The weather outside is frightful and bingeing out on the latest Netflix serial killer true story seems infinitely better than dragging your cold and tired hiney to the gym. It won’t hurt to skip just one workout, right?
Not exactly, but it’s easy to let an occasional indulgence become a permanent habit. Before you let winter’s dark skies and cold temperatures steal your fitness groove, try these tips for getting motivated to stay fit even when sitting by the fire would seem more delightful.
Turn on the light
You go to work. It’s dark. You come home. It’s dark. Short days and long nights can put a damper in anyone’s fitness routine. The solution? Turn on the light!
Make turning on your light when your alarm clock goes off in the morning as natural as hitting snooze. Trouble disciplining yourself to do so? Try an alarm clock that gently lights the room like natural daylight rising. Then, make your workout the very first part of your day.
Getting your workout in first thing in the morning is a plus, anyway, as the day’s responsibilities have a way of getting in the way of later workouts. By getting your winter workout in first thing, you’ll have the energy for the morning commute, even if it’s still dark as midnight outside.
Bring a friend
Numerous studies have shown that those who work out with a buddy stick to their workout regimens better than those going solo. The very knowledge that you have a friend waiting for you to show up for Zumba is enough to get you moving off the couch despite the weather.
A friend can also help keep you accountable even on days when you don’t work out together. Agree to send each other encouraging texts any time one of you confesses that you just don’t feel like working out.
Work out at home
There are a ton of DVDs, home fitness equipment, and apps that can make working out at home the perfect way to stay fit when a blizzard is howling outside. YouTube has a ton of free videos ranging from kickboxing to yoga. Some home movie services, such as Amazon Prime, have fitness videos you can rent short-term to try them on before you buy them.
For fitness with no internet connection required, start your own TV commercial workout regimen. Each time an ad comes on, do 25 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups or 20 squats, for example. Breaking fitness down into easy-to-complete five-minute segments helps you to stay on the right track even when the temps are below zero.
Try something new
It can be challenging sticking to a routine that might be fun during warm winter months, but a bit more of a chore in winter. Instead, why not treat yourself to something new? Sign up for a round of rumba classes at your local community center. If you normally workout solo, sign up for a racquetball or basketball tournament or pick-up league at your local gym. Trying new indoor workouts that will get you sweating is the perfect way to get motivated to get out of the house.
Buy some new clothes
Keeping yourself motivated in cold weather is a bit more difficult to do than it is when the temperatures are in the 70s and the sun is shining. Why not try a little retail therapy to beat the winter blahs? But instead of splurging on a new purse or adorable new dress, splurge on some new fitness shoes or workout clothes. You’ll look so cute, you won’t be able to fight your workout urges!
If you train outdoors, investing in some cozy winter layers will keep you warm while you tackle your though winter workout. Plus, that new dress will only end up fitting you even better.
Set mini-goals to keep you on track
If despite it all, your winter workout goals aren’t going as well as you’ve planned, try setting mini-goals to get you back on the fitness track. Sign up for a fun 5k as soon as the weather turns warmer. Challenge yourself to complete a certain number of workout days per week, and reward yourself with a nice bubble bath at the end of the week. From tiny week-to-week goals to longer-term ones, the thrill of accomplishing a challenge will keep you on the right fitness track no matter how frigid the outdoor temps.
Beat the winter blues
Working out in winter is hard. But with a little planning and self-encouragement, you’ll be well ahead of the fitness bunch come spring!