Don’t let the cold and dark winter hinder your goal

It’s long since been 2014, and as the terrifying cliche goes, the new year demands a ‘new you’; a phrase spoken with genuine and unwavering intentions during a time of resolute decision. But now that we’re past the 3rd Monday in January – statistically the “most depressing day of the year” when the population gives up on its collective resolutions en masse – I think we need to remind ourselves that a real resolution means staying committed to the promise long after the mood in which you made it has evaporated. Festivities are well and truly over, and this is typically the time of year when we crave a vitamin-D shot from radiant foreign sunshine more than ever; but you don’t need to let the cold and dark winter hinder your goals – embrace it! The fresh air will energise you and do wonders for the body and soul alike!

With 2014 behind you, January is a fabulous time for reflection – both upon your wins and losses. I prefer to focus on fitness successes, no matter how small; in my experience, they’re often down to having set realistic, achievable goals with a clear strategy reinforcing it. Here are five of my top guidelines that keep me on track during this mammoth struggle of a month!

1. STRUCTURE: Create a structured training routine, accounting for each day and each body part you want to train. I think it’s best to include a deadline as well, because to me, that’s a crucial driver for the motivation to shape-up in the first place.

2. BE SPECIFIC: If you want to ‘lose weight’, then measure your body fat percentage; once you know your current composition, set a realistic goal around reducing it. Going from 30% body fat to 20% is a fantastic example of specificity, and the 10% reduction is a very big, enticing mental goal at which to shoot!

3. ORGANISATION: Get organised right at the beginning, as crafting that framework will give you confidence to stay on track when things become a little intimidating! The worst case is losing your initial ‘motivational spark’! So many give up because they’ve set unrealistic and vague goals, and when they don’t see results yesterday, they presume it means failure tomorrow. That’s not the case! I consider it practically impossible not to feel and see results if you stick to a plan.

4. TRACK PROGRESS: Keep on top of your change (for example, by taking photographs and measurements weekly) and you can help maintain the focus.; but beware though, as relying solely on the scales can be very misleading. Weight can fluctuate depending on water retention (a mighty 70%of the bodyweight is water) and food consumption. However, the ideal is to incorporate this near-term holiday-training goal within a longer-term healthy lifestyle, and you will see the progress unfolding before your eyes!

5. MAKE IT FUN: head to the nearest park; borrow a neighbours dog; try different classes; find a new pair of trainers;  variation keeps you motivated!! Take inspiration from the pictures below, and have a workout wherever – street furniture is the new gym!



1. SHARING IS CARING: Sweat with a friend – this introduces a mild dash of competition, and ensures mutual commitment to the training effort!

2. IMPROVISE: If you can’t access a gym, be inventive – chairs, stairs, floors, branches are all good alternatives for body-weight work.

3. POWER UP: power walk as often as you can – it’s all good calorie-burn!

4. THE CHALLENGE: Set yourself weekly targets! 10 full pushups everyday, then the following week, 20/day. Then 30. Smashing challenges keeps you on track.

5. KEEP THEM GUESSING: muscles burn more calories when challenged with and confused by something they’re not used to. Shock the dull routine!

6. SWIG IT: its vital to stay hydrated for you to maintain optimal performance. Drink plenty, regularly to stay at peak exercising condition.

7. SLEEP IT OFF: find a routine and aim for at least 7 hours of restorative sleep. It’s the best place for recovery.

8. MAXIMISE: it’s ‘all or nothing’, & it’s ‘as often as possible’. The words intensity and frequency are key companions for your winter sessions.

9. STRETCH OUT: this makes such a difference mentally and physically. It aids recovery and balance, whilst releasing built-up tension & stiffness.

10. GO VIRAL: – follow health & fitness blogs and Facebook groups for added motivation! There are so many people who can drive you on, right through to holiday season!


About our guest blogger…

Faya is a Swedish personal trainer and fitness blogger based in London. She started Fitness On Toast in January 2013 with a view to provide an unbiased, honest, organic free-range view on ‘fitness, nutrition and fashion’.