Shorter days and cold weather can make it so much easier to press snooze in the mornings and stay warm under the covers. If you do manage to make it to the gym, it can be tempting to ease up on your work out in favour of that second coffee. However, winter is actually the best time to create the muscle you want to show off in summer. We asked Swisse Naturopath and Personal Trainer Deanna Mascioli for a few simple tricks to help keep you motivated throughout the hot chocolate season so you’re ready for the boardies season.
1) Create a routine
In order to break the winter blues, you need to establish a structured routine and stick with it, says Deanna. “It’s that easy. Routine helps you break old habits and remain persistent with new ones. When I first started training, I always found ‘things came up’ - ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I’m too tired now’, so I took the time to set a routine.” Try dedicating certain days to train, recover and meal preparation to help maintain consistency and balance in your lifestyle.
2) Lift heavier weights
Lifting heavier weights during winter can develop strength and build muscle due to the increased load placed on muscle fibers. This forces them to work harder and develop strength over time. According to Deanna, lifting weights also stimulates lipolysis (fat breakdown) and increases the body’s metabolism (BMR) even after training is finished. This increases the number of overall calories burned. She recommends a combination of lower reps and heavier weights.
3) Add HIIT to your routine
High intensity interval training is a cardio strategy which alternates intense bursts (maximum intensity) of anaerobic exercises combined with low intensity periods, and is completed on a repetition basis. HIIT training sessions work on cardiovascular fitness, aerobic endurance and metabolic effects, particularly relating to glucose metabolism. “There are many variations of interval training,” explains Deanna, “but Tabata would have to take the cake for me. Literally four minutes of work and you’ll get your sweat on.” She suggests just 20 seconds’ work at maximum effort and 10 seconds’ rest, repeated eight times through.
4) Work with compound exercises
Compound exercises are those movements that involve more than one muscle group. They target a larger range of muscle groups and maintain muscular balance and proportion. “Compound movements are squats, deadlifts, bent over rows…” says Deanna. “If the exercises use more than one group of joints, then it’s likely to be a compound movement. For example, squats involve the hip joints, knee joints and ankles (slightly).” Deanna uses compound exercises to work multiple muscles and muscle balance at the same time.
5) Invest in the right active wear
Making sure you’re prepared for wet weather, cooler temperatures and longer recovery times is essential. The right performance gear can transform a workout. “Whether you’re training once a week or five times a week, investing in a good quality pair of compression tights such as 2XU, Skins or Team Jaggad can help with muscle recovery,” explains Deanna. “There are so many brands and materials to choose from these days, you just need one that fits with your workout (and your budget!).”
Deanna’s go-to winter workout:
“Start by planning the week or even month ahead using a journal or diary. I’ll admit my training schedule is fairly crazy but a workout I recommend is:
Monday – HIIT training
Tuesday – Strength training
Wednesday – HIIT training
Thursday – Boxing
Friday – Functional Training
Saturday – Recovery (walking)
Sunday – Recovery and meal preparations for the week
I’ll also change it up once a month so I can’t use boredom as an excuse. Oh and in my books, there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’”