Working out in the winter months can test the willpower of even the most hardcore of fitness fanatics. When the weather outside is frightful, staying in the warmth of your home can be more appealing than venturing out, it can be tough to stay motivated to workout in winter.
I write this on a Monday night in December, usually the busiest night of the week in the gym….but not tonight. It’s -5 degrees outside with a layer of snow, so I guess people can be forgiven for not risking that trip to the gym. However, this quiet period is actually a common occurrence throughout the winter months where people no longer have a summer holiday to look forward to and a beach body they’re working to sculpt.
We often justify eating more crap than usual, telling ourselves that it’s fine, it’s winter, everyone does it, winter bulking, right? And as for cardio? That often gets a knock on the head until the spring. Throw in Christmas eating and drinking and you have a serious recipe for body fat, low energy and feeling pretty low about yourself.
Winter shouldn’t be that way, Christmas time should be enjoyed and you should be able to enjoy food and drink what you want. But if you want to feel and look great in the winter, it’s important to keep your standards high and not let that all the hard work you did in the summer waste away!
I like to eat and drink a lot at Christmas as much as anyone, but I also like to look and feel my best so I make sure I just step up my gym game throughout the holiday season!
Here are 7 ways to stay motivated to workout in winter:
- Embrace the cold weather. Whether it’s running, hiking, mountain biking, or outdoor bootcamps, there’s loads of ways to keep active in the winter just like any time of year. The hardest thing is always starting and getting yourself out there, but you know fine well once you start going you’ll be fine. So instead of resigning to a few months of looking at your living rooms walls, why not check out some beautiful scenery, see what’s out there? Just remember the feeling you’ll have after a challenging run or hike, that amazing feeling of accomplishment!
- Buy yourself new workout gear. There are few better ways to motivate you to go to the gym or workout than getting new gear. There really is some amazing winter workout gear from loads of different brands, so there’s no excuse to say it’s too cold. Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Gymshark, MyProtein all do training bottoms, running tights, long sleeved training tops and loads more!
- Set goals and make a plan. We’re far more likely to follow through if we write out goals down. Make a plan to hit the gym a number of times a week or go for a few runs, or even get more specific and say you want to get visible abs within a few weeks. Setting goals in the winter months will keep you motivated, and have the knock on effect that you’ll start to take more notice of what foods you’re eating, and maybe make you think twice about that second piece of cake!
- Find a workout wingman. Having a workout wingman will help keep your standards high, it’s hard to slack off when you have your buddy keeping watch. A workout wingman will make you accountable, if you schedule workouts or runs with a friend you’re less likely to cancel plans, and they’ll push you further and harder in your workouts. A good wingman won’t let you slack off and will be an excellent way to motivate you throughout the winter.
- Fix yourself a playlist. What tunes get you feeling pumped? House music, RnB, heavy rock, trance, whatever it is, if it’s upbeat and puts you in a good state then get in on your playlist. If I’m working out alone the difference in my motivation to push harder and heavier is far greater if I’m listening to a good motivational playlist!
- Embrace the living room workout. You don’t have to leave the house to stay fit and healthy. OK this goes against what I was saying about getting yourself outside, but sometimes it’s just not possible. You have children, your dogs sick, you’re snowed in, shit happens. Being able to workout at home means you have no reason not to stay in good shape in winter time, whether you have a fitness DVD, watching fitness workouts on YouTube, or just doing press-ups and situps in your living room there’s always a way to keep active!
- Imagine how you want to look by Spring/Summer. Having a longer term goal will help you stay motivated to workout in the winter. If you think by spring you want to have a certain level of body fat, or be able to have a six pack then you’re more likely to follow through on your winter workouts and watch what you eat. There’s no worse feeling then getting to March or April and feeling like you’re flabby, pale and lethargic and feeling like you have a mountain to climb for the summer.
Working out in the winter shouldn’t have to feel like extra effort, it can be enjoyable and exciting if you mix it up, have a positive attitude and always remember your long term health and fitness goals.
I want to look and feel good all year round and be ready for anything that comes my way, whether it’s a running event, swimming, socialising or going on a date, staying motivated to workout will help you achieve this!
Getting enough greens is important all year round, but we neglect our diet more in the winter months when we need our greens the most! Check out this article on the health benefits of green superfoods.