It's that time of year again: dark, rainy, cold, days are short, and you feel lazy. Also, we’re starting the holiday season and I'm sure your social calendar is going off just like mine. The combination of eating out, drinking more alcohol, and doing less exercise can very quickly destroy your summer fitness and exercise habits. What to do?
1. Make exercise a priority
The busier we get the more important it is to actually schedule exercise. Treat it like a business appointment. It's a bit self serving to say, but personal training at this time of year is hugely beneficial. When you book with a trainer you become accountable to them, and that makes things a lot easier.
2. Be realistic with yourself and your expectations.
There is nothing like having unrealistic personal fitness expectations to derail an exercise program. I've seen it numerous times. Someone feels they should be exercising just has hard all year around, and because they can't during the winter they get discouraged and quit entirely. I say don't worry about exercising less, and consider November and December to be your 'off season'. Set some goals that are a little easier to achieve during the winter holidays, that way you can achieve them (maybe even over achieve). We all feel better under those circumstances.
3. Commit to an event early in the New Year.
There is nothing like the pressure of an upcoming cycling race or running race to keep your motivation up. Fear of doing poorly can really keep you focused.
4. Buy some fancy new winter/rain specific clothing.
I love getting new runners, or a new jacket, or even a new winter bike. I find it really motivating and I can't wait to get out and test the new gear, especially if it's winter specific and maybe a bit fancy/techie....
5. Try something new.
If you are a runner/cyclist and you just can't get into going out in the crappy weather try joining a masters swim group, maybe boxing, how about trampoline? It's really healthy to take a couple months per year doing something a bit different especially if you are like me and really focus hard on one specific type of exercise almost all year.
6. Go on a winter fitness vacation.
I usually sneak away to California for some riding, I find this hugely motivating and it keeps me training as I don't want to ride like a slug when I get there.
Ultimately living on the west coast forces us to ignore the rain. At the end of the day it isn't really that bad out there and you won't melt. Use lights, wear reflective clothing, book regularly with your personal trainer and accept that you won't be at the top of your game for a few months - it's no big deal.