For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere the days are short, the nights are long and the mercury is staying stubbornly low. The rush of New Year’s resolutioners has subsided and many have already fallen by the wayside. There is more space in the gym, but you might be finding that motivation is dwindling. Cold mornings just compound this dilemma…we have all been there; snuggled up under a perfectly warm blanket as you repeatedly snooze a very irritating alarm. Not all is lost though! As per the title of this article the hardest thing is getting out the door but there are some other tips that I have found useful in darker times.
I personally find that snoozing your alarm, or having a little sit down on a sofa before going to the gym is the equivalent of spending too long on the edge of a cliff (or diving board) contemplating whether to take the plunge. Hesitate for too long and it will just not happen. I find it beneficial to not give yourself the chance to hesitate. Admittedly this is much harder in the morning! If you train after work I would advise getting into the practice of arriving home, dumping your bags, getting changed and out the door. Preferably within 10 minutes. After all, the more you hesitate the later you will get back and the less ‘free time’ you will have after your workout. Trust me it is a tried and proven method, especially if your workout involves running outdoors in the cold. No hesitation allowed.
My personal number one rule. Life is too short. Sport is there to be enjoyed, so have fun. If you aren’t enjoying it, but still want to be active, then reassess what you are doing and make a change. I got tired of going to the gym and waiting for people to finish sets in order to use whatever machine or weights I was scheduled to use….so I decided to give yoga a go. Okay, so I am probably the worst yogi in Europe but I find it challenging and I enjoy it. So I do it. I also found that I wasn’t particularly enjoying swimming in a crowded 25m pool so I did some research, bought a wetsuit and now swim outdoors in a 50m pool. Much less crowded….much more enjoyable. Although the no hesitation rule is that much more important when jumping into cold water!
Get a Buddy
Some people like to train alone. That is their prerogative. However, getting a buddy to train with you will help to make those more monotonous sessions more interesting. We are social creatures so why not incorporate that into your training sessions? Joining a masters swimming class, yoga class or spin class can also aid with motivation (especially if you have paid for it!).
Finally, and this really harks back to the point about enjoying yourself. Remember that it is your choice to keep fit. Sessions can sometimes be tough and inevitably there will be moments when you are in quite a bit of discomfort. This is to be expected. The endorphins coursing through your veins at the end of a session far outway the pain. Sport is fun and enjoyable. So don’t let it get on top of you. Know that you will feel substantially better after a tough session than if you spent the hour sitting in your work clothes feeling sorry for yourself on the sofa.
A little extract from the mind of Dan Millington, an amateur triathlete and wannabe personal trainer at Be A Better You.