Karl Henry: How to stay focused for winter training
Karl Henry has some great suggestions on how to keep focused, and motivated, to continue training through the winter months.
Q. I was just wondering if you had any tips for staying focused and warm when training through winter?
Karl says: Great question for this time of year, it's just starting to get cold! Here are my top tips to help you get through the winter:
Get some base layers
Base layers are one of the key factors to winter training. They are ultra warm yet not bulky, tight lycra-based clothing that will warm you up, no matter how cold it is. Two years ago, with the bad snow, I was still training in temperatures of minus 10 with just a base layer on, they are that warm.
You can be sure it's going to rain when you are planning on training, so you need to get a good quality rain jacket, preferably one that is illuminous yellow, so that you can be seen.
Remember, it is going to be dark and if you don't ensure you can be seen, it makes things very dangerous for other road users.
Pick an event
Just like any other time of year, during January and all the winter months you should continue to pick events or classes to go to.
Whether it's a 5k run or a zumba class, it doesn't matter, as these goals will keep you training and healthy. It gives you something to train for, something to motivate you to go outside when the couch looks so inviting.
Don't forget gloves/hat
In most sports shops now, you will find gloves/hats that are specifically made for runners, cyclists and those who exercise. By getting yourself a good pair, you will be far more comfortable when you exercise.
If there is a bitter wind, you will want to be wrapped up as best as possible. So much of the heat in your body goes out through your head that a good hat will keep you toasty.
Get your friends involved
Why not get a group of friends together once or twice a week to walk, run or train? You could have a competition to see who exercises the most or loses the most weight with a small prize at the end of the month.
Weigh yourself once a week
Another key tool to avoid large increases in weight. By weighing yourself once a week, on a year-round basis, you will never allow yourself to put up large amounts of weight as you will always catch it in time before it becomes a problem.
Q. I am a little overweight, mainly around my stomach area. Should I be concerned about this?
Karl says: Irish people hold most of their weight around the belly button and stomach area, that classic apple shape, and while you might be generally slim, you will develop a pouch or gather weight in your stomach area.
This is an issue as we know that weight around the mid-section is generally regarded as the most dangerous type of fat. It's called visceral fat and is a problem as it surrounds the organs.
There are also links between fat in that area and cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders too. So that's the bad news. The good news is that by working hard, you can make a big difference to your body shape. Though you can't target one specific body area, you need to work the body as a whole and every different part of it.
Your body will burn fat as fuel once you're working hard enough so ensure that you are always slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation.
You should have a programme that works the aerobic system and then also resistance training such as body weight exercises and weights. This type of training combined with a healthy balanced diet will make all the difference to your stomach, your health and your mind too.
Ideally, you should be working towards getting your waist down to below 40 inches and ideally in the mid-30s, this would be regarded as a healthy weight!