Tricks to stay fit over winter

Regular morning exercise, Simple diet, Hydration, Sunshine all help.

Being involved in the surf club over summer guarantees some regular exercise since I am at the beach at least 3 times a week. Board training is Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights and Saturday afternoon, then Nippers on Sunday morning. There are also swim sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. You could very easily spend every afternoon training.

We tend to make it to the beach on Wednesday, Friday and most Saturdays, however Angus has pool swimming on Tuesday and Scouts on Thursday so these are our days off from the beach. The Nippers season goes from September to March so autumn is usually busy with trips away at Easter, School holidays and having a break from the summer schedule. Free weekends are a welcome change in autumn and this year we made use of them to go to Thredbo Mountain Biking and also had some weekends away on the motorbike with the Royal Enfield Club.

With no set training during the week over winter it’s very easy to get complacent and drop out of regular exercise. I saw this article on Five Things You Should Do Before 9am which I have been doing for a while now.

During summer I start work early to enable me to leave early and get to the beach in time for training, This time of the year (with no daylight savings) I tend to start work later and try to get things around the house done in the morning.

My routine was to get up early and do some stuff online or on my PC, Jenny would get up a bit later and make me a coffee and I would then do some work around the house or yard or cars once everyone had left the house. I would then go off to work later in the morning without breakfast and I’d have something to eat at work – usually bacon and eggs or more coffee and cakes/biscuits/muffins as i was getting hungry by mid to late morning. Eating later then affected my lunchtime appetite which would stretch out till 3pm some days which would then in-turn affect my night time eating habbits.

I changed my routine recently and have had good results. This is what I did.

Regular morning exercise

Recently I started walking the dog again of a morning.

When I get out of bed I still do my computer work until the sun is up around 600-630  but this time sans-coffee. Then I fill up a water bottle and take the dog around the block for a 1.5km 15min walk. This week I have added a bush section where i can extend the walk  to 2.5km and incorporate some trail running in an attempt to increase my heart rate. The walk was only returning about 1 to 1.5 Training Effect  which means I was between level 1 and 2 or in other words no real training benefit except moving my legs and sucking in some fresh ones.

According to Garmin

Training Effect measures the impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness. Training Effect accumulates during the activity. As the activity progresses, the training effect value increases, telling you how the activity has improved your fitness. Training Effect is determined by your user profile information, heart rate, duration, and intensity of your activity.


Heart Rate Zones are based on percentage of maximum heart rate which is 220 BPM minus your age. Zone 1 Minor is between 50%-60% , Zone 2 Maintaining is 60%-70%, Zone 3 Improving is 70%-80%, Zone 4 Highly Improving is 80%-90% and Zone 5 Overreaching is 90%-100% of maximum heart rate.
Click on View Details on the image or click here to load the workout info from  Garmin Connect

Aside from the obvious cardiovascular and aerobic fitness of trail-running the big benefit is to get off the pavement and into the bush. Another article of interest was recently shared on Facebook by Steve McLaughlin What Hiking Does To The Brain Is Pretty Amazing

This is one of the reasons I also prefer mountain biking over cycleways, dirt bikes over road riding, body surfing/ocean swimming over lap training and XC ski touring over resort skiing.

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Simple diet

Upon returning home I immediately make some breakfast consisting of either Be Natural muesli which has raisins apples grains and seeds etc or porridge with a banana and a handful of trail mix thrown in.

Making Porridge is easy, I’m not sure why they sell instant porridge? – the stuff out of the box  is pretty instant if you ask me ! See my blog  Making Porridge is Easy

I then get some food together to take to work which is not only good for you it saves me about $20 per day and means I don’t waste an hour driving to the shops and back.

For second breakfast I have some multigrain sourdough bread with vegemite and OJ, morning tea is usually a coffee with some home made muffins or biscuits and lunch is more sour-dough bread with ham and tomato along with a V8 juice. Sometimes I will take leftovers or some salad and cold meat and once a week I might get Japanese or a pizza on non training days as a treat.

It’s about time to swap menus to winter mode and incorporate some soup or stews etc. Jenny has already got the slow cooker out on a few occasions which I’m sure will give me some blog-ammo over winter…. Stay Tuned !


I fill up a bike water bottle which i take on the walk, i also use this for breakfast and take it to work to drink during the day. It’ s only 750ml but the physical presence of the water bottle forces you to make an effort to drink regularly. For me it is quite hard to force myself to drink when sitting at my desk, “they” say you should drink 8 glasses a day or 2 litres. I found this article  Recommendations by life stage and gender kindly produced by our government, that tells me if I identify as a 50-71yr old male I should drink 2.6lt per day of fluids.  Take away almost 2 litres of beer and the 750ml drink bottle seems enough !



After breakfast I try to get some tasks out of the way whilst I have some sun light as I know that after work I will not have the opportunity or the inclination. This time of year I find it difficult to leave early enough to do something after work. It’s now getting dark and cold earlier and earlier ( well until june 20th) and after 5pm there’s no point beginning a project like replacing the shocks on my bike which I did one morning  last week assisted by my helper monkey Roxy.

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Starting the day with some outdoor activity like the walk I do with the dog, then having breakfast outside ( with the dog) and then doing some chores around the yard (again with the dog) is a much better way to start the day. The trip to work is way less stressful since all the 9-5 maniacs are already at their desks having their 4th cup of coffee needed to get thru the day. The other benefit is someone else has to deal with the early morning emails, phone calls and emergencies that I would normally have to deal with.