In Trucker's Health, August 20216 MinutesBy Laura PeacockSeptember 28, 2021

Cold and wet weather means you’re more likely to want to spend time cosied up on the couch than head out for exercise. Here are six tips to help you stay motivated.

Laura and fiancee Hayden after a community training event.

1 Sign up for an event or challenge

Having a deadline or something to work towards is extremely motivating and helpful in getting your exercise ‘mojo’ back. It doesn’t have to be anything as outrageous as a 100km ultramarathon. It could be a 5km or 10km walk, a gym challenge or a block course for a gym class – anything that requires commitment, discipline and hard work for a set amount of time.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, so the idea is that you train for your event, you complete the event and then continue with the routine you put in place while preparing for your goal/event.

2 Join a group gym class or sports team

I’ve found that having people rely on me to turn up has been effective in terms of accountability and encouragement. You know that they are counting on you to show up, which can be powerful. It’s one thing to let yourself down, but it is another to let down friends, family or workout buddies.

3 Use a nutrition or training app

If you have no idea where to start in terms of your health and fitness journey, sometimes installing and using a simple app on your phone can give you crucial guidance. There are many fitness apps, so it’s a good idea to ask around and see what friends and family are using.

I find MyFitnessPal good for improving knowledge on how much you are eating and the types of foods to include in your diet. If you’re into running, the ‘Couch to 5km’ or ‘Couch to 10km’ app can help you build up from being a ‘couch potato’ to comfortably running or walking 5km to 10km.

4 Tell friends and family

This doesn’t mean you have to post daily updates on social media on every meal and workout (unless that helps you). It just means telling people you trust, who are in your close network, that you’re trying to work on your health and fitness.

Having the support of your nearest and dearest may be a crucial element in your success. It can make your day to receive a message asking how your progress is going, feeling like people have a vested interest in your health and fitness. Sometimes you can feel quite isolated and alone in your journey, so it’s nice to know you have support along the way.

5 Be strategic with social events

It is lovely to enjoy food and beverages with friends and family, but if your entire social calendar revolves around fish and chips and getting on the beers, this can be detrimental to your progress. Of course, you need to enjoy life and find a happy balance – but you can also make adjustments in your favour.

For example, going to a restaurant rather than a fish and chip place can give you plenty more healthy options to choose from rather than being limited to a menu of deep-fried goodies. Also, if your friends and family are aware of your health and fitness journey, I’m sure they will be flexible on where you catch up for meals and social events.

6 Use a planning calendar

Find the biggest calendar you can, and then mark out the milestones you want to reach and when you would like to achieve them. The calendar will serve as a powerful vision board with a map of your journey.

If you’ve signed up for an eight-week challenge, for example, mark it each day, week by week, with what you’ve done training-wise, how your weight loss is going (if that’s part of your goal), constantly focusing on the end date.

I’ve found in the past that seeing the end date of a challenge helps me to keep focused because I know it’s not a long time in the scheme of my entire life. As mentioned, a challenge is just a tiny kickstart, and the habits you create will hopefully continue as part of a routine.

Laura Peacock – Personal trainer TCA Fitness Club