Staying focused on your goals can be especially tough during the winter. Motivation can dip when it’s cold and dark and hitting the snooze button for an extra hour in a warm bed is hard to resist.
While it’s tempting to slack off you should be aware that most of our weight gain for the entire year comes during the festive season. And most of that weight can remain until the summer. If you can manage to keep some kind of structure in place now you'll reap the benefits when January arrives.
Things may not be perfect over the coming weeks but they don't need to be. Simply aim to be better than you were this time last year. Below are 5 ways to help you do just that.
Don’t just say ‘'I’ll do some exercise tomorrow'’. Have a specific workout in mind. If you don’t you’ll find yourself making excuses to not see it through.
Plan exactly what you're going to do, be it a morning run, a class, or gym session. Whatever it is, drill it into your subconscious the night before and tell yourself how great you're going to feel afterwards.
Better still, plan a full week of workouts in advance and get them down on paper. It's been proven that writing stuff down greatly increases adherence. And we all know how satisfying it is to tick things off the to-do list!
Early mornings are a great time to work out. You can even do them in the comfort of your own home. You’ll get a nice energy boost when you need it most and the hardest part of your day is accomplished while everyone else is asleep. Aren’t you the champ?!
Prepare everything you can in advance. You don’t want to be fumbling around looking for your kit in the morning so ensure your gym bag is already packed. If you decide to exercise before work then keep your kit next to your bed so it’s the first thing you see when you rise.
The same goes for your nutrition. Don't kid yourself that you'll get up extra early to make a healthy lunch. Do it the night before and get it over with. You can probably still see the TV from the kitchen anyway!
Sleep is hugely important but it's something many of us overlook. A bad night's sleep can mess up your entire day and has many negative impacts:
• Heightened Stress Levels
• Increased Hunger and Cravings
• Decrease in Willpower
• Lack of Focus
• Low Energy
If your willpower is being tested from the minute you wake it's inevitable those pesky cravings will get the better of you. And once that first step to Fatsville has been taken we all know what happens next. It triggers an entire day of eating everything in sight!
This is why good quality shut-eye is vital if you're trying to lose weight. One bad night may cause a binge capable of reversing a week's worth of dieting and hard work.
If you need to be up early then adjust your bedtime accordingly. Ask yourself if you really need to watch another Netflix episode? If you’re in bed by 10pm that 6am alarm won’t feel as brutal so save the boxsets for the weekend and aim for 7-8 hours every night.
A few tips:
Stay away from all electronic devices an hour before bed and keep them out of the bedroom completely if you can. Take a warm bath or shower and read something light to help you doze off. A dark and cool room is ideal for deep sleep. Go to bed and rise at roughly the same time every day.
For more advice on how to get some quality shut-eye check out my 'Sleep Like a Baby' article here.
An easy way to keep yourself motivated and accountable is to find a partner in crime. Teaming up with a friend or colleague requires planning in advance and once something is scheduled you're much more likely to see it through.
Bailing on your own workout is one thing but it’s much harder to skip a session when you know you’re letting someone else down. And if your gym buddy abandons you at the last minute at least you'll already be on your way to the gym. It's a win-win!
Working out with others makes it feel like less of a chore. It can help boost your confidence and you may try things you wouldn't on your own. Get as many people involved as possible. Why not become the ''fitness gimp'' of the office? Someone has to do it!
If the thought of working out fills you with dread, don't stress. You can still lose weight and increase your fitness levels without a gym membership. You just need to get outside as much as possible.
Walking is hugely underrated but it still counts as exercise and it's great for your long-term health and wellbeing. You can walk pretty much anywhere and whenever you choose. No excuses for this one!
Aim for 10,000 steps a day. If you don't have an app or Fitbit to track your progress a 30-40 minute walk should cover it. You don't have to hit all 10,000 steps in one go. It might be a case of getting off a stop early on your commute or going for a stroll at lunchtime. Take the stairs rather than the lift. Walk to the shops instead of driving. It all counts towards your total.
To lose a pound of body fat you need to burn roughly 3,500 calories. Your body doesn't care if you achieve this by running, pumping iron, or simply walking more. So, get your step rate up and watch your weight drop down!*
*Or at least remain where it is until you grab January by the balls!
There's nothing worse than Instagram stars and celebrities making things look easy while the rest of us struggle through one of the toughest times of the year.
Pictures of unattainable physiques will not motivate you. If anything, it makes things harder as it portrays an unrealistic expectation of what we should be aiming for. Comparison is the fast track to unhappiness so never measure your 1st step against someone else's 100th.
Be mindful that social media is not a true reflection of the real world. Ask yourself if you really need Six-Pack Sally and Tupperware Tim in your life? If the answer is no, unfollow all of the accounts that are not serving you. Instead, just focus on yourself and aim for progress rather than perfection.
It's easy to make excuses and opt for ''hibernation mode'' during the winter months, but there is no reason to let a change in the seasons halt your progress.
All of the information here is easy to implement and can be actioned right away so plese don't read this article and forget about it 5 minutes later. Pick 1 or 2 tips and build from there. You don't have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going!
If you can apply some of these ideas now when it’s cold and dark, imagine how much easier it will be in spring when you have weeks of momentum behind you?
If you have any questions feel free to send me a message and please share this blog wth anyone you think may find it useful. Thank you.
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