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Winter Training - How to stay motivated and keep training

Watch Episode 15 here 👇


If you would prefer to read a text version of Arron's latest vlog - check out the video transcript below 👇

Amy Williams:

Hi everyone it's Amy Williams here for the U Perform channel. And today we have Arron, our fitness expert. He is going to be helping us get through winter training. So how do we get out there when it's blowing and it's cold and we want to keep fit, but we really can't be bothered because it's too miserable outside. You've got some tips for us.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

It's not just miserable getting outside and training. It's miserable just walking from your car to the gym isn't it? I can't be bothered to get out. It's dark. It's 6:00 PM. I've got no motivations, but there's lots of little things you can do to keep yourself motivated.

One of the best ways is to find a friend to do it with, or find a community to do it with. Right. But dragging someone else out there with you or to the gym with you means often you're more likely than not going to kind of cancel it last minute. You're going to go in and make sure you get there. Because you don't want to let someone else down. And in the winter when the days are shorter, you know, it's a bit miserable in the evenings. You don't really want to go out and socialise.

So it's really great to make sure you also get that social side to your day. So by combining that with your fitness, it's going to keep you motivated hopefully to keep going. And even when you go to a fitness class, if you haven't turned up for that 6:00 AM class you're normally at; a couple of the people in the class are going to notice you're not there. You might get another text message saying, Oh, where are you this morning? We all got up and they're going to feel quite smug about themselves. And you think, well, I'm not going to let them get the better of me. I'm going to be there tomorrow. I'm going to make sure I show up and it just keeps you keeps you pushing it a little bit more, doesn't it?

Amy Williams:

Yeah. And I think you always know how good you feel after a session. Maybe have to write down how good you feel after a session. You never regret it. You never regret that training session, even though you might not want to do it. Because those endorphins are flowing. And you're like, yeah, high five me, I did it.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. We need those endorphins more than ever in the winter. Right? We need anything to give us a bit of an energy boost when we're missing that vitamin D, we're missing that high energy of the summer. Any of those lists of things that can uplift us is going to be really great.

Amy Williams:

Now if we're heading out the door, 6:00 PM, it's raining, it's dark, it's cold. How can we help ourselves go out and do that jog?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Whatever the weather, you can have the right training gear for it, right? I mean, if it's miserable when you're going out running, make sure you wear something safe, make sure you got your high vis on, make sure you're running in safe routes that are kind of well-lit or not too slippery. You know, when it's a bit wet and muddy, I don't want you falling over and hurting yourself and being isolated. So again, maybe being with someone else will really help with that as well.

So obviously making sure you put the right training is really, really important. So as it's dark, that 6:00 PM run, we need to make sure we've got the right training gear, which is our high vis jacket. Maybe some sticky high vis labels to put on some of our clothing, anything that's going to make sure that we're visible and safe on the road.

Choosing the right routes to running is really important as well. You know, don't go through some scary woods where it's slippery, it's muddy and it's dark because if you fall over there, it's very unlikely that anyone's going to stumble across you. And if you are going those routes, take a friend with you, make sure you're staying safe.

And that you've got someone there that can, again, help keep you motivated, but make sure you're safe. And you know, if it's raining, just get a waterproof jacket on, right? We can go out in any weather. It's just us being a bit wimpy. But once you're out there, once you're out in the elements, it's so rewarding, you're going to feel loads better. So a baseball cap to keep the rain off your face, wooly hat if it's really cold. You have gloves, all the basics. We know what to do. Just don't let that be an excuse, get your kit out and get it ready.

Amy Williams:

Definitely the baseball cap. That is definitely a tip that I found for myself just to have it when you can just tip your head down and that rain isn't going straight in your eyes. It definitely works. That helps for me.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. And so for some other tips. We've got to think about nutrition. You know, if we've come off a period of Christmas, maybe we've had a bit of time out. We've probably been eating stuff that's not the best for us. And we've probably been a bit lazy about what we've been eating because there've been leftovers of this around.

There's been some mince pies hanging around. And so we've got to make sure that we've got the right food and the right go-to foods in our cupboards. So we've got to clear out the rubbish, get rid of those unhealthy things that we know we're likely to turn to when we haven't got the right things ready for us. And when you get home from work at 6:00 PM, it's dark, it's a bit cold. Maybe it's raining. The last thing you want to do is go to the shops if you haven't already been.

So what do you find yourself doing on the phone? Where's the takeaway? The motivation is really low and inevitably you just choose the thing that's going to give you comfort because it's a bit miserable and cold out. If you just have some basics in your fridge and your freezer and cupboards all the time, then when you haven't got any inspiration, you don't have to overthink it. Maybe have some stir fry, pre-chopped vegetables in your freezer, a piece of fish, some of the really basic stuff that you can just throw in a wok, or you can put in the steamer and you know, it'll be ready in 15, 20 minutes with real little hassle and real little effort from you. And you know, you're going to be eating the right food and you have to stay healthy through that.

There's some really great ready meal companies out there that you can grab, just have some of those in your freezer that you always have ready to go. So you just make that bit more of a sensible decision on those days when it easily turn the other way.

