This morning, my alarm went off at 5:35am, like it does every weekday. It drives my partner bananas. Even though he’s a tradie and starts work at sunrise, I’m still up earlier than he is. He calls me an exercise junkie. I call myself a mistress to habit.
Either way, it always starts the same. I allow myself five minutes to adjust to – shudder – being awake. Then I clumsily pull my activewear on and either head to my local Pilates studio, hit the pavement, or set up camp in my lounge room and get my heart rate up. Yep, even when Melbourne dips below 1 degree.
And look, I don’t mean to sound smug. But if you need a boost in the exercise motivation department right now, these are the three things that help me make it happen – rain, hail, or a serious lack of sleep.
I must preface that these tips may only be useful for morning exercisers. I’ve got nothing against night-time gym-ers, or those of you lucky enough to sneak in a yoga class at lunchtime. My energy falls off a cliff after 4pm, so working out in the AM means I actually get it done and don’t have time to talk myself out of it.
Okay, onwards. Here’s how I keep the relentless routine up, even during the coldest months.
Trust me. Once you go warm activewear, you won’t go back – especially if you prefer to exercise outside. Sure, those thin leopard print leggings you bought in the Boxing Day sales might look chic on your summer brunch dates, but they don’t keep you cosy and comfortable in the winter chill.
These are some pieces I wear on high rotation. Perfect for early morning walks, jogs, or the slog to and from your gym.
Yeah, yeah. You tried Bikram yoga when it was having a moment ten years ago, and then never again. And you know why? Because… it’s a tad boring. Not to mention long. A 90-minute class where the moves never change? Not exactly worth getting out of bed for.
But heated classes are a game changer when the weather drops. Not only does the warm studio wrap you up in a warm hug the minute you enter, heated classes have been shown to improve flexibility, nourish the skin, and reduce stress (not to mention burn more calories, if that’s what you’re aiming for).
The studio I go to delivers lightly heated reformer Pilates (21 degrees), moderately heated mat Pilates and power flow yoga (27 degrees), and a slow hot yoga flow (37 degrees), so there’s heaps of variety to keep me interested.
If you’re in Melbourne, here are two classes I recommend sacrificing a sleep in for:
This 45-minute strength class targets your arms, glutes, and core for a killer workout. You’ll use dumbbells and resistance bands to maximise the burn – prepare to get your sweat on (in the best way!)
One Hot was one of the first studios in Melbourne to offer hot Pilates classes – and this is the class that started it all. It will challenge you from head to toe and you’ll leave feeling seriously strong and balanced.
We all turned our focus to online workouts in the lockdown era, but they still have a place in today’s (slightly) more open world.
On those mornings where I can’t face the chill, or it’s raining, or I just need an extra ten minutes under the covers, I roll out my yoga mat and sweat it out at home.
There are heaps of free online workouts that will make your muscles shake, like this 30-minute full-body HIIT workout from POPSUGAR Fitness, but if you’re more into a flow style routine, Boho Beautiful has a stack of yoga, Pilates, and barre classes to enjoy.
Looking for a paid option? There are two I rate.
Barre Body online offers a range of Pilates, barre, cardio, yoga, and meditation classes. Fresh classes are dropped every week, so you’ll never get bored, and they range from beginner to advanced, meaning you can up the ante when you’re craving something tough – or take things a little slower when your body needs gentler moves.
Plus, you can try before you buy with a free two-week trial.
Price: from $40 per month
Can’t make it to a no lights, no lycra class? Get your groove on at home with Sydney Dance Company's on-demand classes. No dance experience required!
Price: $29.95 per month
In a fitness slump? Check out this article on the 5 benefits of yoga that aren’t just flexibility.