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05/05/2017 7:25 AM AEST | Updated 05/05/2017 7:25 AM AEST

How To Plan A Winter Fitness Regime That You'll Actually Keep

Chilly mornings can work in your favour, we swear.

If you haven't noticed, it's getting nippy out.

While the autumn chill -- that will seamlessly become winter soon enough -- is refreshing for some, it isn't always great news for your fitness regime.

Winter mornings are chilly mornings, which equal curling up in your doona and never seeing that *ghastly-gym* light of day. Not leg day. Or arm day. Or any kind of day, really.

Exercising in winter will become a habit one way or another -- of doing it, or not doing it. Ben Lucas

Maintaining some remnant of motivation -- or discipline -- during the winter months is haaaard. According to Ben Lucas, former NRL player and founder of Flow Athletic, this comes down to two things: habit and delay.

"Exercising in winter will become a habit one way or another -- of doing it, or not doing it," Lucas told Huffpost Australia.

"People delay it. It's as simple as that. You'll have one cold morning, and then something will come up that afternoon. One day becomes two and before you know it, a week has gone by and you haven't got out there."

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Runners, tights, sunnies aaaaand hooded jacket? It's all a bit much.

So how can we get out there? A few simple tips -- also useful during any time of the year -- can do wonders when that temperature strikes a ghastly 15 degrees.

Invest in some appropriate gear.

We are more likely to be motivated when we have new gear. That's just how it is, said Lucas.

"Buy some new training gear to inspire you, and if it is more suited to the colder conditions, there is more chance of you getting out there," Lucas said.

"My aim here is to minimise excuses and take away the resistance to training. This can be a simple fix."

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Not a boxer? Winter could be the time to change that.

Plan, plan, plan.

This is a big one, and will ensure that you don't let your alarm ring out when 6am comes around.

In the short term, Lucas recommends making appointments.

"This may be seeing a trainer, or these days, booking into a gym class ahead of time. Rather than just going to the gym yourself, you'll be in a different mindset," Lucas said.

"On a Sunday morning, when I'm planning my week ahead, I put my training in there as I do with any other meetings during the week."

Big goals will keep you motivated and disciplined on those cold mornings. The time to set these is now.Ben Lucas

Winter is also an ideal time to set some long term fitness goals, like the City2Surf.

"Big goals will keep you motivated and disciplined on those cold mornings. The time to set these is now, as these events are in August or September and you'll need to train through winter to be ready for them," Lucas said.

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Keep your mate accountable.

Change up your routine.

While we're on planning, Kim Beach, personal trainer and author of Beach Fit, recommends changing up your training to keep things new and exciting.

"Try a class you haven't done before such as yoga or boxing, and commit to it for the next eight weeks or so," Beach told Huffpost Australia.

Make a few of your sessions throughout the week home-based so you don't have to go out in the cold!Kim Beach

If you're a gym person, a quick session can be just as useful in winter.

"HIIT sessions are a great style of session to add into your week. They are quick, intense and also highly beneficial when it comes to burning fat," Beach said. "All it takes is 20 to 30 minutes of skipping or a circuit, both of which can be done at home, or some intervals on the bike, treadmill or rower,"

Did we hear home session? Aka not having to leave the house?

"Make a few of your sessions throughout the week home-based so you don't have to go out in the cold!"

With all this being said, Beach said maximising the benefits of your training in winter should focus on weight training.

"Make this a priority over your other sessions. That way, even if you don't get all of your sessions in for the week, your strength and shape will still be changing in a positive way."

Exercise first thing.

Not a morning person? This probably isn't what you want to hear. Especially in winter.

Sleep is one of the most overlooked parts of all of this. Going to bed at a consistent time will mean you're more likely to wake at a consistent time as well. Ben Lucas

"Once it's done, it's done. If you delay it, it becomes less and less likely," Lucas said.

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It could be worse.

Train with a friend.

Both Lucas and Beach are avid supporters of ringing in a friend.

"Winter is a great time to buddy up with a training partner. That way you won't want to let each other down and you're more inclined to get your training sessions done," Beach said.

"People feel more accountable for someone else than they do for themselves," Lucas added.

Regulate your sleep.

Cold and dark mornings are already hard enough before you add in dodgy night's sleep. Plus this surely lends itself an excuse to not get up early.

"Sleep is one of the most overlooked parts of all of this. Going to bed at a consistent time will mean you're more likely to wake at a consistent time as well," Lucas said.

If you continue to focus on clean and healthy nutrition during winter, you'll be in a greater stead to train well. Ben Lucas

"Having a regular bedtime will make this all much easier."

Avoid the winter carb-fest.

And then we come to food. As hard as it is, avoiding the winter stodge will help your training as well.

"When it's cold, we tend to be drawn to stodgy, carbohydrate-heavy foods. But this becomes a downward spiral. If you continue to focus on clean and healthy nutrition during winter, you'll be in a greater stead to train well," Lucas said.

Here are some tips to keep your nutrition on track during the colder months -- and avoid those pesky colds and flu.

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