8 Ways to Stay Motivated in Winter
We are officially half way through Winter! It’s freezing cold, windy, raining and dark and it becomes all too easy to turn off the alarm and roll back over to sleep in the mornings or to stay on the couch in front of the fire and TV in the evenings instead of exercising. And if you’re an outdoor exerciser it certainly becomes easy to blame the lack of daylight and the weather to not get out and train.
But Imagine it’s Spring or Summer when you finally head back to the gym or go for a run – you’re so unfit; everything hurts during the session, you can’t walk for days after and your clothes are a little more snug. You have that sinking feeling of “I should have kept training over Winter, why did I stop?” – I call this Winter Training Regret. Do away with WTR and keep training so when Spring & Summer come around you will be looking and feeling great!
Here are my top tips to keep you motivated to train during Winter:
- Don’t rely on Motivation
Motivation is an emotion. It has peaks and troughs. Generally in Summer it’s peaking and in Winter it can be non-existent. Coming to terms with the fact that you need to keep exercising in the absence of motivation is what committed exercisers do. They don’t even entertain the thought of not training. The alarm goes off they get up and go.
- Set a big Goal
Once you’ve set a big goal you no longer need to be motivated to train because you are now committed to achieving your goal. It’s now about something much bigger. At the moment I’m training for a running event so I’m out running no matter what the weather conditions – I’ve been completely unmotivated to go out and train in the freezing cold conditions but I’m determined to achieve my goal. So either find an event to train for or set a goal that means something to you – I promise you it will mean the difference between training or not on many occasions.
- Make it Easy
If you’re not a hard-core exerciser then you need to make getting to training as easy and as comfortable as possible so the chances of it actually happening increase. Make it somewhere close to home or work and somewhere warm and dry (indoors) where there’s other people to tell you what to do and motivate you. Exercise you enjoy at the right time of day for you will also increase your chances of turning up (if you’re not a morning person then 6am classes are not going to make you successful).
- Have Accountability
I love accountability. Whether it’s a personal trainer or a buddy, have someone that knows your exercise intentions and holds you accountable. Have people you pre-arrange to meet and train with. It might be a whole network of people – Monday you meet a friend for a run, Tuesday you meet a different friend at a gym class, Wednesday you meet your personal trainer and so on. Having accountability works! It’s no longer just about you, it’s now about your buddy too and you don’t want to let them down.
- Pre-Pay for training
Now I’m not just saying this because I own a PT studio! But pre-paying for training increases exercise adherence rates dramatically. No one likes wasting money. So pay upfront and lock yourself in for a program, PT or classes to help make sure you get your butt to the gym.
- Focus on how you’ll feel afterwards.
Who doesn’t love that feeling you experience after a great workout? You feel amazing, energised, mentally sharp, focused and ready to take on the world. At the other end of the scale, how do you feel when you press snooze on the alarm and then it’s 6.15am and the class started at 6am. You’ve missed your workout for the day for an extra 30 minutes sleep and then you feel guilty for the entire day! So next time you can’t be bothered training, use the discomfort of regret to get you motivated.
- Embrace the Winter weather
Ok it’s Winter, we have to accept it, but maybe we could try embracing it too. Take up skiing or snowboarding. Suddenly your gym sessions have purpose – to be a better, stronger, fitter and more balanced skier and to be able to walk into the office Monday morning after a weekend of skiing instead of crawling in. Or even get rugged up and hit the outdoors for a hike, a ride or a run – there is something quite invigorating about training outdoors in the Winter.
- Buy Winter training gear
Sometimes a new training outfit is all you need to get yourself motivated. Hook yourself up with some apparel to help you face the cold weather and not only will you look and feel better but the monetary investment should motivate you to make your purchases worthwhile. Good excuse to buy yourself a new pair of full length gym pants ladies!
As they say “Summer bodies are made in Winter”, so don’t use Winter as an excuse to drop the ball with your exercise. Happy training!