Cycling · Fitness

The Pain & Enjoyment of Winter Workouts!

With the evenings now dark and cold, the cosy warmth of my living room is far more appealing than the chilling winds, and mists of rain that the great outdoors has to offer. I’m therefore finding it extremely easy to just head straight home after work, curl up under my new festive blanket, pop the fire on, and enjoy some TV with a cup of tea and mince pie. And last week this was pretty much what I did. When I wasn’t on my sofa, I was wrapped up eating Bratwurst hotdogs followed by Nutella pancakes at the Christmas Market. As a whole, it was a pretty unhealthy week.

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This week I knew I had to get back to it – yes it’s Christmas, yes I am surrounded by chocolate, mince pies, scrumptious crepes and a world of other delightful snacks, but firstly – I don’t have to eat them (all), and secondly – the gym is still there, and so is my bike. After building up my strength and endurance over the spring and summer, the last thing I want to have to do is start again next year, and this is my motivation for the all-important winter workouts.

Gym sessions are easier to keep up – they are indoors for one – however, with all the Christmas distractions, it’s still hard to prioritise the gym, over all the more fun, excitingly festive activities on offer. What has helped me massively is having a gym buddy. Like anything I guess, when you’ve made arrangements to meet someone somewhere, you’re more likely to stick to those plans – if you get a wave of the old “I can’t be bothered”, you’re less likely to bail. It’s also of course more fun working out with someone; with mutual motivation and encouragement, generally having a gym buddy is a bonus.

Cycling though poses a harder incentive. There is the option of indoor training – the turbo trainer – but to say this is an incentive would be highly misleading; it’s boring, tough, and making it more tough than maybe it should be, is that it’s boring. And weirdly, it’s kind of a deterrent for the gym; when one is not feeling like the (very short) walk in the rain up to the gym, one thinks “I’ll go straight home, but I’ll go on the turbo” Ahhh lol – I head home with the best intentions, but more often than not the turbo remains sat in the spare room. The other cycling option – is to actually go out and cycle, and this is what we did the other night. On a bleak Monday evening we winter-kitted up and headed out. It was cold, the downhill to get to the uphill was chilling, and the heavier breathing induced by the uphill hurt my chest, but . . . it got easier. Your body warms up, breathing in the cold air becomes – bearable – but best of all, you feel great. You’re not just sat on the sofa, you’re out – training! & I don’t know about anyone else, but being out in the less-than-desirable conditions, made me feel like a proper little athlete! (See below Instaquote!)

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By starting my week with a strong session on the bike, I now feel really motivated for the rest of the week. In my experience, the more often you exercise, the more driven you feel to keep it going.

So, yes it’s winter, yes it’s cold, but I once read a quote that has stuck with me – “you will never regret working out” and on these dark, sofa-calling evenings, this is what I have to keep telling myself!

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