I am not sure where you are reading this from (send me a tweet and let me know!), but I am writing this from Austria. And in Austria, we get pretty cold winters. In fact, as we are already fully emerged in fall, it’s already starting to get a bit cold and I’ve busted out my beanies and scarfs already. For a lot of people, including myself, the colder months can be a bit of a downer and motivation killer. With the darker mornings and warmer blankets in bed, it’s sometimes hard to get my butt up and get moving!
Now, after having been in the fitness industry for 11 years, I might have a trick or two up my sleeve to help deal with the motivation drop. And, since I really try to limit my coffee intake after healing my hormones from prolonged birth control use, I am talking about real tips to boost motivation, not just a caffeinated beverage artificially boost you through your day and your workout.
How to stay motivated to work out when it’s cold:
1. You have to cultivate motivation and energy
I just have to put it out there that I don’t have a magic pill, mantra, drink or wand that is going to grant you copious amounts of energy to stay motivated to work out. This goes for any time of year – you have to work to cultivate your energy! As my favorite author and high-performance coach Brendon Burchard always says, “The power plant doesn’t just have energy, it has to generate it!” (or some variation of that). This is REALLY important for you to understand right of the bat.
For me, motivation cultivation starts with my morning ritual: I wake up, drink 1L of room-temp water with apple cider vinegar and lemon essential oils. If I am not working out in the morning, I do a morning energizing workout to wake up my body and I read my daily devotional in Jesus Calling. Connecting with my physical and spiritual side first thing in the morning is critical for me. This helps me reconnect with my purpose and set my intention for the day – which is mostly some variation of KICKING ASS!
If you’re having trouble cultivating motivation – grab a pen and a piece of paper and make a list of all the reasons why working out is amazing. Write down how it helps you to be a better friend, colleague, partner, daughter/son,…you catch my drift? We often time need to spend some time reflecting on the benefits or else, “It’s too cold!” and “I am too tired!” will always get in the way.
2. Put all your workouts in your calendar
If you were to look at my calendar right now, you would see all my workouts scheduled. The more you plan, the more free time you have. The more you plan out your day step-by-step, the more time you can carve out for yourself, your hobbies and some fun! You don’t just see “workout” in my calendar, you’ll see things like “Gym – Leg day (heavy)”, “Spinning class”, “Crossfit”, “Yoga.” I am super specific because it serves as my calendar but also my reference later to look back and see what I did the weeks and months before.
3. Try something new
This month I signed up for Crossfit with some of my colleagues at Runtastic. I did this specifically because I knew I was going to get bored of being back in the gym 5 days per week – and probably struggle a bit to get my warm toes out of bed in the morning. So, I put 3 Crossfit classes in my calendar per week: Monday and Wednesday evening and Friday morning. The other days I will mix in my normal runs, yoga and gym sessions (because I am addicted to leg day!).
4. Get involved in something with a group
If you need some support and accountability – join a group or form a group. It’s somehow easier to make your workout appointments when you know there are people waiting for you and looking forward to see you. Signing up for Crossfit for me was a mix of #3 and #4 – something new but with a group. So when I left the workout last night and said, “See you guys Friday morning”, it’s fixed – I am going to be there!
5. Put your training clothes right next to your bed or with you at all times
…or even sleep in them! I don’t know about you, but my workout clothes are pretty comfortable so sometimes I will sleep in them if I know I just want to jump out of bed, do my morning ritual and then head out the door for my workout. The only thing I generally don’t like to sleep in is my sports bra – so I just put that on when I wake up, add my training shirt and a jacket and I am good to go! I don’t know about you, but it takes me so long to get dressed when it’s cold. I would much rather mope around in my bedtime sweats and warm socks (which my co-workers grandma knitted for me)!
I hope these tips were useful for you and can help you power through the next season with just as much determination and motivation that you had in spring and summer. It might take some time to cultivate that energy, but stick to it! You will not regret it – I guarantee it!