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Winter Training / Overcoming Barriers to Exercise

The clocks have gone back, the seasons are changing, we’re changing the way we eat, less salads and more hearty meals. Have you considered changing your training with the seasons? It’s less appealing to go on long runs/walks on country paths when it’s pitch black, after-work bike rides are becoming a less attractive option.  With the cold winter nights leaving the house for an exercise class can even be a challenge.  

This Is the perfect time of year to re-examine your fitness goals, to check in with your “WHY”, to evaluate the steps required to obtain those goals and look at programs that will work for you throughout the winter months.  If it really is too gnarly, or dark to run or bike outside, have options available, anticipate barriers to exercise, have a plan to combat those barriers.  

Plan your opportunities to workout everyday, you never know what spanners may be thrown into your well planned workout week, what are your opportunities to workout? 

Opportunities to workout:

You don’t need to train 3x a day, but knowing your options helps though.  Once you have evaluated your fitness goals it is easier to decide your key sessions to aim for, and which ones to prioritise, check out the example below: 

Option A: Monday am 6am swim
Option B: Monday lunch 12pm 20 mins Pilates class on youtube/app
Option C: Monday after work 6pm run

Option A: Tuesday am 6am Yoga 20 mins on youtube/app
Option B: Tuesday lunch 12pm 30 min run
Option C: Tuesday after work 6pm Pilates class

Option A: Wednesday am 6am 30 min run
Option B: Wednesday lunch 12pm 20 mins HIIT youtube/app
Option C: Wednesday after work 6pm 20 mins home workout bodyweight exercises

Be aware of your exercise barriers – What might stop you training today?

Time is normally the biggest factor “if I don’t have an hour what’s the point?”:  There is a huge point.  Scientific studies have proven that a mere 7 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout daily on unconditioned adults showed very noticeable improvements on the participants.  So if you can’t exercise for an hour, 10 or 20 mins is definitely better than nothing, make the most of the time you have, try 2 or 3 smaller workouts in a day.  Not working out all week, then throwing yourself into a 2-3 hours workout at the weekend is a recipe for injury.  

Planning your nutrition: If you know you are trying to workout at a particular point in the day fuel up because if you are hungry you will not perform as well, and maybe even cut the activity short.  Be aware of what food you can exercise on, certain foods and drinks can impede workouts, one person may thrive on coffee, for another, coffee contributes to bloating so, be aware of how foods affect YOU. 

Kit, “I was going to run but my run tights are in the wash”:  Always have alternatives and be kit ready.   Have places for your bike lights, pump, yoga mat, whatever kit you need for your workouts, should be easily obtainable.  If it’s neatly stored away, and takes effort to retrieve it could become a barrier to exercise, make it easy on yourself and have it ready to go.  

Timing “I have been looking forward to working out all day, but now I feel so tired I just want to eat and and go to bed”.  Be aware of your circadian rhythm, your body naturally reacts to cues from the external environment, the light and dark.  Naturally most of us get sleepy between 2pm and 4pm, our core body temperature drops and we feel like napping.  If you have a desk job, and a simple carb lunch, and haven’t drunk enough water,  this feeling is exaggerated.  Combat this with a brisk walk outside to raise the body temperature, a warm drink (preferably not caffeine as it will still be in your system at bedtime).  Select more complex carbs for your lunch, like wholegrains and vegetables.  If you keep regular training times your body can also adapt to the energy requirement for your daily workout.  

And finally mindset, by mentally preparing for a workout at least 24 hours in advance can aid towards success,  doing all of the above will help remove those barriers. Remember the feeling you experience after the workout, keep the positive self talk with you all day, and remember those goals, “the WHY” you workout.  Consistency is the key to success. If you carry on the sense of achievement throughout the winter months it can lift your spirits and crossover into your work and social life. 

If you have any questions, or would like help planning your workout week,  let me know, email libertyptraining@gmail.com, or call +44(0)7782-546-604, I would love to hear from you. All feedback is welcome, my aim is to help people enjoy exercise.

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