Bike riding on the river

Winter is Approaching

We are moving into a cool time of the year and there is nothing better than snuggling up in front of a fireplace with a glass of fine wine and handcrafted chocolate! Say what? I thought this was a health and fitness rant? I can almost hear my members choking on their protein shakes whenever I utter these words.

Now before you go away and think that this is some kind of perpetuation plan for an “ongoing need for a personal trainer” business model, understand this. The mentality of “I can’t have” is a losing game. We have all heard talk of the 80:20 rule and so it applies here, with one exception but even then, a ‘perfectly’ disciplined approach to health and fitness is not only not possible, but self defeating in the end. If you live by the idea that you tick all the boxes of a healthy and fit lifestyle 80% of the time, you will be doing very well indeed.

The exception is the person who has some serious and significant goals to achieve. This person, for progress, often needs to be more in the 90:10 category. But you will note that this is still not an ‘all or none’ approach. The reason it is better to have a fudge factor in there is that mentally most of us need a metaphorical pressure relief valve and some of those things that we don’t always have are quite frankly fun and sometimes even awesome! When you are trying to change some bad habits, the thought of doing ‘everything right’ and changing ‘all the bad things I do’ is often overwhelming. This approach may work for a week or two, but I guarantee it won’t last and therefore is highly ineffective.  I talk about this because Winter is approaching and a lot of us tend to fall off the fitness wagon and hibernate, coming out the other side with massive yards that need to be made up…. this has a whole lot of negatives that I am sure you know about. Extremes never work.

So my advice for Winter for those of you who are already exercising and eating well but are still outside the holy grail, which is ‘habit’, I recommend living by the 80:20 approach and enjoy that occasional Winter indulgence. If you are someone who is just starting out and find Winter difficult to deal with, then choose your battles and pick the time of day that you have the most chance of getting some activity into your schedule (and it probably won’t be early morning is my guess)! When it comes to eating, the same applies. As always, I advise you to cast your eye on the big picture, so not only where you will be come Winter’s end, but more importantly where you are aiming to be long term and what it will mean to you.

It is about small consistent steps and always moving forward the best you can. Fitness and health are like your garden, they need constant care and attention. You can’t STORE fitness, and whilst it may have been a great thing back in prehistoric times to put on a good layer of fat moving into Winter to survive the cold, we have no such need anymore. Aim for the committed but forgiving plan to keep moving and eating well for most of the time, and this will be a great thing to do in terms of minimising the possible damage and even optimistically, come out the other side better than when you went in all set for a life time of doing the same!

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