with Vitamin D daily, you can avoid this unnecessary and debilitating deficiency, increasing your motivation and function in the process!
2. Eat Your Garlic
As the weather gets colder, general disease and illness starts to run rampant. Whether it be the common cold or something more serious (influenza, for example…), the onset of sickness is a sure-fire way to derail your progress.
However, there is an extremely simple way to avoid this issue completely – and it revolves around you eating more garlic.
Garlic contains a unique bioactive compound known as Allicin.
Allicin is an extremely potent compound that has been shown to fight off harmful bacteria that can lead to several diseases and illnesses – including both the common cold and the flu. As such, by eating more garlic with your meals, you can seriously reduce your likelihood of getting sick, keeping motivation high and ensuring that you can keep exercising hard throughout the entirety of winter.
3. Set a Yourself a Training Goal
One of the most common things in see during winter is the steady decline in physical activity levels. While most would argue that this comes with a reduced ability to train (most likely because of the weather), I would suggest that it is strictly the result of reduced motivation.
Many of us make it to the gym because we feel we should, not because we enjoy or it, or because we are training for anything in particular – and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it doesn’t really get us amped up to exercise.
As a result, setting yourself a training related goal at the start of winter is a great way to increase your motivation by giving you something to work towards!
This goal could be strength based, performance based, physique based, or even conditioning based (ever wanted to run a marathon?) – it doesn’t really matter – as long as it gives you a solid target to work towards, then it will also give you a massive spike in motivation.
Health and exercise follows!
4. Get A Training Buddy
It’s not too hard to find yourself a friend or co worker who also wants to keep fit during the winter months, but struggles to find the motivation to do so.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that this describes 50% of all the people you know.
With that in mind, when coming into the colder months, a sure-fire way to maximize motivation is to find a training buddy who has similar goals to you. This person can be anyone – the only thing you need to make sure is that they are available to train with you for at least one session per week!
Not only will this keep you accountable for those weekly training sessions, it can create a little bit of healthy competition, which further stokes your need to succeed.
5. Invest in Some Equipment
One of the biggest barriers to maintaining an exercise routine during winter is the weather. Getting outside for a training session in the cold and wet is never appealing – in fact, leaving the house in those conditions is never appealing period.
Which is why purchasing a couple of pieces of training equipment for home is great way to bypass this issue.
And the best two pieces that I can ever recommend are a kettlebell and a skipping rope.
Both options are extremely affordable, take up practically zero room, and provide an extremely easy way to exercise at home.
Kettlebells can be used for squats, swings, and presses, and can subsequently enhance muscle growth, and promote fat loss. Similarly skipping is the perfect form of cardio – as it not only stresses the aerobic system, but also develops coordination and balance.
One of my favorite circuit workouts using these two bits of equipment is this one here:
- 20 kettlebell swings
- 120s skipping
- 20 kettlebell squats
- 90s skipping
- 20 kettlebell deadlifts
- 60s skipping
Perform each exercise back to back for three rounds, with 2 minutes rest between rounds – brutal, fun, and most importantly, effective!
6. Upgrade Your Gym Gear
Now I appreciate that this may come across somewhat vain, but I don’t think that makes it any less effective!
Buying a new piece of training equipment or gym gear is a great way to get yourself excited to keep yourself exercising on the regular – and obviously, as a result, this can also improve motivation in a massive way.
It’s also important to note that when I say training equipment, I really mean anything that gets you excited to exercise. It could be a new watch with a GPS tracker, some new gym clothes, or even a new lifting belt – it doesn’t really matter – if it gets you excited to use it, then I can assure you that it is a great option.
7. Don’t Overeat on Comfort Foods
This final tip is more about what you should avoid doing, rather than what you should be doing – so listen close.
In winter it gets colder, and we have a horrible habit of gravitating towards our favourite comfort foods. While tasty, these foods are obviously not all that good for us, and can lead to weight gain and associated declines in health.
So, a little trick I like to use is to make sure that I have a solid portion of green vegetables and lean protein with every single meal. It doesn’t matter what meal they are added to, it just needs to be done.
And this is because it can have two huge impacts on health.
Firstly, it provides a really easy way of increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals. These compounds contribute to enhanced immune system function, and subsequently reduce your risk of getting sick while simultaneously keeping your energy levels high.
Secondly, these foods are very filling, but provide very little calories. As a result, they help stave off any unwanted winter weight gain.
Genius, am I right?
The colder months are often a time when motivation and positivity decline. With this comes a drop-in exercise levels that can lead to weight gain and associated declines in health – in short, winter is a time that can derail all progress.
But by sticking to the tips listed in this article you can avoid this at all costs, keeping yourself motivated, happy, and healthy throughout the entirety of winter!