It seems like someone’s flicked a switch and that’s it – summer’s over. Now the nights are drawing in, and you’re no longer being woken by the sun at 6am, it’s pretty easy to start getting into hibernation mode. Unfortunately, while one part (possibly a very big part) of you fancies the idea of a Netflix binge and comfort food of an evening now, the logical part of the brain is still there, reminding you that your health and fitness can’t just be put on hold till you hear those birds chirping at dawn once again.
So how do you stay focused on your goals this autumn and winter?
ROUTINE AND SCHEDULE IS KEY
It might sound dull, but having a schedule and routine will definitely help. We humans love a routine! Schedule your workouts in. This might mean reminders in your phone, workouts highlighted in yellow on your calendar or in your diary, or it could be a workout buddy you’ve teamed up with, who will help you to stay on track. Chances are, neither of you will want to let the other one down, so you’ll end up sticking to your plans. Or, if you have a super-dedicated fitness pal, you’re definitely onto a winner!
MIX THINGS UP
Although we do love a routine, that doesn’t mean we always like the same old, same old. When it comes to exercise, most people will get bored if they do the same thing all the time. And they won’t see results either! If you plan to wake up at 6am and go for a 20-minute steady run on your treadmill five times a week, you’re likely to get bored of it. Make each workout different to ensure you actually feel motivated to train. Your body will thank you for it too! An ideal week should include cardio exercise, as well as strength/body weight training. You might do these separately or merge the two!
FIND WORKOUTS YOU LOVE
If you’re one of those people who only exercises because you have to, but doesn’t particularly enjoy it, you’re definitely more likely to crack and head for the sofa this autumn. What you need to do is find exercise that actually makes you feel fulfilled. Maybe running or cycling is something that bores you to tears? OK, why not try HIIT (high intensity interval training), circuits, or Pilates? HIIT has become such a massive phenomenon due to its power to burn more fat and calories in less time than other forms of exercise. Due to its versatility, most people who do it love it because it stops boredom creeping in, takes less time and makes you feel fantastic. Try these 4 HIIT workouts. They use a range of functional fitness equipment, such as kettlebells, resistance bands and dumbbells, making them great for home workouts.
WORK OUT AT HOME
When it’s dark, or raining and windy, or even worse – hailing or snowing – the idea of getting out there for a workout is tough. If you train at home, you can totally remove this problem. No horrible weather to face, and there’s no travel time to consider. You can train at whatever time suits you, and make sure you have the equipment you want and need. And you won’t have to share it! If you think you’re the type who might end up using a treadmill as a coat stand, or kettlebells as doorstops, here’s a tip – ensure you have a dedicated space for your exercise. This might be a spare room or garage if you’re lucky, but can even just be a corner of a living room. Just set it up as a mini gym area and it will make it all feel that bit more official.
SET GOALS AND BE ACCOUNTABLE
Setting goals is a sure-fire way to ensure you stick to your fitness plan. Sign up for a race that you need to train for, or share your weight loss goals with family and friends so that they can spur you on. Why not allow yourself special treats (a spa treatment, new clothes, tickets to a football match, etc.) for each goal you hit? It’s a great incentive for sticking with your goals. But no cheating! You’ll only feel guilty afterwards.
Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll manage to find a way to stay fit now that summer has gone for another year. And on those days you really don’t feel like putting on those trainers, remember – you don’t ever regret a workout, right?