The mornings are slowly getting lighter and the weather just a touch warmer, but with cold weather still looming, it can be tempting to skip a workout or two. Skipping a session here or there is not the end of the world, quite the opposite as a few days off can provide the body and mind with much needed recovery. But two in a row easily turns into three, which turns into a week or two. It’s a slippery slope, soon you’ll realise you’ve taken all winter off, it’s summer again and you need to start from scratch.
Not this time. Stick with your healthy eating habits and a solid training routine now when the days are still dark and you’ll thank yourself when summer rolls around. Often the difference maker between a fit and an unfit person is the effort that goes in during the tough, unmotivated times. Here are some ideas on how to keep going through the end of winter
Cold weather nutrition tips
Aim for 8 serves of seasonal vegetables and fruits daily
In Sydney we are lucky to have an abundance of amazing fruits and vegetables in season throughout the year. But the changing season has to be one of the best times for any produce. Apples, pears, grapes, currants and citrus fruits are all at their best and ready to be “picked” at your local greengrocer. Same goes with mushrooms, pumpkin and cruciferous vegetables such as swiss chard, kale, broccoli and the like.
Try a new recipe or bring back some old favourites to eat your way through the delicious and nutrient-rich seasonal autumn vegetables and fruits. Aim for at least 8 serves per day to boost your health and immune system. For a full list of seasonal produce check out Sydney Markets website.
Get in a protein rich breakfast
Few things are better on a cool morning than a warm breakfast. Try a bowl of hot oatmeal with diced green apple, almonds and cinnamon. For extra protein mix in some vanilla protein powder.
Or if you are feeling adventurous (and sick of bacon and eggs) try this chickpea scramble breakfast bowl from here.
Be mindful when eating
Take at least one meal each day and turn off the digital distractions. In the cold months this might be more important than ever since cooler weather often means heavier meals and comfort foods.
When you zone in on the moment and eat slowly you are free to enjoy the rich stews and curries. By tuning in you are more likely to notice when you start feeling full so it’s easier to stop before overeating.
Boost your immune system
Like with any supplements there a dubious claim about certain supplements boosting the immune system. The best thing you can do for your health is to see a integrative doctor who specializes in preventative medicine. They can check your mineral and vitamin levels and prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements accordingly.
Seeing a specialist can reduce your odds of a flu and saves you from wasting money on supplements that are useless, or just not the right supplement for you. And if you are ever tempted to buy off-the-shelf immune boosting supplements make sure to first read through the unbiased supplement information on Examine.com
Cold weather training tips
Do longer warm ups
The purpose of a warm up is to bring the core temperature up and to open up the joints so you can perform at your best. In the cooler months it takes longer to prepare the body for an intense training session.
Do a full body movement-based warm up taking your body through the ranges of motion that you’ll be using in your session. Casual jog on a treadmill won’t be enough.
Get your training done first thing in the morning
As it’s starting to get dark early in the evening it can be tempting to skip a training session after a long day in the office. The best way to reduce the temptation for skipping a workout is to remove it all together by kicking off the day with a workout. Get out and moving before diving into the days work in the office.
Get outdoors for a run, sprint or cycle. Or go hiking with friends
Provided that the rain holds off, the end of winter is a great time to get outdoors. It’s not too hot, but not too cold either. Dust off your bike or tighten up the sneakers and head out for a casual cycle or a jog. In case you need to occasionally amp the intensity hit a set of stair sprints.
It is also one of the best times to explore the nature with a group of friends. You’ll get the exercise done while using the silence and the calming greenery for stress release. Not to mention that you get to bond with your buddies.
A practical idea for outdoor training is to wear layers that are easy to take-off as your body warms up.
In case of rain, have a back up plan
At these times in Sydney it can be extremely wet. If you are planning to do your training outdoors always have a backup, just in case the weather doesn’t hold up. This could be as easy as having your backpack ready for a gym or doing a bodyweight or stretch session at home while binging on Netflix.
You can follow ICON’s fitness expert, Jono Castanoacero on instagram @jonocastanoacero