How to stay motivated during the winter season and through lockdown

Winter is a difficult time for anybody looking to stay in shape and train towards a certain goal. With this global pandemic, it’s even more important to have a routine and stay in a frame of mind that can help you stay healthy both physically but also mentally. More than ever, mental health has been highlighted as a growing concern.

We all know the challenges that winter has when it comes to training and working out. However, this has been amplified even more with the restrictions of no gym access and no access to swimming pools, no use of climbing walls and all indoor sporting events cancelled.

Here are some useful tips on how to stay motivated during the winter months. And even more so during lockdown.

Staying organised is vital

By focusing on positive things that we can control, such as our daily routine, this is a great way of helping us regain some type of normality, whatever that is, and a new routine. There are many runners, Tough Mudders, Spartans and OCR racers that have events postponed, just like everything else, until after the pandemic.

Training for an obstacle course race is a great way of staying or getting fit, however, with the goal posts changing, it’s easier to put the exercise off.

But now it’s more important to exercise more than ever to give yourself a release of endorphins that will help you feel happier, lift your mood and relieve stress.

Go offline and get outside

When you can, it’s best to go outside and get some fresh air. We all know this. During lockdown and many working from home, getting that needed endorphin release and vitamin D requirement is crucial.

In the summer months, it’s easy to go outside. It’s warm and nice. When the weather is good, we naturally spend more time outside. During the winter, we find that it’s the total opposite. On a sunny winter day, make the most of any opportunities to be outside and absorb some much-needed sunshine.

In winter, the days are shorter and with the colder nights, it’s natural to hibernate and snuggle on the sofa. But whenever you can, try getting outside – it’s a great way of avoiding cabin fever.

Be creative with your home workouts

Many of us have been using YouTube videos with the likes of Joe Wicks to help us stay healthy and active during the first lockdown. There are loads of yoga videos online and lots of exciting, personalised workouts. So, there’s lots of opportunity to mix things up and be creative. Yoga is good for flexibility and HIIT training is great to help burn extra calories fast.

You don’t need to have the most expensive equipment, such as kettle bells or dumbbells to do a workout.  With gym equipment, you can improvise!

Find some decent plastic containers with handles that can be filled with sand and these are a cheap alternative to weights.

Train with your heroes

For many in the bodybuilding world, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the “go-to” guy. Many people would love to train with Arnie or “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson. With the power of YouTube and a bit of imagination, you can put a video of Arnie or The Rock working out on your Smart TV.

You’re virtually inviting these heroes, and probably the best workout partners ever, into your living room as you exercise. Whoever your idol is whether it’s: Silvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Dam, a Marvel Comic Hero or whoever, have a look online as you’re sure to find some workout videos.

Tracking your steps

If you have a Fitbit or fitness watch, tracking your steps can be addictive. Every day get into the habit of wearing your watch. 10,000 steps is the recommended daily average. Roughly that’s around four to five miles.

Regardless of if you’re exercising or not, it’s best to wear your watch. You want to get a benchmark on the number of steps you do every week. So, you can look at improving your weekly record.

Even, if you’re working at home, you’ll surprised on the number of steps you make around the house.
Make it a habit to track daily because you can’t improve on what you don’t record.

Finally, winter is a tough time for everyone.  Don’t get discouraged if you fall short of your goals. Making the effort towards the results you seek is what counts.

When working towards a new routine, you must pat yourself on the back. There’s nothing harder than following a process – it’s simple a think about but harder to do.

James King has competed in multiple OCR events including Europe's Toughest Mudder from 2019 to 2022, multiple mud events, 10k runs and currently for his first marathon. James includes useful tips and experiences about OCR on his blog

James King has competed in multiple OCR events including Europe's Toughest Mudder from 2019 to 2022, multiple mud events, 10k runs and currently for his first marathon. James includes useful tips and experiences about OCR on his blog