SHAPING UP: How to stay motivated during darker autumn months

Lots of people lose motivation for exercise at this time of the year.
Banish the autumn blues with Graham's top tips.Banish the autumn blues with Graham's top tips.
Banish the autumn blues with Graham's top tips.

The shorter days, darker mornings and colder nights can cause us to feel run down, low on energy and under the weather.

So, it’s no wonder that people just want to curl up in front of the fire instead of getting out and doing some exercise.

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But, that’s not going to help your fitness, your waistline or your energy levels. Being inactive will just make you feel more lethargic.

Getting your workout done will fill you full of energy. It will lift your mood and mental state and give you focus, alertness and increase your productivity.

You just have to get the motivation to get out of the house and do it.

Here’s some tips to get your motivation back and beat the Autumn blues:

Flip Your Mindset.

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Instead of moaning about the cold weather, flip your mindset… this is one of the most beautiful times of year for scenery. Embrace the Autumn colours, the crisp in the air, it’s one of the best times of the year to workout outdoors!

Treat Yourself To Some New Workout Gear

When we look good, we feel good, and we feel motivated to do a little more. So, owning activewear that you feel comfortable in is really important!

A good tip is to get your workout gear ready the night before so you can jump straight into it when you get out of bed. Or if you’re working out on n evening, get changed straight into it when you get home from work.

Make Plans

Just as with most things, setting out a plan to your goals is a great way to stay motivated. Instead of waiting for New Year's resolutions, start now to set those goals (there’s still 3 months left of 2020). Whether it's to feel better about yourself, change your body or even just de-stress. Once those goals are set, create a plan to get there even if it's just adding the workouts into your calendar – it'll give those sessions more importance. Prioritize your workouts, write them in your diary and make sure nothing stops you from getting it done.

Reward Yourself

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Giving yourself a reward can really help with motivation. If you go out for a run in the rain or complete an outdoor boot camp on a cold night reward yourself with a nice hot cup of hot chocolate and a hot bath with epsom salts to soothe your aching muscles.

Obviously, be careful if you’re rewarding yourself with food, you don’t want to go over the top and consume too many calories so that your workout is counterproductive.

Join A Challenge

Fitness challenges don’t have to be gruelling events like running through fields of mud, climbing over 8ft high walls and crawling under barbed wire. All of those events are on hold at the moment anyway. As long as the challenge gets you out of the house and gets you active then it’s worth doing.

If you’re into running there’s some great virtual running challenges online. I’ve done quite a few of them myself. You can choose your distance to cover (normally 25, 50, 75 or 100km) over the month and then at the end you submit your proof and you receive a t-shirt and medal in the post. It’s a great way to stay motivated with running. Check them out.

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If running isn’t for you, another way to stay motivated is to exercise with a group. At East Coast Fitness we are doing all of group classes outdoors at Seaham Marina. We have a limit on the attendance and all classes are socially distanced to keep it a safe environment. When you have other people around you it’s excellent for motivation! If you’d like to join us send me an email and I’ll send you all of the details. [email protected]


Maybe you haven’t got time to go to the gym. Or maybe you don’t like going to the gym at all. Either way this quick, 4-exercise workout will give you a great workout using your own body weight.






Complete 6 rounds.



TOTAL TIME: 24 hours



1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1 tbsp tamarind puree

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 long red chillies, chopped

1 lemongrass minced, green ends reserved

1 tsp vegetable oil

700g beef chuck (casserole steak), cut into 5cm pieces 3 spring onion stalks, finely sliced

400ml light coconut milk

125ml beef stock

1 cinnamon stick

To serve:

100g shredded coconut

1/2 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked


Blend the coriander, cumin, ginger, tamarind, garlic, lemongrass and chilli with a stick blender. (or pestle and mortar). Mix through the oil to create a paste and then rub it really well into the cubed steak. Wrap it up and leave it in the fridge to marinate overnight.

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Transfer the beef to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Once cooked, stir through the shredded coconut.

Divide onto four plates and garnish shredded coconut, coriander and extra sliced chilli, if you desire.

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