Don’t we all know the feeling? Winter is quickly creeping up on us – the days are getting ‘shorter’, the sun rises much later, and before you know it it’s dark before you even leave the office in the early evening again – for most people, the last thing you want to do is crawl out of your comfy and warm bed at 5.30am in the morning or hit the gym after a long day in the office – we’re all guilty of having these feelings at one point in life – some struggle more than others, but if you get into a routine and feel the difference of your health there’s little that can stop you when you first get going!
Just remember; Winter is not an excuse to sit around on the couch and fill your body with quick take-away food because it’s cold and dark and you constantly crave something sweet – cook nutritious and healthy dishes like warm tagines, heartwarming soups and roasted root-vegetables that will help you keep your immune-system guards up in this colder time – embrace winter and all it’s got to offer.
Here’s how I stay motivated to train and stay healthy throughout winter:
- I get up every morning at 5.30am Monday – Friday to go to the gym. On the weekends I get up when my body wakes up and go for lighter exercise. I find it much easier to start the day with a proper workout that can prepare my body and mind mentally for a long day in the office. It’s also scientifically proven that you burn up to 20% more fat if you exercise first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast.
- I train 30% cardio and 70% weights. I always feel like eating more than what I have to when it’s cold outside – don’t we all? That’s why I minimize my cardio throughout winter as it only makes me even hungrier, and focus on free weights to train bigger muscle groups. More muscles = more fat- and calorie-burning when your body is in a rest-state.
- The way my body feels. When I have a bad day (we all have those sometimes) I always try to come up with excuses to why I shouldn’t train. Then I remind myself why exactly I should train and how good my body feels after a great training-set. Endorphines are flowing, I have calmness & a clear mind, my serotonin-level rises and the best of all? I feel like I can overcome almost everything!
- In Winter I mainly eat warm breakfasts. I focus on starting my day by eating low-GI grains as these will release glucose more slowly and steadily, which leads to more suitable post blood glucose levels and it will keep me going for most of the morning. A popular favorite of mine is my homemade Quinoa Porridge with Cinnamon, Warmed Berries, Roasted Almonds and a splash of Unsweetened Almond Milk.
- Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk. Instead of always meeting up for a meal, or a coffee I catch up with my girlfriends over a long walk, a boxing session or a weight session at the gym. The best part? You get to catch up, but you’re also active and can push each other to perform better. I would know – my girlfriend Nat always kicks my butt when I’m at the gym with her – so much I sometimes have trouble walking the following days.
- Drink yourself to a better digestion. Drinking tea is like getting a warm hug on the inside – and it’s good for you too! I go to T2 (teahouse) and get lots of varieties of different loose tea as often as I can. I have a tea for every different taste-bud I have (yes, that’s a lot!). I drink organic liquorice tea when I feel like something sweet, lemon & ginger tea to help my digestive system, green tea with vanilla beans for afternoon treats and Dandelion tea with honey to help detoxification; digestive, liver & kidney.
- Supplements & Vitamins are your friends. I especially up my supplements & vitamin-intake during winter. Anyone eyeing my desk in the office would think I’m addicted to vitamins as half my desk is full of these. Every day I take1 BodyScience Multivitamin Pill, 1 Shot of BodyScience Immufix, 2 Liver Detox Pills, 500mg of Fish Oil, 2 Zinc Tablets, 2 Magnesium Tablets and 2 Iron Tablets which helps me keep on top of everything – especially in stressed times!
- Be a Sun-Seeker. During the Winter-months it’s even more critical to get some much-needed fresh Vitamin-D from the sun-rays. I make sure to spend at least 30 minutes in the sun most days to keep my Vitamin-D levels up and to keep my bones and muscles strong and healthy as well as keeping my serotonin-levels up which is also known as the ‘Happy Hormone’.
- Eat the Rainbow. Have you ever heard that it is important to “eat a rainbow” of foods? I especially focus on this during Winter as it helps my body getting all the right nutrients without having to make a massive effort. Carotenoids, Potassium, Folate, Flavonoids, Beta-glucan, Calcium, Phosphorous, and Omega 3-, 6- and 9′s. Don’t know what these words mean? Don’t worry – trust me, they’re good for your body!
I hope you draw inspiration from my Winter-lifestyle to live healthy, nutritious and positive all throughout your winter. This I promise you; you will feel better for it, feel more positive and vibrant as well as being able to manage stress and problems when they come your way much easier.