Sarah MacDonald shares her 7 Top Tips to Stay Fit This Winter.

As summer comes to a close here in Australia, some of you may be wondering what this means for your health and fitness. Who else has set an alarm for an early gym class in the middle of winter, only to wake up to a rainy pitch-black morning (which feels more like the middle of the night) and hit the snooze button? (And if that’s never been you – please either quit lying or teach me your ways!)

Well, luckily, the change of seasons doesn’t have to mean letting go of those practices that make you feel your best and keep you well – you just need to change your tactics a little. Staying active in winter helps you stay on track with your goals, protect yourself from illness and injury (which is even more important in the colder months!) and supports year-long and life-long healthy habits.

Here’s how I try to keep myself running – literally – when the temperature drops:

  1. Keep Yourself Accountable

When you wake up to that dark, rainy morning, make sure you have something that pushes you out of bed. The easiest way to do this is to get yourself a workout buddy! If you know that a friend is waiting for you at the gym, or even better is on their way to pick you up, you’ll be way more likely to actually get your little butt out of bed. If you can afford to, another great option is signing up to classes that charge a late cancellation fee. I know that a $5 sting if I miss my class makes sure that I get there!

  1. Take it Inside

I love running outside in summer. What I hate, though? Running through the rain, dark or cold. If you can do it, awesome! If you’re like me, though, sign up to a gym or classes indoors so that you don’t have the excuse of it being dark or cold outside. If you’re on a tight budget, just sign up for the colder months and get outside for free when it’s warmer.

  1. Find Healthy, Go-To Winter Meals

Healthy eating is so easy in summer! Things like salads, smoothies and cold dishes are so much more appealing, and a lot of people can come unstuck here in winter. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a hot chocolate as much as anyone (almond milk and three marshmallows please – yes, THREE), but it’s important to have easy, cozy meals on hand that still tick the right boxes for your health and allow you to feel your best. Things like vegetable soups, chillis and stews are great options. Convenient packed foods can be great too, but check the ingredients – many are packed with sodium and preservatives. My go-to are the new soup packets from Eimele – which, unlike most packet soups, actually ARE a well-balanced and healthy choice. Eimele soups are plant-based, high-protein and high-fibre, which means that they keep me full for longer, and literally take minutes to put together into a meal – perfect for a quick post-workout winter dinner.

  1. Remind Yourself of Your WHY

If part of the reason you work out is your “bikini bod” (and I really, really hope it isn’t the only reason that you do. Repeat after me: a “bikini bod” is just a body in a bikini!), then take this as an opportunity to reflect on some of the deeper reasons why you care about your health. I’ll get you started. When I work out, I have more energy, my body releases endorphins that make me happier, I feel stronger, and carrying my groceries upstairs to my apartment is ten times easier. I know that I am building habits that will support me as I grow older. Reminding yourself of these things motivates you to get yourself out there and make choices that look after yourself.

  1. Make the Little Things Matter

If you find it harder to keep up with your full-on workout schedule in winter, make little changes to keep you moving in ways you won’t even notice. This could mean walking instead of taking

the elevator, or getting off the bus a few stops early, or using your lunch break to go for a quick little walk. It won’t seem like much, but those little changes will add up.

  1. Give Yourself a Winter Goal

This doesn’t have to be a weightloss goal! It could be to run a certain distance without stopping or within a certain time, or lift a certain weight, or make it to a certain number of yoga classes. Having a goal will keep you focussed and motivated.

  1. Make it a Part of your Schedule

When motivation or enthusiasm fails you, scheduling can make sure that you stick to your plans. Try to plan things that you struggle with the most. If that’s healthy eating, make a rough meal plan or meal prep for your week. If it’s working out, schedule in regular classes with your work and school commitments so that you know when and how you’ll be working out. Once you get into those habits, you won’t even have to think about it. A great way to do this is to get your workout done first thing, on your way to class or work. When I do this, I always pack a nutritious, portable breakfast in my bag to make the transition as smooth as possible! A great choice is an Eimele porridge pocket – I only have to add a cup of hot water at work to complete my meal, which means that I can go straight from my class to the office.

Try to make the most of the change of seasons, rather than seeing it as a roadblock to your health! Remember all the good things that come with autumn and winter – like hot drinks, cozy knits and snuggly movie nights. How do you stay fit in winter? If I’ve left out something that helps you feel your best, let me know in the comments below!

Written in collaboration with Eimele. Head to Eimele’s website to discover their full range of plant-based porridges, soups and snacks formulated by nutritional and medical experts.

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