Tired, lacking motivation and hungry? Hello winter!

Feeling tired? CBA? Craving carbs? Eating more than usual? You’re probably not alone!

Once the warm weather and long days have disappeared, it’s fairly common to experience a drop in motivation when it comes to fitness and aesthetics. 

There seems to be a number of potential reasons for this. 

1: End of holiday season

Holiday season is over so that pressing sense of urgency, often driven by the nagging fear of get our bodies and wanting to feel comfortable / not wanting to feel self-conscious, has gone. 

We all know that a deadline provides a great kick up the bum so once the holiday deadline has gone that sense of urgency also dies down.  

2: Change of daily habits

Related to the point above, with the downturn in weather and the onset of darker evenings, we spend less time outside in revealing clothing. 

It’s a lot easier to say, “Sod it I will have the crisps”, if you know you will be lying on the sofa with the heating on wrapped up in your onesie! 

3: Winding down for winter

I was always sceptical about SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and just thought of it as something that people used as an excuse to be lazy. However I recall an interesting conversation with a GP, who suggested that nature “closes down” for the winter, so why should the human animal be any different?

Historically, humans and other animals prepared for winter by increasing the amount of body fat they carried (by eating more) and reducing activity levels or even hibernating.

Human life has, however, changed significantly over the last few thousand years. In the western world, a constant supply of food and adequate shelter means that we can pretty much continue with life throughout every season of the year. In fact, civilisation has outpaced evolution to such an extent that we now have to fight our natural, evolutionary instincts in order to stay slim and keep active.

Six tips to keep in shape over the winter

If you are craving more calories (especially carbs) than usual and are struggling with tiredness since the equinox and the change in weather, here are some tips to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

1: Don’t think of health and fitness as all or nothing or just something that you do in the summer and then don’t bother with for the rest of the year.

Similarly, try not to think of it as a means to an end or a quick fix. No point just working out for a few months each year to feel good on the beach and then letting it all go to pot over the winter.  Sure, there is a time to surf and a time to wax your board, but think of it as undulating levels of intensity, as opposed to a binary on/off approach.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – there are various levels of in-between!

2: Don’t try to fight nature but don’t give into unnecessary indulgence. A low-calorie chocolate drink or a bowl of low GI carbs, such as oats, is a great way to boost your energy and mindset without ruining your progress.

3: Find ways to get more natural light during the day. Fully open blinds, go for short walks, find all-weather outdoor activities to do on a weekend, or even try to increase the amount of synthetic light that you’re exposed to, just so you’re in a brighter environment.

4: Start the day with a cup of strong coffee. Caffeine helps to boost the cortisol hormone, which will increase alertness and generally wake you up.

5: Embrace the seasons. Everybody loves a cosy night on the sofa with some good food. Plan ahead and try to make this part of your lifestyle at this time of year. Get your training in earlier in the day if you can and then enjoy the dark evenings knowing you have already trained.

6: If your finances will run to it, try to book a short break midway through the autumn or winter season. Even if it’s just a few days somewhere warm and sunny. It doesn’t have to be extravagant; there are plenty of cheap deals around after September.  Even a day away at a spa just relaxing can help to refocus and reinvigorate you.

 

Dan Sroda

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