6 ways to keep fit this winter
The end of sunny weather means the end of exposed arms and legs, the introduction of comfort food and the joys of hiding any extra winter weight under layers.
Coming into winter might mean the end of shaving your legs for the foreseeable future, but this year, we're determined not to gain too much weight all because it's raining outside.
We spoke to Neal Dempsey, Owner and Head Coach at ABS Solution Fitness, to get some tips on beating the bloat before it hits.
1. Wake up early.
Waking up when it's dark out is depressing, yes, but it's also the best time of day to force yourself into a workout.
"I try and train clients early in the morning so that they kick off their day on a positive note but also to help them avoid the urge to fall into the couch after a long day at work while it’s cold and wet outside. Training in the morning there is less mental exhaustion. The tiredness helps you make and justify excuses to skip training in the event. "
2. Don't be afraid of DIY.
"I am a massive fan of exercise and whether that is in a gym or in your home, once you’re working out that’s the main thing. Home workouts, if correctly devised, can give you just as much of a workout that you would get in the gym - you would be surprised at how much of a sweat you can get going at home using bodyweight and minimal equipment," he explains.
"Exercises such as squat variations, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, high knees, plank variations and pushups to mention but a few are all excellent exercises that will get the blood flowing and the heart rate elevated.
"Something as simple as teaming three or four of these different movements and performing each of them back to back for a set time is ideal for people stuck for time and sapce."
3. Get real with rewards.
How do we rewire our brains from thinking we "deserve" a certain meal? "I use this phrase with clients a lot, 'Don’t reward yourself with food, you're not a dog.' We. as a nation love to reward ourselves with treats etc. I'm not a food dictator, but if you can make sure that at least 80% of your food comes from natural whole foods then your "need" for that treat will greatly diminish.
4. Stay hydrated.
This one seems obvious, but you can never hammer home the point enough.
"Hydration is very important as well as nutrition from food," Neal explains. "Making sure you are fully hydrated means you eliminate the want or need to crave sugary or simple carb snacks.
"I am a big fan of the Innocent Coconut Water in particular as it is a pure coconut water with no additives or sugars like a number of others brands out there so for me it’s a great choice. "
5. Exercise is about more than your weight.
"If your body and mind are healthy then the physicality or composition of your body make up will look after itself. Exercise isn’t just about looking good physically it’s about feeling great, healthy and focused. There are so many more benefits that you get from exercise that are more motivating reasons to keep healthy during winter than what’s under your clothes," Neal says.
"Coming into winter is no excuse to go binge eating. There is so much stuff thrown at us these days on what celeb diets are on trend, or the latest in skinny teas etc. There is a lot of information to take in.
"At the end of the day when the clothes come off when you go to bed, and if you are unhappy with what you see in the mirror then its you and only you that has to make the step to change it."
6. Get a gym buddy.
"Training should be something that you look forward to doing as opposed to dreading. If you can find something that you enjoy doing that helps your fitness and health, then do that or find a gym buddy to keep you motivated. The more enjoyment you get out of it the easier it will be to keep it going throughout the winter months."
7. Get creative in the cold.
Outdoor jogs might only be for the hardcore, but there are plenty of indoor options to keep you on top of your fitness.
"There are plenty of choices coming into the winter, pilates and yoga to keep you mobile and increase blood flow and improve cardiac health not to mention the benefits for your core from pilates. It doesn't all need to be gym based. Think outside the box, indoor climbing, zip lining in Tibradden woods, Skill Zone in finglas are all excellent activities to do that will keep the heart working and benefit your health."
Neal Dempsey is the owner of ABS Solution Fitness and and an ambassador for Innocent Coconut Water