As the nights draw in and the sun makes ever-shorter appearances, finding both the motivation and hours to train can be difficult. Halloween, Christmas and New Year all revolve around socialising, feasting on tasty treats and putting your feet up.
And so they should.
But you might also like to keep some semblance of health and fitness during this period, so how do you go about it?
We’ve detailed 5 ‘life’ tips and 5 ‘training’ tips which we hope will help you find the balance between quality family time, parties and relaxation while also keeping healthy.
5 Life Tips
Eat for fat-burning. Although it’s not necessarily the way forward the rest of the year, shifting to a diet higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate can help shift fat and retain lean muscle when you’re not exercising as much as normal. Of course, there will be plenty of times when this isn’t possible – such as at the office Christmas party where John from HR has presented what can only be described as a trunk sized roulade – but if you can introduce some protein to breakfast in the form of an omelette or Greek yoghurt, you’ll be on the right track the rest of the time.
Get the kids involved. It’s so much fun being a kid at this time of year, but it’s not great for their health either! They may run around in breaktime at school, but their Vitamin D levels will be lower so get them out on the weekend where possible.
Go to Parkrun, walk the dog or do some fun circuits in the park are bonding activities that will ensure the whole family’s health is taken care of.
Set a goal for early next year. It’s hard to find the motivation to train when your next event is on the far horizon, many months away.
Luckily for you, we’re a thoughtful bunch at DB Max so we’ve got some great winter events to keep your mojo high!
Check out the Winter TT Series at Castle Combe, Chilly 10k and Chilly Duathlon. Although it might just sound like a crafty marketing ploy (honestly, it isn’t!), but as runners and triathletes ourselves we’ve always pushed ourselves to enter events before really pondering the details of how we’re going to get there. If you think about it too much, you’ll find excuses to not do it.
Buy some kit. Treat yourself to a new pair of kicks or perhaps a particularly garish cycling jersey.
At this time of year, there’s nothing worse than training outside in kit that’s inappropriate for the conditions. More so than summer months, it’s worth investing a little more to ensure you’re buying good quality garments that will serve you well in inclement weather.
Have a plan. It sounds anal, but sitting down on a Sunday evening and planning the weeks activities will make it much more likely you’ll actually do them. Think about when you can squeeze a session in, and pencil in what you’re going to do.
5 Training Tips
Get your exercise done in the morning. Not only is training on an empty stomach before breakfast a fantastic way to target fat-burning, but it’s also a mental victory to know you’ve got it done – there’s nothing worse than reaching 5pm and knowing you have to train, particularly if your colleagues are heading out for a mulled wine or Christmas pint with elf hats on.
Keep it short and intense. No need to go out for long, slow runs or bike rides if you don’t have the time. Short, high intensity interval training is very effective and offers great bang for your buck. 30-minutes is all you need to fire up your metabolism.
Best not to do high intensity exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You may bonk! Do these sessions straight after work or even in your lunch break.
Embrace the gym. Although many of us prefer to be outside, it’s just too hard to commit to training outside all winter.
Imagine if another #BeastFromTheEast pays us a visit…
Most gyms offer a short membership of 3 months which you’ll be grateful for come January and February.
Hit the weights. Leading on from the above, the gym is the place to hit the weights. Weightlifting increases your EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) which is basically the number of calories your body will continue to burn even after you’ve stopped exercising.
Unlike low intensity cardio, where your calorie-burning potential stops soon after you finish exercising, both weightlifting and HIIT training increase your EPOC well after you’ve returned home from the gym.
Get a training partner. Teamwork makes the dream work, don’t they say?! Having accountability to someone else is a huge motivator to get you out the door.
Sit down with your chosen teammate and commit to meeting X number of times per week. Make it into a little social, and reward yourself after each session with a pint, vino or wedge of cake.
If you can get a small group together, even better.