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Winter Training: Staying fit without leaving the house

27th September 2016 Print

As the colder weather falls in, fitness can quickly go out the window. Most people spend the first part of winter tucked up in their homes sipping hot chocolate, or nestled in the pub enjoying some festive beers. 

Unfortunately, this can result in weight gain, a loss of fitness and a lack of motivation. Then the New Year comes around and you’re suddenly rushing to the gym to try and regain the fitness you’ve lost. 

It doesn’t have to be this way! Training in the winter is as simple as devising a simple home routine that hits all the major muscle groups and kicks your fitness into overdrive. If you don’t even have to leave the house, what excuse remains?


Winter’s a time for comfort food. There’s no denying that, but limiting the harm you do is fairly simple. Firstly, you’ll want to start counting calories. Use a tool to work out your ‘maintenance’ level (the amount of calories your body burns at rest. This depends on a number of factors). Then use an app like MyFitnessPal to log what you eat. As long as you don’t exceed your calories, you can eat whatever you want.

You’ll want to keep up your intake of fruits and vegetables throughout winter – but the cold can make them seem unappealing. Start experimenting with roasted vegetables such as courgettes and peppers to spice things up, make stews that contain plenty of veg and have a few ‘healthy’ twists on Christmas dinner using the vegetables and plenty of lean protein.

Of course, you’ll want to keep your protein intake up – so invest in some protein drinks to get more of the nutrient without the extra calories. 

Working out

You can perform plenty of exercises without a single piece of equipment, but you’d also be surprised at how many options exist in the home. Our winter routine will use the following:

- Chair: Sit down on the chair, scoot your bum off and hold yourself with your hands. From here, perform a tricep dip. 

- Towel: Stand on a towel and gather up two opposite corners in each hand. From here, shrug upwards to perform resisted shoulder shrugs. 

- Stairs: Great for sprints. Run as fast as you can to the top, carefully jog back down. 

- Pull up bar: if you buy anything for your home, this is one of the best pieces of kit to have. Install one in your doorframe and start working on your pulling power. 

To get the most from your routine, you’ll want to hit at least two or three home sessions a week. These should take no more than 20 minutes each and focus on muscle gain as well as cardio. Here are three ‘blocks’ of exercises to perform. You can drop the amount of reps in each set if you’re struggling. (Such as replacing 20 with 10.) 

Day A – Upper Body:

- 3 x 20 press ups (Perform from knees if a full press up is too difficult)

- 3 x 10 ide arm pull ups (If you struggle, jump up into each rep and then slowly lower yourself)

- 3 x 10 chair dips

- 3 x 10 towel shrugs

- 3 x 10 burpees

Day B – Lower Body

- 3 x 10 stair sprints

- 3 x 20 bodyweight squats (make sure you squat deep to engage more muscles)

- 3 x 10 calf raises

- 3 x 10 jump squats

- 3 x 2-minute wall sits (back against wall, squat down and hold the position)

Day C – Cardio 

- 3 x 10 burpees

- 3 x 10 stair sprints

- 3 x 10 star Jumps

- 3 x 10 tuck Jumps

None of these exercise days will take you much longer than 20-30 minutes, so they’re optimal for staying both warm and active in the winter. You don’t need to even think about leaving the comfort of your home. Make sure you keep your protein intake high throughout the winter as it can be easy to forget about good nutrition. Buying some whey protein powder in bulk gives you a readily-available supply that’s easy to add in to your daily diet.