14 Tips For Powering Through Winter With Fitness On Toast
Set with such good intentions the night before… your alarm goes off at 6am. A single finger tap buys you 9 more minutes of precious sleep, and another, and another…
London-based fitness blogger Faya Nilsson is an expert at rising early but, she assures us, it doesn’t happen by accident! The Swede’s award winning blog, Fitness on Toast, is a reflection of just how passionate and dedicated Faya is to looking after her physical and mental health – even if it means getting up before the sun.
The best time of day to workout is the time that suits you. Motivation is the key! So, we asked Faya to share her top tips on dressing right for winter and some advice on staying focused on fitness during the colder months.
DRESSING RIGHT FOR WINTER
1. LAYER IT ON: With the changeable and generally inhospitable British weather, the best way forward is layering. It’s a classic Swedish tundra survival tip! A base thermal under-layer is the core foundation for me during winter, and then I build on top. Closest to the skin should be a sweat-wicking layer, something synthetic; that helps avoid suffering the cold from the wetness of your sweat. However, it shouldn’t render your fabrics un-breathable, so look for that crucial breathability.
2. STAY WATERPROOF: To my mind, the outermost layer should always be waterproof during the months of winter – just in case! If you can achieve waterproofing which is also light and breathable with a strong hood, that’s ideal! Avoid stop and start exercises as the body’s more likely to suffer from the cold. Also make sure to warm up; if the muscles are tight you’re more likely to suffer injury!
3. STAY VISIBLE: Reflective technology – formerly the stuff of overprotective 80’s safety adverts. But luckily these days, they’re integrated seamlessly into edgy designs which look super cool, and guarantee the cars will spot you tearing up the road ahead of them!
4. KEEP WARM: Heat is radiated through the head, hands and feet, so wrap these areas up especially well! A good hat is a must, to my mind, and should entirely cover the ears, whilst building in waterproofing and heat-trapping technology. Thick socks within a half-size larger pair of winter trainers (with their own more rugged ‘trail’ treads) will allow for more room. I like to wear a pair of waterproof gloves with a soft, cosy lining inside but always bring an extra pair just in case! Finally a fleecy scarf to cover the neck and (also possibly your mouth when the air is super-cold, as panting litres of chilled air seriously pains the chest!) and you’re all set!
MOTIVATION FOR TRAINING RIGHT IN WINTER
5. SHARING IS CARING: Sweat with a friend – this introduces a mild dash of competition, and ensures mutual commitment to the training effort!6. IMPROVISE: If you can’t access a gym, be inventive – chairs, stairs, floors, branches are all good alternatives for body-weight work, especially outdoors during the cold – you’ll have to workout harder to keep the body temperature up!7. POWER UP: Power walk as often as you can – it’s all good calorie-burn!
8. THE CHALLENGE: Set yourself weekly targets! 10 full pushups everyday, then the following week, 20/day. Then 30. Smashing challenges keeps you on track.
9. KEEP THEM GUESSING: Muscles burn more calories when challenged with and confused by something they’re not used to. Shock the dull routine!
10. SWIG IT: It’s vital to stay hydrated for you to maintain optimal performance. Drink plenty, regularly to stay in peak condition.
11. SLEEP IT OFF: Find a routine and aim for at least 7 hours of restorative sleep. It’s the best place for recovery.
12. MAXIMISE: It’s ‘all or nothing’, and it’s ‘as often as possible’. The words ‘intensity’ and ‘frequency’ are key companions for your winter sessions.
13. STRETCH OUT: This makes such a difference mentally and physically. It aids recovery and balance, whilst releasing built-up tension and stiffness.
14. GO VIRAL: Follow health and fitness blogs and Facebook groups for added motivation! There are so many people who can drive you on, right through to holiday season!