I swear once the temperature outside drops it makes it incredibly difficult to find the motivation to put on workout attire, drive to the gym, and then actually work out. Plus, when it is so dark in the mornings and nights, it makes it even more difficult to build the motivation. I like to think that I am a fairly dedicated fitness enthusiast, but once the temperature drops it becomes extremely difficult even for me.
Here are some tips for motivating yourself to get your workout in even when the forces of winter are tempting you otherwise.
Work out with a friend or group
I have found it to be more difficult for me to cancel a workout if I have already made plans with someone else. There is more pressure to show up when you work out with a friend or a group. This goes for workout classes as well. If you have already signed up for a class, then by canceling you are incurring a cancelation fee as well as a lost class, and that can provide great motivation for you to follow through with your plans.
Even if you are opting for at-home workouts right now, try finding live online classes or workouts that you are able to hop on with others. There are so many all over the internet right now, plus some of them are free! Doing a virtual workout class at home can help you be motivated than just doing an at-home workout by yourself.
Sign up for fitness classes ahead of time
I am so guilty of waiting until the day of to sign up for a class, even for early morning workouts. I have noticed that when I do this, I am much more likely to never actually sign up and follow through with my workout plans. When I sign up a day or two before, it holds me more accountable. I am not someone that can plan out and sign up for an entire weeks’ worth of classes at the beginning of the week, but I do try to plan at least a few days in advance.
I have also found that I am much more likely to show up to a class rather than just telling myself that I will wake up, go to the gym, and come up with my workout there.
Prepare for your workout in advance
If you are choosing to work out in the morning, then it is a good idea to take a minute the night before to lay out the clothes + essentials that you will need the next morning. I have found that I wake up more motivated when I know I have a cute outfit laid out, my coffee ready, and all I need to do is jump out of bed and get to the car. If you are doing a mid-day or evening workout, you should get dressed and start preparing yourself to work out an hour or two ahead of time, so all you have to do when it’s time to leave is walk out the door
Utilize your lunch break
Like many people with full-time jobs, I get so frustrated during the winter, when the mornings are pitch-black and it has already started getting dark by the time work is done in the evening, because it feels like there is so much less time in the day to go work out. If you are able, utilizing your lunch break to get your workout in is a great idea. Step away from the computer and get some fresh air by going for a walk, or sign up for a workout class over your lunch break.
Not only does this help make sure you can squeeze a workout into your busy schedule, but stepping away from work and getting some time to exercise and just focus on yourself before returning to the last half of the workday is good for your mental health and productivity.
Switch up that morning alarm
Okay, this may not be something you have thought about in terms of building your motivation to work out, but consider changing your alarm to your favorite song, a catchy jingle, or whatever you think will be most effective waking you up so that you can get out of bed feeling energized for a workout. When our alarms are always stuck on the same generic ring, it becomes something of a reflex to hit snooze without even realizing it. If you mix it up every once in awhile or change it to something that brings you joy or excitement when you hear it, then you will be more likely to pop out of bed motivated for your workout.
Choose workouts you enjoy
If you are not a runner or do not enjoy running, then it is always going to be difficult for you to find the motivation to go for a run, no matter the time or the temperature outside. If cycling is not really your thing, then you are probably going to find you are lacking motivation when the time comes for that 5am ride you signed up for at your local spin studio. Find and choose the exercise activities that actually excite you versus those that you might feel obligated to do. There are so many options to get a workout in, and life is too short to be wasting your time with workouts that you do not enjoy. It is so much easier to find the motivation to go to your favorite class than it is to convince yourself to do something that you do not find joy in.
Remind yourself why you are working out
It can be hard to come home from a long day, get changed into workout clothes, and drive to the gym. It may be even harder to crawl out of your warm bed, get dressed for a workout, and drive to the gym. In those moments when you contemplate hitting snooze one extra time or putting the gym off for some for some time in the future, take a second to think about why you wanted to go to the gym in the first place.
Do you have a fitness goal you are trying to reach? Do you use exercise and movement as a tool to improve your mental health? Do you enjoy spending time with the group or friend you planned to meet for a workout?
Remember why you told yourself you were going to show up in the first place, then hold yourself accountable. That being said, you should not always push yourself to work out when you are not feeling up to it. If your body needs a rest, you are injured, or you just are not feeling up to it, then honor your body by giving it what it needs. However, when you are in good health and just lack motivation, then remind yourself why this workout is important to you and show up for yourself. It is important to know the difference between when your body needs a rest and when you just feel like resting
Give yourself grace and be kind to your body
It is harder to get and stay motivated if you do not allow yourself to rest and relax occasionally. If you are always on the go or trying to do too much in too little time, then you are going to get burnt out. This goes for working out as well. If you are not penciling in rest days or giving yourself time to allow your muscles to recover, then it is only going to be harder for you to hit your goals.
Your body works really hard and can be pushed to great lengths, but give yourself grace, listen to your body, and be kind to yourself.