3 WAYS TO MAINTAIN YOUR PROGRESS IN WINTER
Time to read 4 min
Time to read 4 min
If you’re guilty of losing motivation and willpower during the winter months, guess what? You’re certainly not alone. With each day getting a little colder than the next, and often a tad more miserable too, most of us are hesitant to trade in the comfort and warmth of our homes for the treadmill or the weight rack. Don’t get us wrong, there are fewer things more tempting than cocooning yourself in the doona and lounging on the couch, however, let’s not forget - progress isn’t made on the couch and results won’t be achieved overnight if you’re not willing to put in the hard work.
To ensure you keep progressing over winter, it’s important to focus on:
Re-confirming your goals
Making good choices with nutrition
Finding different methods to stay motivated
Re-confirming your goals
As the days get colder, your motivation will drop even lower. A way to push through this is to constantly remind yourself of what you are wanting to achieve. This can be done by simply visiting the goals that you had weeks or months before the change in season. It is important to have a clear goal and vision of where you are and where you want to get to during winter.
Perhaps you’re looking to gain a good amount of lean muscle over this period so that you have a good foundation to work with when it comes to getting lean and showing off what you’ve worked for, come summer. Your muscles won’t grow on their own, so if you choose to binge-watch a few seasons of Designated Survivor instead of hitting the gym, the hard truth is that you’re just not going to get to where you want to be. If you feel like your current goals are unachievable, then it is a good time to set new, micro (smaller) goals by applying the S.M.A.R.T principles to help attain your long-term goal.
For example - If you want to add 10kg of muscle in 5 months, you will need to set out smaller goals that are:
Specific - Gain 2kg each month.
Measurable - Ensure you can see the progress taking place (for example: log your nutrition and bodyweight, do an InBody scan each month, take progress photos etc.)
Achievable - Ensure the goals are realistic and not impossible to reach (for example: breaking it down to 2kg per month ensures that your goal is attainable, realistic, and most importantly, healthy).
Relevant - Be sure that the smaller goals you choose will benefit your long-term, overarching goals.
Timely - Have a set timeframe that you want to achieve the outcome in, as this will help to keep you on track.
Some people get the wrong idea that they are still able to retain all of their progress, even if they have a lengthy break from the gym and following a nutritious diet. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is - maintenance is key to achieving results.
Physiologically, a minimum of 2 sessions per week will help maintain your current condition and 3 or more per week is optimal for improvements. Simply put, if you get into the mindset of eating unhealthy foods and avoiding the gym, your fitness levels and strength will decrease and all of the hard work you put in during the previous months will likely go to waste.
So, if you want to push forward and achieve your goals, taking into consideration your nutrition is also a big factor. Contrary to popular belief, cooking a nutritious and delicious meal doesn’t have to be challenging or expensive. I mean, you wouldn’t put diesel into your petrol car and expect it to run optimally...so, why would you consume food that isn’t good for your body?
If nutrition isn’t your forte and you’re at a loss of where to start, there are plenty of useful websites with healthy recipes, including:
Motivation is a tough one, as nobody’s motivation will be at 100% all of the time… and with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, nor should you expect it to be.
If you’re struggling, the easiest way to boost motivation is by having a training partner. A training partner will help to keep you accountable and on track as you will not only have someone to push you that little bit harder, but you also have someone relying on you. Personal trainers are another great way to keep you on track. Unlike a training partner, a personal trainer’s entire job revolves around getting you the results you want. Using the right personal trainer will take your training up a notch as it will provide you with the knowledge and expertise of someone experienced in the field (therefore cutting out the guesswork on your end), and just as importantly, a point of accountability. A trainer will make sure you are progressing each week and working towards the direction of your specific goals. Additionally, most gyms will have classes included, and attending one or two per week will help burn off some extra calories and help to keep you motivated throughout the session.
Don’t like training with a partner or aren’t ready to commit to a personal trainer? No stress, there are plenty of ways you can motivate yourself, such as:
A killer playlist - We know it sounds simple, but never underestimate the power of a great playlist and the influence it can have on your motivation levels, and subsequently your output. Better still, Spotify has a range of pre-made playlists specifically for exercise.
Prepare ahead of time - If you’re not a morning person but have to get up early if you want to sneak in a bit of ‘you’ time to pump out a workout, try gathering your exercise gear and laying it out the night before. Even wear your workout socks to bed!
Do the AM routine - If possible, switch up your workout schedule to train first thing in the morning. Why? After a long day at work, generally, the last thing we want to do is head to the gym...and let’s not forget, we have plenty of chances to talk ourselves out of it throughout the day!
To sum it all up, if you’re looking to make some progress this winter, make sure you:
Revisit your goals and remind yourself of WHY you’re looking to improve in the first place
Make sure you don’t slack off on the basics – especially nutrition
Look for ways to keep your motivation high