So we're talking about nutrition. We should also talk about hydration because at any time of the year, that's really important. But I find a lot of my clients in winter tend to not drink as much water as they do in summer. I don't know what it is. There's a few factors.

Amy Williams:

It's the cold. If you're always a cold person like me, you don't want to drink cold water. I think it is that honing in on the kettle. Homing in on those hot drinks.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. That comfort of the tea, the coffee. But you know, those are diuretics. We do obviously need to take a bit more water in if we're drinking those a lot. And if we tend to snuggle up, we tend to wear quite a lot of layers, which obviously people can be sweating under without really realising. They just want to stay really nice and warm so we can tend to lose a lot of water in the winter time. So staying hydrated is key. So plenty of water obviously, but go for those herbal teas. So the mint tea, the berry teas like that. If you want to have that hot drink to keep yourself nice and warm throughout the winter months.

Amy Williams:

Lay down on the hot chocolates.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Ideally yes.

Preparation then that's quite a big key as well. And I think always if you're planned and prepared for the next session or the next morning, that definitely helps you stick to those goals and stick to the session.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. It's just staying ahead of yourself. Isn't it. We talked about that with food and moments ago, we said get those meals in the cupboard, but it's the same. If we know that you're getting up with your training session in the morning, prepare your clothing, put it on the side, ready to go. You don't have to think about it. You're actually halfway to getting out the door at that point.

Like you say you wake up and you think right - I don't have to wake up that little bit earlier. I've got an extra five minutes rather than rushing around, grabbing all those bits and putting it together. Get your flask on the side with your coffee. If that's what you need in the morning, prepare a little snack for the post run. So it was all done for you. Then you've only just got to get out of bed. It's half the job, isn't it really?

Amy Williams:

Yeah. I do think that really helps. I definitely lay out everything. What pair of leggings, what top, you know, if I've got an early morning session, I'm always prepared. Maybe it's that kind of geeky, old athlete in me, but it definitely helps. And I do think it's one less thing to think or worry. You don't have to set that alarm, you know, five minutes extra in bed or every little bit helps isn't it?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. And I think that's a really important thing in the winter. We've got to get more sleep. That's the time when we naturally hibernate more, that's what we do. That's nature. Right? So in the winter, as soon as it gets dark, you know, go back and a couple hundred years before we had lighting and fires and stuff like that, we would have just gone to bed wouldn't we. That's what we would have done. And then we would wake up when the sun rises.

So we've got to go back to that in a bit in winter. This is a time to recover and repair, to go into ourselves a little bit and build up some energy ready for the summer. So going to bed a little bit earlier and then hopefully that will wake you up a bit more naturally in the morning. So you're not so tired, which will give you the energy to get up and go and do things in the daytime.

There's nothing worse than having a late night knowing you've got to get up at whatever time in the morning to do the training. The likelihood is you're not going to want to do it. And a lot of the time for a lot of people, if you're not strong in the mind, you might just go, Oh, can't be bothered today.

So going to bed earlier, you know, there's some great sleeping advice out there which I'll give, which is kind of get rid of those phones before bedtime, get rid of that distraction. Try not to have any caffeine past lunchtime, really. Caffeine can stay in your system for quite a long time. Even if you think you're someone has got quite a high tolerance to it because it doesn't affect you at the time, you don't really know how that's affecting your sleep patterns later on. And it could be that it's, you might be sleeping. Okay? But your, the depth of your sleep isn't as good as it should be because of that.

So your screen time - lose the devices. A lot of people need to kind of get their phones out of the bedroom. Use an alarm clock because the temptation, just to reach for your phone before bed, check those last minute messages, then your brain is thinking about, Oh God, what I'm going to do later? What have I got to do tomorrow. You're already stressing yourself out. And that's where you're going to affect your sleep quality and sleep depth.

Recover and repair throughout the winter is a really important part of the season.

Amy Williams:

Some amazing points there Arron. Now is there just one more tip, one more tip that you can give us?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

I think just be realistic about your goals and realistic about what can be achieved in the winter. If it's really miserable out there, if it's snowy and icy, it's not safe to go out for that run. You're certainly not going to go on a bike ride.

So be realistic about what goes on there and just say, right, okay. Some days you can't do it some days it's not achievable some days if it's raining pretty heavily and you can just get out for 20 minutes, 20 minutes is enough. You don't have to get that hour, hour and a half in.

Just be kind to yourself and then eventually you'll get to where you need to go. If you start punishing yourself, you can go into those downward spirals and start to feel quite negative about the process. Just stay positive about all those little things that you can do along the way.

Amy Williams:

Perfect. Another fantastic episode by Arron. Next week then what can we expect from you next week? What tips are you going to give us?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

So next week we are talking about mindfulness and meditation and ways that you can do it and also ways that you can simply integrate it into your day.

Amy Williams:

I like the sound of that. Well, thank you very much for watching today. Please hit that bell, subscribe, share with your friends and family, and we will see you then!

Make sure to tune in next Tuesday for Episode 16

See you then!

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