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6 simple tips to start or maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle

First of all, do you really need to worry about the so-called summer/winter body? The answer is NO, how about an ok body that is fit and healthy all year round! If you have got a plan or an event such as a holiday coming up well now is the time to get started. One of the most annoying fitness quotes is:

“A summer body is made in the winter”

But there is a lot of truth to it, plus working out and eating healthily will also boost the immune system (a big bonus in the UK).

The cold, dark, miserable mornings, leaving for work in the dark and returning from work in the dark do not lead to a great workout ethic. When the weather is bad, it is without doubt more difficult keep on track with your nutrition and training.

So here are 5 tips to help you start or maintain your healthy lifestyle / fitness routine throughout the winter.

1. Have a plan and a back-up plan – within our lives we make plans daily, set up meetings and organise events with other people, so let’s try to make time and plans for ourselves! Get out that calendar or diary and book yourself in for whatever session it is and prioritise yourself, make it your routine! After all, if you don’t look after yourself, how can you expect to look after anyone else? (message to you mums out there). Prioritise your workouts and set realistic goals. Like with all plans, have a back-up plan to fight the excuses that will inevitably come out when it’s cold and miserable. If you are a bit short on time for your normal workout, choose a workout that impact your entire body, not just certain parts.

2. Be prepared – as long as you have prepared for whatever sport you do, there is no such thing as bad weather! Investing in thermals or waterproof jackets etc. will make you less likely to skip a run day. If it’s just too much for you, train indoors. All you need is the space to lie flat on the floor (press-ups/sit-ups), room to do jumping jacks/burpees (we all love burpees!) You can put together a small circuit or HIIT session easily. Simply use your bodyweight as resistance; there are many bodyweight exercises you can do.

3. Don’t go it alone – having some company whilst working out not only creates distraction from the weather and time of year, it also gives you some accountability and added pressure to get out of bed or get off the sofa. Also, several studies have shown that if you work out with a friend or partner, you will on average work out for longer. Add to that a little competition - you are also more likely to workout harder. Don’t allow yourself to get bored, it adds to your excuse bank! Change up the exercises, change the type of exercises; if you run, try some resistance or swimming for example. An all over fitness is the desired goal, there is no point being able to lift a house if you can’t run around it without have a heart attack!

4. Cheat meals are not cheat days – I tend to promote an 80% rule, which is try to eat healthily for 80% of the time. The reality is most people see eating as a pastime or an occasion, it is not! Most of the time it is just fuel so treat it as such, eat healthily for the most part and treat yourself every now and then. Ask yourself, is this an occasion, do I need to eat something special (naughty)? The body is a machine and it requires fuel just like a car - would you put diesel in a petrol car?

5. Drink MORE water and get MORE sleep – drink at least 2 litres of water a day (more if you are working out regularly - remember some comes from food and other drinks). Possibly the most overlooked aspect to wellbeing, both mentally and physically is rest or sleep. These days, we all have busy work or social lives, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. We forget just how important a good healthy sleep pattern can be. Try to ensure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Not enough sleep has been proven to increase stress and cause weight gain.

6. Lastly if you struggle with what and how much to eat, a great starting point is the Eatwell Guide. The Eatwell Guide was designed to show you how much of what you eat should come from each food group.

Follow these 6 simple tips to start or maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. Make them a habit because habits are hard to break... The time is now!

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