Early sunsets make it too tempting to stay at home - so try waking early for exercise instead.

Early sunsets make it too tempting to stay at home - so try waking early for exercise instead. Photo: iStockphoto

As autumn turns into winter, our instinct is to either hibernate in front of the TV with our favourite food, or head to the local pub for a few pints.

We all know what happens next - the winter chub wraps itself around our hips and waist.

Shorter days can also affect our moods, and guess what makes you feel better? Exercise. If you move, breathe, and do something with intensity – your mind will benefit.

We all know when the sun shines once more, we'll all want our summer bodies back and the last minute mentality of dieting and joining the gym in November isn't going to cut it.

So get moving, watch the winter beer intake, and by the time the sun returns, you'll be thrilled at the investment you made during the chilly months.

Here are some tips for staying motivated:

Wake Early
Early sunsets make it too tempting to stay at home for a big winter dinner, so try waking early to do exercise instead.

If you can brave the chill and get outdoors or to the gym, you are ahead of the game. Research shows that exercise in the morning is the optimal time to lose fat, and your physical and mental energy throughout the day will improve. If you are put off by the cold, buy some warm, layered gear to keep you warm until your body takes over.

Get Outside
Workouts inside in front of the TV don't cut it. Significant others and kids are wonderful but along with mobile phones and other home comforts, they are an exercise distraction. Hike, jog, or do a bodyweight circuit at a high intensity – but do it outside. The winter sun will help to provide the Vitamin D your body needs to stay fit and help to lift your mood.

Join a Gym

The best part about joining a gym is winter is the steam, sauna, or whirlpool, all providing a warm incentive to drive away those winter blues and it's also a great time of the year to get a cheap membership, with few of the main players are handcuffing you into year-long contracts. Additionally, you can look out for group buyers' daily deals that have some amazing trial offers where you can join a gym for under a $1 per day.

Increase the intensity
Feeling sluggish in winter? Then try something different. Joining group classes at a gym or getting serious in a CrossFit box will get your body moving at a high intensity. Or if you're a regular gym goer, take a break from the gym and try dance classes or an outdoor boot camp. Let your mind and body guide your exercise routine.

To increase the intensity in the gym?
That 30min, 5km/hr treadmill walk won't warm you up, but this high intensity Row-Burpees-Run circuit will:

300 metre row, 15 burpees, 300metre run. Rest 1 minute, and repeat 3 rounds of this circuit. Time your effort, and attempt it 2x per week. Try to beat your effort from the prior session. That is one high intensity cardio circuit.

For the less advanced that might want to exercise at home, try this:

100 jump ropes, 15 bodyweight squats, 15 push ups, 15 situps, and 30 second plank. Try 3-4 rounds for this full body circuit and perform at a comfortable pace.

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