Written by Sarah Louise • Updated Nov 3, 2021
How to adjust your gym workouts for winter (8 tips)
We have officially entered the winter months, and I think we’re all feeling it - the days are getting darker, the weather is getting colder and the food is getting richer.
These are typically the months where it’s harder to get yourself in the gym, but at the same time these are also the months where you can see the most improvements in the gym, if you do it right.
Here are my 8 tips to optimise your training routine and get the most out of the winter months.
#1 Plan your gym visits 🕑
With less opportunity to workout outside, more people are joining the gym. This also means they get busier during peak hours - especially between 5-8pm. If you’re used to working out during after work hours, try switching to the mornings, lunch times or the weekends where the gym will be noticeably less busy.
You can of course still go to the gym after work even if it’s busy. If you find that the squat racks and benches are never free, try adjusting your training plan to dumbbell only, or select one of the dumbbell workout challenges from the Trainn app.
#2 Shift your focus to maintenance or muscle building 🏋🏼♀️
Fat loss can definitely be achieved any time of the year, but it’s not fun nor beneficial to diet all year round. It’s very common amongst gym-goers to use these winter months to build muscle & get stronger.
Muscles need carbs & protein to grow, and with more frequent social events involving food, you’ll likely find your calories creeping up.
So, if you’ve already spent the majority of the year in a diet phase, this is the perfect time to take a break from the calorie deficit and instead focus on maintaining your weight while increasing the weights in the gym. You should still focus on healthy whole foods, but use the extra food to fuel your workouts and therefore improve your lifts - you’ll quickly feel yourself getting stronger.
If you have your training plan in the Trainn app, adjust your goal to “build lean muscle” - this will center your workouts more around strength training.
#3 Increase your cardio 💦
Another downside of the weather getting colder is that we will likely be spending more time indoors and therefore not moving around as much as we are used to.
In order to keep your level of activity up try going on daily walks or adding 15-20 minutes of low intensity cardio after your workouts. You can also do cardio on a completely separate day from your workouts with 30-40 mins on a cardio machine.
#4 Move HIIT sessions indoors 🏠
If you’re used to doing HIIT workouts or interval training outdoors, it can be a good idea to move them inside. During the cold winter months it takes longer for your muscles and joints to warm up.
Therefore, to avoid injury, keep your outdoor sessions at a lower intensity (e.g. going for a 30-60 min run or brisk walk), and move your more intense HIIT workouts indoors. You’ll feel that your body is much more able to perform.
#5 Follow a training plan 📝
There are 3 reasons why following a training plan will boost your training in the winter:
1) It will keep your workouts efficient & to the point -- The gyms are busier and the days seem shorter. You might not have as much time in the day or as much space in the gym to do the workouts you normally do. A training plan will help you with efficient workouts, even with less time or training equipment available.
2) You will get the most out of your increased energy -- As mentioned, your calorie intake will probably be a bit higher these next couple months. Therefore it’s important to put that extra fuel to use, however we tend to stick to the same routine always because it’s what feels comfortable (and we don’t know what else to do). A training plan will push you to mix up your routine, increase your training volume and lift a bit heavier over time.
3) It will motivate you to workout -- Usually when we have a plan written out in front of us, we’re more likely to get it done. The satisfaction of completing what we set out to do is rewarding.
#6 Buddy up with a partner 👭🏻
As well as following a training plan, another thing that can get you out the door and into the gym is a workout buddy. We all need a little extra push sometimes and knowing that you can’t leave your friend waiting in the gym can be just that push of motivation you need.
Find a friend or a partner that you can plan a few weekly gym sessions with. It will also give you an excuse to hang out together during what are usually very busy months.
#7 Warm up & mobilise properly 🧘🏼♀️
When temperatures drop, it takes longer for the muscles and joints to heat up and for the joints to release fluid for lubrication. It’s best to take things slow and steady in the beginning to avoid any injuries.
Start your workout with 3-5 mobility exercises or 2-8 minutes on a cardio machine to warm up properly. If you don’t know which mobility exercises to do, visit the Explore page in the Trainn app to see a variety of mobility drills.
#8 Remember: it's consistency over perfection
A fitness journey is not always a linear - sometimes it can feel like a rollercoaster. Throughout the year you’ll experience ups and downs in motivation & energy, so try not to be too hard on yourself if you’re going through a week or month with less motivation. Be kind to yourself and instead look at it from an objective point of view to figure out which small changes you can make.
Remember, consistency always wins over perfection. Even if, for you, staying consistent means 1 workout per week, you’re still beating everyone who stayed on the sofa.
If you have your training plan in the Trainn app, remember you can adjust the frequency of your workouts in the training plan settings. Simply tap the little settings icon in the top right corner of the app and select the days you wish to workout - your training plan will then be adjusted accordingly.
If you’re ready to give it your best this winter, download the Trainn app to get your own personalised training plan 💪🏼
Personal trainer & founder of trainn
Hi, I'm Sarah Louise 👋🏼
I am one of the personal trainers on trainn, as well as the founder & creator of it all.
My aim is to take you on a personalised fitness journey to a body you love and a lifestyle you can maintain. Real advice. Real results.
After coaching thousands of clients for nearly a decade and gathering lots of experience, I have designed methods that are proven to make your results stick with you forever.
Take your fitness to the next level, regain confidence and create a consistent routine through personalised workouts, weekly goals, healthy habits & expert advice. All unique to you.
Start your fitness journey today