The clocks have gone back, the temperature has dropped and the temptation to embrace cosy season and drop your workout routine and healthy habits is strong. In fact, a study by Sports Direct found that last winter, 61% of adults stopped exercising entirely as the cooler months set in.
If you’re someone who struggles to stay active in the winter months, Sports Direct has partnered with Jo Burland, Personal Trainer at Bio Synergy, Steven Rinaldi, CEO and founder at PRIMAL, and Martyn Oakey, Head of Fitness at Everlast Gyms to share their secrets to keeping up your fitness routine over winter and into the new year.
It all begins with realistic goal setting
Setting clear and realistic goals can help you to unlock the motivation that you may have lost over the winter months, as you do your best to work towards an objective rather than letting your exercise regime slip.
To put this into action, Jo recommends “Break down your fitness goals into smaller, achievable milestones. It’s easier to stay motivated when you can celebrate frequent victories along the way.”
Martyn Oakey, Head of Fitness at Everlast Gyms, part of Sports Direct adds “It can be easy at this point in the year to delay your goals for the new year. For those who are big on setting new year goals, it can help to set a couple of smaller, less strenuous ‘end of year’ goals that you can work towards over the latter months of the year. This can be really useful for focusing your mind and boosting your motivation to keep going”
Schedule it into your calendar
Doing exercise as and when you feel like it is an easy way to fall into the habit of skipping your training sessions when the weather is bad or you’re not feeling motivated. Instead, planning a schedule can help you to stick to your regime.
Jo adds “Make sure to schedule your workouts like any other important appointment. Having a routine makes it easier to stick to your plan, even when it’s freezing outside and you’re lacking in motivation.”
Once you’ve set yourself up to work towards a refreshed set of goals, partnering up with a friend or family member can help make sticking with your routine a little easier.
Jo says “Find a workout buddy who shares your goals. Having someone to exercise with can make the experience more enjoyable, and you’re less likely to bail when someone else is counting on you.”
Martyn adds “If your friends or family aren’t up for it, try booking on to a regular gym class, working out as a part of a group who are there with similar aims to you can create a sense of community that will only drive your motivation.”
Mix it up with a fitness trend
Are minutes starting to feel like hours on the running machine? With trends like the viral treadmill #12330workout pulling in upwards of 338.7M views on TikTok, it’s no coincidence that incorporating a new exercise trend can breathe new life into your workout routine, helping to keep your motivation up.
Jo explains “Trying new activities or classes can add excitement and prevent boredom from creeping in. Winter can be an excellent time to experiment with indoor classes like yoga or spin.”
Martyn comments “Whether you’re looking to diversify your workout routine and target new muscle groups and hone new skills, rotating new activities into your current workout routine can be really beneficial, as it creates variety and keeps things from feeling like a chore.
“There are hundreds of workout trends online that can transform your current workouts into something fresh and exciting. It is however important that if you’re not entirely sure, you consult with a personal trainer for advice on whether the trend will truly be beneficial as well as tips on technique and incorporating this into your current workout routine in a way that avoids injury.”
The FITT method
You could think about the FITT method as a recipe for staving off the winter workout slump, by simply altering the Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type of your RUNNING workouts.
Sports Direct spoke with Steven Rinaldi, CEO and founder at PRIMAL who said “The FITT principle involves adjusting the frequency, intensity, time and type of exercises to break through stagnation. By varying the frequency of workouts, adjusting intensity levels, modifying workout duration, and diversifying exercise selection, individuals can overcome plateaus and keep their training routines engaging and effective.”
Reward yourself for your hard work
Whilst goals and a schedule are great long-term strategies, taking time to acknowledge the little wins on the way can greatly improve your sense of motivation to keep going.
Jo suggests “Treat yourself when you reach a milestone. Whether it’s a relaxing massage, a new piece of fitness equipment, or a guilt-free cheat meal, rewards can be powerful motivators.
“Sometimes, it’s all about mindset. Focus on the feeling of accomplishment after a workout rather than the temporary discomfort of the cold.”
Martyn adds “Whilst it’s not the solution for every workout-motivation-slump, it’s no secret that buying new sports gear can add a new layer of excitement for working out. So why not set a goal, and once completed, treat yourself to a new pair of running trainers or workout gear?”
If you’re looking to revamp your workout routine for the winter months, one of the most important steps is to ensure you have the correct clothing and equipment. Sports Direct offers a wide range of treadmills and running machines, as well as specialist footwear including New Balance trainers and Nike reacts.