Freezing in London

You shouldn’t complain about training in the cold weather. Try doing the same in a London winter, says our Europe correspondent, former Sydneysider Kate Evans.

There are some amazing things about living in London: it’s fun, fast-paced and full of culture. However, this high-speed lifestyle is weighed down (literally) by the legendary “Heathrow Injection” — the weight one inevitably gains when one migrates to London.

It’s mostly due to the hectic lifestyle that leads to people eating mostly takeaway and fast food. Needless to say, all the weight I lost when training at Fitness First in Australia came straight back on.

I decided I needed to recommit to training, but let me tell you, it was just so damn cold!

I was in North America over Christmas, where it was hitting -20°C, and somehow London was worse. Exercising means putting a puffer jacket on top of your exercise gear. It’s like a sauna in there — you’re slick with sweat, but run without it and you’ll freeze. The same goes for a good pair of gloves. If you ever want to feel your fingers again, never forget to put on gloves. Also, if there’s snow or rain… bedroom exercise it is!

So here’s what I did to get fit in a London winter:

1. I went running in the morning

I set an alarm for 6am, another one for 6.30am and another for 6.45am, because nothing is harder than going for a run when it’s cold and dark. My current flat is right near Primrose Hill, so I chose to train and run up it. It’s a slowly steeping hill, so you can feel all smug when you finally reach the top and get a beautiful, panoramic view of central London at sunrise.

2. I joined a local netball team

Even when the ball is down the other end of the court, you still have to jump around to stay warm, so that’s a huge amount of cardio in one game. The only problem is that lots of games end with a drink at the local pub and a plate of cheesy fries with gravy to warm up. Despite this, it’s still a great way to stay fit in winter!

3. My roommate and I made an effort to explore some of London’s bigger parks

Both Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath required an entire day each to explore because, well, they’re huge. To congratulate ourselves on the 31,000 steps over the 20km we walked exploring these two parks, we went for a Sunday roast — Scotch eggs are amazing, and Brits need to stop pretending that Yorkshire pudding is nice. It’s not.

4. On some mornings it was just too cold to leave my flat, so I did a weight-free gym circuit in my room

Thanks to my lovely ex-PT, who I annoy every so often, and the internet, I devised a circuit to do in my room. Lunges, squats, push-ups, wall sits, bicycle crunches, planks — exercises that can be done in a minimal amount of space. This was going great until I got a text from my roommate, who heard the noise coming from my room and thought I was being robbed.

Now that it’s getting warmer — I’ve seen the sun at least twice this week — training will be much easier. An Australian winter slowing your training? Don’t make me laugh.