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Ice Age: the motivation survival guide

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So we’re a few days into winter and let’s be real, it’s been chilly AF for a few weeks already.

And the whole COVID isolation (on top of bushfire smoke-induced segregation) hasn’t helped.

It’s that time of year when we’re eating our feelings and craving wholesome, hearty meals, with carbs, more carbs and – let’s face it – an extra side of delicious carbs.

Then all of a sudden the weeks have come and gone and you’re feeling as slow and lethargic as a sloth. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been tough finding motivation to do anything but Netflix and chill lately.

Your head becomes cloudy, your mood drops and the idea of snuggling on the couch is way more appealing than having to leave the house to do anything at all, let alone to exercise. But the thing is, this lack of motivation for self-preservation only encourages negativity.

Every winter we’re reminded that less sunlight causes the body to produce more melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep cycle.

It also causes our serotonin levels to drop, which affects our mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and even our sexual appetite (yep, I went there). In simple terms, we’re genetically predisposed to want to hibernate.

So how do we channel our inner ice queen and not only survive the Canberra winter but find the motivation to dominate our goals?

  1. Take a moment to acknowledge the feeling of guilt and sadness from overindulging and moping around. Ok, moment’s over.
  2. Now, focus on what makes you happy – as soon as I shifted my thinking from exercising to lose the weight I’d put on, to exercising to clear my head and reduce anxiety, the endorphins flooded in which only motivated me to try harder.
  3. Set weekly goals. Try to get moving 3-4 times each week and hold yourself accountable. Even if it’s just a walk.
  4. Bump up the resistance training to increase your muscle mass (not only will you feel invincible, you’ll stay warmer too).
  5. Be kind. A little lame I know, but you never ever know what someone’s going through and winter seems to breed negativity. The more of us who focus on being kind, and the more endorphins that are released, the less negativity there will be.

And before you know it we’ll be all…

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To get you started, I’ve put together a full-body workout (below) that you can do in the comfort of your very own home. It’ll help to get the blood pumping, endorphins flowing and just might help work off that third helping of slow-cooked massaman curry. You’re welcome.

As many rounds as possible (AMRAPfull body workout 

Duration: 6 mins x 4 = 24 minutes

After warming up (five minutes of running on the spot, high knees, bum kicks, squats, arm circles) complete each of the following exercises consecutively, for as many rounds as possible, in six minutes.

Begin with Circuit One and once the six minutes are up, rest for 60 seconds before completing Circuit Two.

Aim to repeat x two.

CIRCUIT ONE

–           10 x skater lunges (each side)

–           10 x 4 mountain climbers + 1 push up (knees or toes)

–           10 x jump squats (or standard or half-squats)

–           10 x commandoes (5 each side)

CIRCUIT TWO

–           20 x step-ups (each side – use a stable chair/bench)

–           10 x push-ups (knees or toes)

–           10 x squats (if you want to test yourself try single leg squats using the chair/bench!)

–           10 x bench dips (use the stable chair/bench or the edge of your bed)

Remember to cool down and stretch.

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