With our Winter months fast approaching the weather has finally started to feel cold.  In Brisbane, where I live, we have had our warmest Summer and Autumn for many years, so it’s nice to feel the tingle of coolness without having to put the air con on.  But how do you maintain the inspiration to stay fit when the days are dark till after you get up and the sun goes down so early?

Try some of these suggestions:

1. Make sure you have some SMART goals set for the Winter months.  What do you want to achieve? – weight loss, muscle gain, maintenance, endurance…?  Check out my blog post here on goal setting.

2. Now how are you going to achieve these goals?  You’ll need some strategies, so set mini-goals using the SMART formula on how you will achieve them – this is where you really get specific.

3. When it gets tough, don’t just get going, lean on your supports, too.  Get your partner, best friend or even the kids to help give you the support to keep going.  Read more about developing supports here.

4. Get organised!  Set that alarm to wake you up if you are planning to get up in the dark – if you are a ‘snoozer’ then put the alarm out of reach so you must get up to turn it off.  Make sure you have your exercise clothes out ready (or wear them to bed!).  And make an appointment with yourself or a buddy – so you just can’t let them or yourself down.  While exercising in the morning gets it out of the way, if getting up early enough to exercise isn’t working, try exercising during the day – take a longer lunch and get to a gym class, or try use active transport – walk, run or cycle to work.  Or make an appointment for exercising in the late afternoon or evening.

5. If the alarm and buddies aren’t inspiring you to make the effort then try booking a few sessions with a personal trainer or exercise physiologist to get you into a new habit and set a plan for you to achieve over the next few weeks.  Make sure you book an appointment for a check-in with your trainer if you aren’t seeing them every week, to keep you accountable.

Accountability can be a really strong motivator.

6. Another motivator is to register for an event.  It may be a fun run/walk, triathlon, bike ride or a tough mudder event – whatever it is you’ll need to work on your fitness to do the event.  You could even raise funds for charity as an extra incentive to yourself.

7. Be mindful while you exercise.  If you are out in the great outdoors take the time to take in your surroundings – admire the sunrise, listen to the birds waking up and see the dew on the grass.  If you are going to the gym then enjoy the roads without traffic, appreciate the aroma of coffee beans as you pass the coffee shops servicing early morning commuters and take in the sounds of the gym waking up.  Don’t forget to be mindful for your safety, too.  If you cycle use your bike lights, if you run wear reflective clothing.

8. Make sure you warm up properly before vigorous exercise.  Cold muscles need warming up to prevent injuries.  At the end of your exercise session don’t forget to cool down and stretch – it will help reduce soreness.

9. Don’t forget to nourish your body right over Winter, too.  In cool weather we often crave warm foods – a green salad and cold meat and lentils just doesn’t cut it.  So, look toward some warm soups filled with vegies, herbs, peas, beans and lentils and served with crusty rye sourdough or grain bread.  Yum!  It’s so easy to cook ahead a few different soups and pop them in the freezer in ready to reheat serves for one, two or more.

10. And make sure you are getting enough good quality sleep.  Review your bedtime routine and how much sleep you are getting.  Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night but everyone’s needs are individual, so use this is a guide.  Research shows it’s easier to maintain a healthy weight when we get enough sleep.

There’s so many ways to maintain or improve your fitness over Winter – choose 3 points to apply which appeal to you and revise your progress in a week’s time.

Remember, if you want to be accountable to someone, I do accountability calls out of business hours!  Contact me here.

Now it’s time for me to go and do some bulk cooking for the week ahead so I can nourish my body while I keep up my fitness!  I’ll talk to you next week, in the meantime check out my leek and potato soup recipe, below:

Leek and Potato Soup (serves 4)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced, and washed well in a colander under the tap
  • 700g washed potatoes, chopped – keep the skin on for extra fibre
  • 1L water
  • 1 Massel vegetable stock cube (optional)
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ bunch of parsley, chopped
  • Greek yoghurt, to taste
  • Rye sourdough or grain bread, warmed


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add the leeks.  Stir well, cover the leeks and cook for 5 minutes or until they are softened slightly.
  • Add the potatoes and stir well. Increase heat to high and add the water, stock cube and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Turn the heat off and use a sticker blender to blend the soup until it is smooth.  If it is too thick add some extra water after blending and heat to serving temperature.
  • Ladle into soup bowls, add a dob of yoghurt and sprinkle with parsley.  Or cool and serve into containers for storing/freezing for work lunches or quick dinners.
  • Serve with some warmed rye sourdough or grain bread.

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Post byDale Cooke

I'm a nutritionist, dietitian and personal trainer with 29 years of experience helping people improve their health. I really like using a non-diet philosophy to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Can I help you improve your health?