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How To Keep Your Fitness On Track This Winter

Even when you would prefer to stay in bed.

10/05/2016 2:30 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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Feel the brrrr.

We've all been there. The alarm goes off, it's still dark outside and you swear your bed has never been cosier.

So what do you do? Rip off the doona and put on your running gear? Or do you hit snooze and vow to double your workout tomorrow?

Staying motivated during the colder (and darker) months is always a challenge, not to mention the fact there isn't the added pressure of having to hit the beach any time soon.

So how can you keep your fitness on track when it seems like everyone else is in hibernation?

"It's weird, but instead of hibernating in winter I think of it as a three-month challenge," certified health coach and blogger Lee Sutherland told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Rather than bingeing on Netflix the whole time, I tend to use winter as a time to focus on short, high-impact sessions so I can get the job done quickly, because it is cold and you will be wanting some couch time."

Always have a goal. If you don't have one, find one. We all know we are meant to exercise daily, but really, everybody needs a carrot dangling in front of them.

Sutherland says tabata training is a perfect example of the kind of workout you may want to investigate in colder months.

"The basic principle is for 20 seconds, you go as hard and fast as you can, then you can rest for ten," Sutherland said. "Depending on how many sets you do -- and a round is four minutes -- so say you do four different rounds, you can have it done in 16 minutes.

"It's really hard but it's over and done with so quickly you can get back inside and warm up. Turning up the intensity gets better results, anyway."

Sutherland also emphasises the importance of planning when it comes to winter fitness (as, let's be real, it's unlikely you are going to go for a spontaneous run along the beach if it's windy and freezing).

"Planning is essential. Give yourself a time frame -- say the three months of winter or even an eight-week challenge at the gym -- and stick to it," Sutherland said. "Having an end date really helps with mental blocks."

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Set yourself a winter challenge. Like running in a hoodie.

If your plans still aren't quite enough to get you out of bed in the morning, Sutherland suggests setting yourself a goal. (In fact, you should probably do this anyway.)

"Always have a goal. If you don't have one, find one," Sutherland told HuffPost Australia. "We all know we are meant to exercise daily, but really, everyone needs a carrot dangling in front of them.

"It's up to you to decide what that goal looks like. Maybe book a holiday somewhere warm so you have bikinis in the back of your mind, or commit to participating in a particular event.

"Deciding to compete in City2Surf, for example, is an awesome way to stay focused.

"You want to be setting yourself achievable things, like being able to run for three kilometres non-stop in a certain amount of days. Whether it's distance, body fat percentage or kilograms, set a specific goal in mind and think about why you want to do it."

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RISE AND SHINE IT'S EXERCISE TIME!

As for getting up on those wintry mornings, Sutherland has a foolproof method guaranteed to get you moving.

"Make sure your alarm goes off in another room," she said. "That way you have to get up to turn it off.

"Otherwise, if it's by your bed, you're going to think 'stuff this, this is awesome, I'm warm, I'll do it tomorrow.' But if you are forced to physically get out of bed to go and turn it off... well, once you're up, you're up.

"If you're out of bed with both feet on the ground, then you're halfway there.

"Alternatively, make sure you are meeting someone else, whether that's a personal trainer or a friend. You're more likely to get up and go for it if there is someone actually waiting for you. You don't want to bail on them.

"But seriously, try the alarm-in-the-other-room trick. It works every time."

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