Winter has a way of slowing everything down. The days are shorter (thanks sun for running away). The chill in the air is fighting whatever willpower you had to get outside. Thoughts of getting in a good workout seem like a fantasy.
The morning starts with negative thoughts as you roll out of your toasty warm bed like molasses. Your muscles are stiff as you begrudgingly shuffle down the hall. If you must vacate, you at least need coffee.
You hurry from one warm place to another throughout the day as to avoid subjecting yourself to the elements. Once you finally get home and take care of your family, every ounce of energy is gone. You crawl back into your now-cold bed and rest up to do it all over tomorrow.
When the chilly weather has sucked the life out of you, it’s hard enough to find the motivation to layer up and face the world, much less get a workout in. In the winter it’s so easy to stall your progress, or worse – causing you to backslide further away from your goals.
Here are five tips to stay motivated when the dead of winter is trying its hardest to stop you.
There’s enough that can go wrong in the course of your day to throw you off. The kids are extra needy this morning. You’re running late. There’s a bad wreck that has traffic backed up for miles. Don’t increase the odds of missing a workout by hesitating.
The snooze button is evil. If you don’t feel rested enough, the extra nine minutes isn’t going to help. Move your alarm out of arms reach from your bed. When it goes off, get up and stay up!
Snap out of scrolling. It’s so easy to get lulled into hypnotic scrolling on our phones. At some point, you realize that you aren’t even paying attention to what’s on the screen. We’ve all wasted more time than we care to admit on social media. If you’ve still got things to do (like a workout), then handle it first.
Don’t overthink it. Even if you’re genuinely committed to this journey, you will try to talk yourself out of it. Every time you convince yourself that it’s not going to happen today, it will be twice as hard next time. The moment of hesitation to second-guess yourself is all it takes. Don’t let that moment happen.
Make A Plan
What doesn’t get planned isn’t a priority. We all find ways to fill every hour of our day to the point that “busy” is the new norm and we wear it like a badge of honor. Saying “I don’t have time” is often a cover for “It’s not important enough.” Here’s a good test: Try swapping those phrases for all the things you think you’re too busy for and see if it changes your outlook.
Get it on the calendar. Find an hour somewhere in your day that you can commit to a workout. Claim that time and stick to it like an appointment. After all, this is an appointment for yourself.
Set a goal. If you can’t make it through a one-hour workout, there’s a goal. If you’re not working out five times per week, there’s another goal. You can make goals for healthy food choices. Once you have a goal, make a plan to reach it.
Know what you’re doing. Having a plan for each workout will make sure you get the most out of your time. If you struggle to know how to plan your workouts, group classes are a perfect option. The class instructor will tell you exactly what to do. All you have to worry about is keeping up!
Keep It Interesting
Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you have to be repetitive. Focus on the routine of working out, not doing the exact workout every day. Your body loves it when you mix it up.
Try different exercises. If you feel like you’ve mastered a squat, do jump squats! If dumbbell chest press is getting old, bang out some pushups (which can have a million variations). There are too many ways to target muscle groups for you to ever get in a rut.
Try different styles. Boredom is the quickest way to kill motivation. If circuit training doesn’t get you excited, try interval training instead. You can explore workouts that lean more cardio-focused or more strength-focused. You may even find yourself energized in the struggle of mastering something new.
Stay balanced. This is a more extreme example, but you can get fixated on certain workouts and end up avoiding muscle groups entirely. Whether you target specific muscle groups across multiple workouts or take a class that’s full-body each time, make sure you give your entire body attention.
Now wait a minute – you don’t think I’m suggesting you stay home and do nothing, right? Just because gyms are designed to facilitate exercise doesn’t mean a gym is required. In fact, you can get the same calorie burn at home as you do at the gym if you do it right.
As long as you keep the above tips in play, you’ll have no problem reaching your goals from home. Don’t let anything at the house distract you; this is your time, remember? Stick to your plan and get that workout in if it’s supposed to happen today. If you’re used to being in the gym, mix it up at home and surprise yourself.
It is possible to achieve significant results by working out exclusively at home. McClure Fitness Online has specific workout programs to give you the direction you need to reach your goals, the motivation to keep going, and the convenience of working out at home when the timing is right for you.
Remember Why You Started
Do you remember the moment in time when you decided, “This is it,” and committed to working out? Where were you? How did you look? How did you feel?
You have to have a purpose or else the smallest excuse will derail you. This is very much a mindset thing that the most successful people have figured out. Find your reason for getting a workout in and make it matter. If you don’t feel the urgency in your gut then look deeper – it’s there somewhere.
The common reasons I hear are health-related, self-image, and setting an example for children or loved ones. I would encourage you to dig deeper and attach something very personal and unique to you. That’s what makes it real for you.
Bonus Tip: Working out releases the feel-good endorphins you need to stay positive during a season that can be depressing for some. Think of how great you’ll feel when you finish the workout. Think of how bad you’ll feel if you skip.
I know you’d rather be hibernating – or napping a lot like Baloo (Yes, that’s a Jungle Book reference; four kids, remember?) but I promise you will be so glad you stuck with it even when your motivation was low.
Winter isn’t the most inspiring time of year to work on taking back your body. It’s hard to show off your hard work under so many layers! Just remember, you don’t get the body you want for swimsuit season by exercising the week before. Now is the time when you put in the work to get the look you want when it warms up.