Top 12 fitness trends to keep you going this winter

By gemmacreagh - Last update

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November is that time of year when any semblance of a diet has a tendency to fly out the window. Biscuit/sweet tins are a permanent fixture by the work kettle. We’re on the cusp of Christmas Party season, where every group of friends you’ve had since primary school is planning a dinner/drinks meetup. The advent calendar is a chocolatey countdown to gluttony and your gym time is curtailed by commitments, work deadlines and hangovers.  All this, teamed with bad weather and impossibly short days, does not bode well when it comes to feeling dapper in your New Years’ clobber. Here at, we’ve compiled a handy list to help keep your fitness on track this winter.

1. Yoga

We’re not talking about gentle stretching on a mat and a few breathing exercises. You can forget about child pose or downward dog; yoga done properly is tough, grueling and rewarding. Try maintaining Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana) for more than a hurried few seconds. Add heat? You’ll certainly feel it the next day. Doing yoga regularly helps you achieve both increased core strength and flexibility. Maintaining those two are vital when it comes to avoiding injury in other exercises. There’s nothing that hinders your fitspo goals quite like a dickie knee. You’ll improve your posture, and help alleviate stress in the process. Offset any unhealthy habits and strike a pose. Search a list of local yoga courses now.

2. A Workout Buddy

When it comes to maintaining a fitness regime, accountability is key. You are far more likely to cancel or procrastinate if your only workout partner is your iPhone. Finding a buddy has more fitness benefits than you think. Firstly, it’s more fun; also, if you are going for a run/hike outdoors it’s safer. A competitive friendship is great for spurring on extra progress and if you find your motivation waning, you can always rely on that external support. Perhaps all your friends are busy? Then a personal trainer is a great option if you have the funds.

3. Resistance Training

Do you lift, bro? Any exercise where your muscles contract because of external resistance is called, shockingly enough, resistance training. This external force could be anything: weights, kettlebells, ropes, bricks, shopping bags, your own body weight, needy toddlers or whatever object causes those muscles of yours to contract. When it comes to training, there’s a whole host of styles, personalised programmes and cool gyms on offer, but at the end of the day, the basics are the same. Just make sure when you’re start off, that you have guidance to avoid the potential for injury.

4. Hiking

Twenty minutes of brisk exercise outdoors has the same effect on your mood as antidepressants. Put a spring in your step, and then add more steps to your spring! Hiking is an excellent and cheap way to stay fit; it’s a fun social activity and we are lucky enough to live in a country rich in natural beauty which you can enjoy on your fitness journey. And that’s not all. Hiking can help your brain solve problems; it boosts memory and even helps you think more creatively. This form of activity is good for heart health but not half as strenuous on the joints as running. Check out walking clubs in your area here.

5. Self-defense

Get fit and kick ass at the same time. There’s a wealth of options out there when it comes to self-defense. You can get motivated with Muay Thai, take Taekwondo, bone up on your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kill fat with kickboxing or Krav Maga – the options are plentiful and they all have serious health benefits. Work on your fitness, conditioning, poise, and confidence. And best of all? Instill fear on those around you. Click here for a comprehensive list of self-defense classes now.

6. Climbing

Reach new heights when it comes to your health. Rock climbing, or wall climbing, is a total body workout. From your glutes, through to your core and biceps – spend an hour doing this and you’ll certainly feel it the next day. If outdoors in this damp winter weather doesn’t sound too appealing, there’s a number of cozy indoor wall climbing centers across the country. They cater for all abilities: kids and beginners, right up to ninja-cat level climbers.

7. MyFitnessPal

Track absolutely everything; your weight, your exercise, your water intake, your nutrition. You can log in with Facebook and compare your progress with friends. You can even opt for the premium version ad free if it takes your fancy. The food database on this programme is expansive. Most chain restaurants will have the caloric and nutritional breakdowns of their menu on there, and you can scan any food with a barcode to avoid the arduous hassle of looking it up.

8. HIIT training

High-intensity interval training: there’s a mountain of science behind why this type of exercise has taken the world by storm in recent years. Apparently, this anaerobic interval training uses the body’s reserves of energy and, after a workout, your metabolism stays elevated. Even after a few intense bursts of exercise, you will continue to burn calories and reap the rewards, even if your next activity is a Netflix binge.

9. Dogs

Paws for thought? These four-legged, furry friends are excellent for your well-being. Studies have shown that having a dog increases heart health, improves stress levels, boosts your immune system and they are adorably cheeky to boot. A fluffy walking companion could fall into the category of workout buddy too, as depending on the breed. You have ample incentives too, as an un-walked pooch can be very destructive when it comes to furniture. Dogs are excellent company, and a great excuse to be social and active no matter what the weather.

10. Keto

This programme is quite similar to the Atkins plan, and has taken the fitness community by storm. The Keto diet massively restricts your intake of carbohydrates, sending your body into ketosis. This means you will burn fat and not ingested calories. While your food options are limited, this is the one diet where hunger isn’t an issue. Common breakfast options include cheesy eggs with bacon, and dinner could easily be buttery green beans and a rich, bloody steak. It’s important to look after nutrition on a programme like this, and it’s certainly not a long-term option, but it will get you results. And fast.

Search sports nutrition courses near you now.

11. Obstacle Courses

We’re not talking about a jaunty 5k, where you jog through a few tyres and scale a knee-high fence. Nope. Hell and back, Tough Mudder and Runamuck are kilometer after kilometer of pure torture. You might be shot at, electrocuted, crawl through silage, dodge barbed wire, you’ll have to wade through muddy lakes or icy cold puddles. These are endurance tests where you’ll push every muscle in your body to the brink. The training prep for a course like this is simple: absolutely everything.

12. Patience

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Fitness takes time and tenacity. If you do 4 crunches after eating an entire medium pizza and side portion of wedges with garlic mayo, you aren’t going to suddenly achieve abs akin to Katie Taylor. Realistic, achievable goals; benchmarking your successes; and small manageable changes are how to maintain your fitness journey.  And most importantly, if you fall off the proverbial wagon, get right back on. Your future self thanks you in advance.



Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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