Awesome Winter Workouts you can do from your Couch

Ah, the irony of winter. We want to stay warm, but outdoor exercise seldom motivates us to do so. Here are some winter workouts - celebrity favourites included - to do within the warmth of your home.

“I think a lot of people feel that they are going to be all rugged up for the next three months so they can skip out on their training as they are not showing off any skin,” notes Lauren Hannaford, former elite gymnast turned health and fitness professional.

“I see things differently,” she adds. “You have three months until spring to work on the body of your dreams! You don’t want to get to September and feel stressed and unhappy because you have undone all of your hard work from last summer!”

She has a point. Winter is the perfect time to prep your spring/summer body. But don’t step outside. Hand weights, Pilates and Yoga DVDs or weight-resistant exercises can prove the answer! Now, for the motivation....

Mix it up

“I try to make sure that I change things up and keep things fun for clients while still adhering to their goals,” says Lauren, who is also a personal trainer. “I find that if the workout feels more like a fun activity then they are more likely to show up because they are excited to do something fun, rather than feel like they need to be there to lose weight or for a certain benefit that they feel they need to work on.” So, if you start to get bored, change things up by trying a new training style or choose a fitness related activity that you would like to master," she suggests. 

Clear the mind, regardless of the climate

“Being able to maintain a consistent training schedule in winter will not only help to keep you on track, but it also shows strength of character which I think is something that would show over a number of aspects in your life!” Lauren encourages.

Don’t overheat, don’t overeat

If you choose to exercise indoors, don’t crank up the heater in the hope of sweating more calories. Lauren advises that 20-23 degrees is best, “but it really depends on the facility, how many people are training at certain times, if there are windows or no windows,” she notes. Some ventilation is always advisable, so crack a window open once you start to feel the heart rate rise. Also, opt away from comfort foods if your fridge is in close proximity post-workout. If you need something heartier than a salad, try a soup, or if the sweet-tooth beckons, go for a chai latte or hot chocolate, rather than the entire block!

Lauren's top indoor workouts

  • Front support holds into pushups with your feet raised on the couch or the edge of the bed. "Make sure your arms are straight and your hands are flat. Squeeze your bottom and engage your core," she urges. "Do three sets of 45 second holds and then go straight into five pushups in between each set."

  • Mountain climbers: From plank position (arms straight and shoulders should stack on top of your wrists) pull one knee towards your chest at a time as quickly as possible. "Three sets at 45 seconds each here," suggests Lauren. 

  • Frog push ups on your couch, bed or coffee table: "Get your hands as close to the couch as possible and your hips as high in the air as you can. Make sure your arms start straight and strong with your shoulders stacked over your wrist. Now do a pushup towards the ground, only go as deep as is safe and comfortable for you," she cautions. Repeat three sets of ten repetitions.

Why this workout works

All you need is either a couch, bed or coffee table! “This is a full body workout. The front hold supports will work your core and improve your stability,” says Lauren. “I would do a workout like this around three to four days per week, plus a few days of cardio.”

Celebrity favourites

Pilates: Got a DVD player and a little space? Then you have no excuse not to tone your core within metres of the couch. Pilates is the ultimate indoor activity in winter that – over time – has honed celebrities including Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bullock.

Barre Body: The fusion of Ballet, Pilates and Yoga to promote and hone a longer, leaner physique akin to a Ballet dancer as devotees Drew Barrymore and Natalie Portman can attest. 

Yoga: A favourite for new mothers, some quiet time to reinvigorate and recalibrate the mind and body can be further enhanced with a Yoga app. It will keep you sane and svelte all at the same time, just ask Giselle or Miranda Kerr.

Hand Weights: You don’t need dumbbells to jump on this training trend. Simple cans of food are the rudimentary way to tone biceps, triceps and shoulders. Fans include Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna.

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