The first winter frost is upon us and those cold early morning starts get a little tougher! But even though the weather is changing it’s important to keep training motivation levels high over the winter. So how do we as coaches make sure our clients training plans stay red hot over the colder winter months?
Make a specific targeted plan for winter by creating a winter training block
Firstly, we sit down with our clients to create and agree on a training block that will last through the winter months, maintaining motivation levels and a strong focus. This plan might include increasing the number of gym sessions inside especially during colder, darker AM sessions, changing the type of morning training and even extending the warm ups before sessions to ensure optimum muscle heat before the main session starts. These are just a few examples of how we might adapt a clients program in a winter training block.
Create a simple plan for your training that will help you adhere to your sessions that show some clear progression in volume and intensity as you go through the weeks. Training plans do not need to be complex all the time, leave that up to the professionals when required - until that day keep it simple and precise.
Set short-term goals to target specific areas
Setting some short term goals with clients is very important as it gives the coach and the client clarity and purpose during the winter training efforts. By setting some realistic goals, the training plan and the training effort will be higher and more productive so increasing training adaptations.
Some examples of a short term goals might be to “Perform 10 non-assisted pull ups by the end of winter” or “reduce my 1KM Concept 2 rowing time by 5%” or “increase my handstand balance with great form by 5sec in 8 weeks”.
Pick your own set of short-term goals that are challenging enough but realistic with the amount of training hours you can put in over the winter period. It will increase your motivation, drive and focus to push on during the winter season.
Add in training variety to add a bit of spice
It’s important to ensure our clients training doesn’t become stale and predictable especially when excuses during the winter are higher, so we make sure we add in enough training variety with new exercises and challenges to help keep them happy, excited and motivated to train. This could be as simple as changing the order of exercises or adding in some non-goal specific training at times for fun.
A good training plan needs to have regularity within it to help show progression more easily but it is also very important to bring variety and new challenges to the routine, to help keep your drive and want to train as high as possible during winter.
Stay positive by using positive self talk and reinforcement
The need for our clients to remain in a positive mindset when training with us is vital for improvement to be achieved. A negative thought process will put the brakes on progression and often stop training effort from being high enough to achieve training adaptation. Using self talk is a really effective easy way to help maintain and/or get in a more positive state of mind that will aid in your training efforts and adherence levels.
A few examples of a self talk statement might be “I know this is hard but I’ve got this” or “Push hard, it’s the last set today” or ”just focus on this exercise not the upcoming effort” or “I’m feeling strong, let’s push harder”.
Using strategies to increase your positive mindset that work for you is really important within your training and general wellbeing. Staying positive helps to produce higher levels of the “happy hormones” when training and ultimately improves training effort and the want to get better every session.
Do not try and change Rome in a day
The well known saying “Rome wasn’t build in a day” is very applicable to training. We make sure that we remind clients of this to ensure realistic and step by step progressions are being focused on and not always the end goal. Although it’s important to see the end goal we should not focus on them too much because it can detract the focus from the present effort required during the current session.
If you overly focus on the end goal too early then your patience and appreciation of the training progressions will be reduced, which could actually reduce your training motivation and effort to improve In the long-term - distinctly counter-intuitive and unhelpful when it comes to successfully completing a winter training block or indeed any training block for that matter.
Understand where you want to go but try not to think about the end goal during your training too much, instead try focusing on the current effort required in the present to help give your best in “todays training session”. This focus on the process and behaviour will help you reach the end goals quicker than not doing so.
Remember this: If you think too heavily on the tomorrow you will loose the today.
We hope that these 5 training strategies will stand you in good stead for the colder, darker winter training months - trying to implement a few of them is always bette than none at all - so dive in and see what you can achieve.
We don’t do “all or nothing” approaches here at FF Bristol because they rarely succeed, we prefer balance and consistency in training plans, which history shows more often than not does breed results (with the right plan in place).
Until next time, keep warm!
happy training 💪🏼😀