Winter is just days away and in most places around Oz we’ve already started to feel the cold weather creeping in. It can be one of the most difficult times of year to motivate yourself to eat well and exercise, and we’re sorry to say that this winter is predicted to be one of the coldest on record which won’t make things any easier!
The good news is, we’re here to help with some easy tips & tricks so you know how to stay fit and healthy in winter, avoid a winter blow out and hopefully escape the effects of those pesky winter bugs that inevitably float around. We’ve kept it simple and realistic with 4 easy areas to focus on, diet, exercise, hydration, and rest.
First things first. You need sustenance! Our bodies naturally burn more calories in cold weather so that it stays warm, but it’s important to ensure that you’re eating the right stuff to fuel your bod (spoiler: it’s not hot chips & gravy).
Remember your veggies
We’re not necessarily talking a green summer salad, instead think roasted, steamed or stir-fried vegetables, and warm salads packed with beautiful grains and veggies. Choosing fresh seasonal produce (like broccoli, beetroot, pumpkin and sweet potato) in an assortment of different colours will ensure that you’re getting a good range of nutrients into your healthy winter diet.
Grains & Protein & Flavour
To fill up on long-lasting energy, combine your vegetables with whole grains and protein, keeping in mind that a little bit of meat can go a long way with your veg. To add flavour to your veggies, try adding spices, chilli flakes and freshly chopped herbs, and if you need oil, go for extra virgin olive oil.
To avoid those last minute greasy snacks & take away options we recommend planning out your meals on the weekend so you’re set for the week ahead. If you know what’s on the menu and have done your shop, you’re more likely to stick to the plan and avoid reaching for discretionary foods & food outside the five food groups. When you’re planning, choose meals that are healthy & comforting (make the slow cooker your best friend!) Think about meals like Chilli con Carne with brown rice, fresh tomatoes, coriander, leafy greens & avocado or Korma lamb Curry with Rice & Ancient Grains, and steamed broccolini.
Read our full post on Meal planning 101 here for our tips on how to get started.
This one’s a no brainer, but in cold weather it’s sometimes easier said than done. It’s important to get active during winter - get an exercise buddy to keep you motivated, and choose a range of activities that aren’t dependant on weather.
Have a go-to work out for those days where you don't feel like exercising but know that's exactly why you should. Classes are a great way to stay active & motivated and with so many indoor options it's easy to find an option that you can do no matter the weather.
To combine what you should eat for energy & recovery from training, check out our previous post on exactly that here.
Staying hydrated is a great habit to have no matter the season. We often focus on why it’s important in the hot weather, but it’s equally important in cold weather as well. Staying hydrated is important for your cells to function properly, your body to regulate temperature, feel fuller for longer (dehydration can make you feel hungry) and to maintain healthy skin amid fierce winds and drying air con.
If you're sick of plain water or need to warm up, try hot or warm water with a slice of lemon & some honey, or green tea - these can be a good source of bonus antioxidants as well.
Black tea & coffee that is not milk-based (e.g. long black) can also be included in your hydration tally, but be sure to avoid having this as your only source of liquids as they can come with other side effects like irritability, anxiety and restlessness.
Get Some Rest
Yes, you need to stay active, eat well and hydrate, but remember to rest as well - getting enough sleep is critical for your body to function properly. You’ll feel more alert, happier, and more willing to head out for some exercise. Check out our post on getting a good night’s sleep here.
While everything we've talked about above is relevant no matter the time of year, winter can be the most challenging time to stay motivated and keep yourself on track health-wise. Just take care of yourself through winter & you won't even need to worry about getting summer-ready.