Cold Comfort: How to Lose Weight & Keep Motivated in the New Year
January’s here, and if you want to burn off that festive paunch, it’s time to get serious about your fitness. I get it, the miserable weather, the dark nights, the primeval urge to hunker down in your man-cave quaffing pints of pity juice. And why not? It’s pelting down outside, the car’s iced up, and celeb Big Brother’s back on the box. So why not let yourself go a bit? It’s not like anyone can see you under all those layers, and you can always make up for it in spring. Besides, who needs to be beach-ready when it’s minus ten outside?
Well think again. Hibernating’s for hedgehogs, not gym bunnies. Just ask Mo Farah when he works hardest, when he puts in the most miles on the roads. Winter, of course, and here’s why. Like all athletes he’s building a foundation, a solid base of fitness so he’ll be in peak shape come summer. And if you want a killer bod to wow the crowds in Ibiza next year, you need to start thinking like Mo. Don’t wait until the week before your hols to start crash-dieting and flogging yourself in the gym, swearing off carbs and bursting into tears at the sight of a co-workers croissant. Put the work in now, and trust me, you’ll reap the rewards. Fair enough, Mo’s pounding the pavements in Oregon and Kenya while you’re stuck in rainy old Salford (we can’t all get that sweet Quorn money), but with a few little tweaks it’s easy to stay motivated and shake off those winter blues.
A change is better than a rest, so why not shake up that tired old playlist and get your adrenaline pumping. Studies show that the best exercise music is between 120 and 140 beats per minute, so ditch those power ballads and get some hip hop in your iPod.
Need some extra motivation to keep you going through the winter months? Think Tech. Smart watches and fitness trackers are a proven way to increase activity, beat the boredom and help you push through the pain. Pick up one these little gems in the January sales and watch the pounds melt away.
Break the Ice
Embrace the cold - get out and run in the snow. Remember how exhausting it was as a kid, dragging your sled up that snow-covered hillside? Running in snow’s just like running in sand, and the added difficulty makes for a great workout. Just be sure to keep your sessions short, wrap up warm, and ditch those trainers for something a bit sturdier, like hiking boots. With any luck you’ll be back inside before your sweat freezes.
HIIT the Gym
Better yet, take your workout indoors. Don’t panic, I’m not advocating endless mind-numbing hours on the treadmill. By using HIIT - high intensity interval training – you can give yourself an excellent workout in a fraction of the time. Perfect for getting out of the cold and firing that metabolism.
The cold weather can bring a greater risk of illness and injury; so take extra care warming up before each work-out, and keep an eye on what you put into your body. Immune-boosting superfoods like blueberries and broccoli are an excellent way to stay healthy and stave off those winter sniffles.
Above all, try to stay focused. It’s easy to give in to the winter blues, but if you want to look your best in the summer, the journey starts here!