We spoke to the top athletes on campus about how to get out of bed and exercise this winter

Drag a friend along, be in pain together

| UPDATED Hide Images

With only a month left until Christmas, all I want to do is build a duvet fort and hibernate with an endless supply of carbs and Netflix. Sadly humans aren’t meant to sleep all winter, and since I’ve failed to exercise since freshers, it’s obvious that I need some serious inspiration.

So, I decided to chat to the people that know how to work out best – student athletes at the top of their game. I asked them how to motivate themselves to get out of bed when it’s freezing, and to share their killer tips on how to stay fit this winter. Bring on the knowledge.

Up to 75 per cent off at Decathlon’s until stocks last – Get it while you still can

Charlie Reed, Loughborough, National 1 Rugby

So how long have you been playing rugby?

I was dragged to a club when I was seven by my dad and I’ve played rugby ever since. Last year I played in the Premiership 7s for Sale Sharks and I’m now a National 1 rugby player at Loughborough Uni.

It must be tough in the winter though – how do you stay motivated?

I like to work out with someone because I feel like if you train on your own, you’re more likely to slack off. Although, even when I’m training with the team, I do struggle to stay motivated when we’re outside and it’s freezing. To combat this, during the winter the team are given bobble hats, which are obviously class, and I wear a thermal top and thermal leggings to make sure my muscles stay warm and I can still actually throw the rugby ball

Any advice for students that want to get fit this winter?

With so many different workouts, you should just find something that really suits you. Winter is difficult, but exercise is not only about trying to keep fit – I’ve met all of my friends through sport and exercise so it’s a great way to balance uni, fitness and a social life. It is also great for stress relief – a real motivation for going is when you just need to blow off some steam and clear your head after a busy day.

Get your winter workout essentials at Decathlon:


Don’t miss out on Decathlon’s permanently low prices – click here while stocks last

Esme Jones, King’s, Fast-track GB Rowing

Esme on the left

How did you get into rowing?

Before I started rowing, I sailed competitively as a junior and senior at the Nationals and Internationals. I got picked up by a talent ID programme after they saw me sailing and now I’m on the GB World Class Start Programme, which is amazing as it’s turned out most of the UK’s rowing gold medalists.

Rowing has a seriously tough training schedule, what’s your week like?

I have 15 sessions a week which consist of daily strength and conditioning sessions, six water sessions, and then ergs on the rowing machine. I have three sessions on a Monday, Tuesday and a Thursday, and then two sessions on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It’s pretty busy.

So how do you stay motivated now it’s getting colder and darker?

When you’re sore and always tired, it does get hard to motivate yourself, especially when it’s so freezing. However, if you want to succeed and see results, you’ve just got to get it done. The best way is to change your mindset and think, “Okay I’ve got this”, and then tick it off.

It also helps to be around friends – if I wasn’t with a group of people that I love I don’t think I’d be able to do it, so I would recommend getting a workout buddy or group together. 

Do you have any tips for uni students who want to stay fit this winter?

I’d say home workouts are amazing because even when it’s super cold, there are so many things you can do. At home you can get a solid workout in just using a towel or a mat, weights or no weights – it’s really easy. Plus, it can be a really good distraction from work!

Get your home workout essentials at Decathlon here:

Now you’re feeling more motivated, check out Decathlon’s permanently low prices while stocks last 

Jamie Praditngam, Nottingham, Professional Tennis

Photo credits: Jacek Patora

How long have you been playing tennis?

I’ve been playing tennis properly for about eight years. After A-Levels, I took a couple of years out to play on the pro tour. Since then I’ve competed in countries like Belgium, Portugal, Vietnam and Thailand.

So, what’s your weekly schedule like – I bet it’s super busy?

I usually train six days a week, about three hours a day. Two hours are on court and then an hour of strength and conditioning or fitness. I really like the intense sprint sessions as they work a bit of everything and are super time effective – all you really need is a good pair of running shoes.

Do you have any tips for people struggling to motivate themselves to get fit?

I like getting workouts over with first thing in the morning, so then you won’t have time to psych yourself out or procrastinate throughout the day. Make sure your room is going to be warm in the morning so it’s easy to get out of bed, and I like to put my alarm on the other side of the room, so it forces me to get out of bed just to shut it up. 

Home workouts are good too because it means you don’t have to leave your house. I usually do a HIIT workout where I pick five exercises and go 40 seconds on, 20 off for 4 to 5 sets – sometimes I use an ab-roller or resistance band, but it really depends on the workout.

Get fit this winter with Jamie’s go-to fitness essentials:

Decathlon’s sale continues until stock runs out – click for up to 75 per cent off

Philly Stacey, Nottingham, England U23 lacrosse

Philly on the right

Did you play lacrosse before you went to uni?

Yeah, I’ve played lacrosse for six years. I started playing at school when I was 14, and worked my way up, playing lacrosse for the England U19 team for two years and captaining them on their American tour. I’ve actually just finished my first year playing for England’s U23 lacrosse team.

Uni and training means super long days – how do you stay motivated?

It’s difficult when it gets really cold and that first step out of bed is always the hardest, so I find that laying my clothes out the night before helps and I always like to plan a really yummy breakfast for afterwards. I usually just shove on some thermals, wrap up warm in a puffer jacket and get on with it. 

Any advice for students struggling to exercise now it’s colder?

Go to classes! Usually, you have to sign up before, so that makes you more committed to go, and if you go with a friend, you’ll feel bad if you back out last minute. Plus they’re a lot more social than braving a run in winter.

Also set alarms, lots and lots of alarms so that you don’t fall back to sleep. I like to workout in my room as well – you don’t really need much equipment either, just a basic yoga mat, some hand weights and maybe a foam roller for after.

Brave the cold or ace a home workout with these Decathlon products:

Don’t get pushed into your overdraft just to stay fit – check out Decathlon, up to 75 per cent off while stocks last


Feature image, photo credits: Ana Mihajlovic