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How to stay fit in the winter months

Winter may be dark, cold and wet, but don’t let the weather put a damper on your fitness.

The changing of the seasons brings with it an inevitable shift in our exercise routines. In this month’s guest blog, celebrity trainer Henry Barratt gives his top tips for exercising through the winter.


Get support

Some people are highly motivated and enjoy exercising on their own. But most of us need a support network in order to achieve our fitness goals, especially in winter. Find a fitness buddy to go to the gym with or a run through the park. Use a coach or a club to help keep you accountable and motivated. Sign up to some group classes at the start of the week. It helps to commit up front. You could also book a block of sessions with a personal trainer that you can spread out over the winter months to keep you on track. Choose one-to-one sessions for the best gains or you can often share the cost with some friends or work colleagues to create a small group session. Paying for these sessions in advance will motivate you to attend so you don’t lose your money.


Challenge yourself

Sign up to a challenging event in the spring or summer months that requires you to focus on creating and following a training regime throughout the winter. Alternatively, if events aren’t your thing, think of a sport, activity or goal that you would love to try. Snowboarding for the first time, water skiing, trekking up a mountain, learning a new skill like horse riding, entering a Sunday football league will all be challenging and exciting. Having some new goals or an event that you are working towards can be a great motivator.


Boost your nutrition

Alongside the general lifestyle shifts that come with new year resolutions, what we eat or need to eat also changes. Book a one-to-one nutritional assessment with a follow up session (a month later) to plan how best to navigate the winter months. Use these sessions to learn about the areas of your nutrition that you need to work on and how you can best support your body for optimum health.


Identify things that stand in your way

Have a think and write down any potential obstacles that may reduce your chances of achieving your fitness targets over the winter months. Examples of this may include a lack of motivation, money, the cold weather, darkness or a lack of sleep. For each of these obstacles, write down next to them a solution for how you would tackle them. If you can recognise the potential obstacles and have solutions in place for when they happen, you are far more likely to achieve consistency with working out and keeping in shape.


Make it fun

Choose exercises that you enjoy, it doesn’t have to be gym related. What sports did you enjoy as a child growing up? Netball, football or hockey? Find a local team and mix the fitness with the social. Find some form of movement you love, dancing classes for instance. Any movement is exercise, so make it personal to you. If you’re forcing yourself to go to something that you don’t enjoy, it won’t be sustainable and it is not worth going through the emotional and physical pain of it that will breed resentment.


Keep your mind on track

Have a reminder posted up on your desk or at home of what your goals are to keep your mind focused on the target. Our brains often hold us back when, physically, we are more capable than we give ourselves credit for. The body is unbelievably adaptable, we just need to keep the consistency of exercise and movement throughout the year and that includes winter – it will not only keep you on track for the year but also stop the yo-yoing of fitness and health.


About Henry:
Henry started his career as a professional rugby player, playing with Harlequins, London Wasps and England U21’s.
Since retiring from professional rugby due to injury in 2008, Henry has become one of London’s most experienced and knowledgeable trainers.
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