In the past decade I’ve lived in Colorado, Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Washington state, so I know first hand motivation for working out come easily during warmer weather, even mild, sunny days over freezing, dark wintry evenings. The sun sets earlier so outdoor work-outs are grim, gyms are crowded with the New Year’s resolutions crowd, and curling up on the couch after battling freezing temperatures and precipitation is a lot more appealing than bundling up for a sweat session. You’ve got the winter work-out blues and are in need of a jump start on your motivation. Here are some tips to get you energized and knocking out your daily work-outs even on the most frigid of winter days.
Winter Excuse: The Gym is Too Crowded, I Don’t Get a Decent Work-Out
Solution: Ask the front desk when the crowds disperse then plan accordingly, even if it requires early morning or later evening work-outs.
See if your new work-out time fits into your lifestyle, i.e. you can get to sleep easily after an evening work-out, or still have time to pack the kids for school in the morning after hitting the gym early. If it’s still not doable, consider at home circuits until the crowds disperse (typically around late February), consolidating your work-outs to a corner of the gym. It comes down to remaining flexible. Claim an area with a mat, a few free weights, medicine ball, jump rope, etc and work all your muscles in a customized circuit.
If you’re using machinery, keep an eye on the next machine you’d like to use, then pick a back-up work out or machine if someone beats you to it. Don’t forget, asking to work in with someone is always an option. The key is remaining flexible and having an plethora of work-outs in the back of your mind to keep your body moving instead of idly waiting and wasting time.
Winter Excuse: It’s Too Chilly To Run Outside, and I Don’t Like The Treadmill
Solution: Layer on to burn more fat, or consider another cardio option.
Research shows running in the cold helps burn more fat thanks to your body working double time to keep you warm. (Check out this article from Shape) You’ll want to wear light layers, avoid cotton since it absorbs sweat and will cool you further, and pay attention to your extremities. Consider traction if you’re running over ice patches- ice cleats are affordable and offer a great safety layer.
Still not sold? Try out another indoor cardio option: stationary bicycle, swimming, even ellipticals. The cross training will be good for your muscles in terms of strength and recovery. Keep an eye on the weather to run any days you can tolerate, then fill in with your alternate cardio on more frigid days.
Winter Excuse: I Have Less Time in the Winter To Squeeze in a Work-Out
Solution: No you don’t.
Time management- it’s how successful people accomplish extensive to-do lists in 24 hours. If you’re spending more hours at work in the winter, then it’s time to think outside the box. Consider HIIT work-outs to get the most bang out of 20 minutes. Skip the gym and do at home work-outs to cut down on commuting time, or use your lunch time to walk around the block for some mid-day cardio. Walk up stairs and try standing at your desk. Do ab work-outs before lunch and do push-ups every time you leave a room. If you really can’t fit extra activity into your day, then really boost the heathy, clean eating. You can’t afford the doughnut if you can’t sweat it out.
Winter Excuse: I Just Don’t Feel Like It
Solution: Ask yourself why not, then work from there.
Is it blizzard conditions outside and you just want to curl up at home? Ok, then head home and shovel tomorrow. Is this the third day you just want to lounge around? Sorry, get up and do something. Try a yoga routine to get the blood gently flowing or go for a long walk. It doesn’t have to be an official work-out to count as moving your body.
You might also be in a rut. To refresh your work-outs, try out a different class, new routine, or give yourself new exercise goals to accomplish. The last option should bode well with competitive individuals.
A cozy day curled up not the couch is great once in a while, but making it a habit will decrease the routine of your work-outs. Diminish the winter work-out excuses by revamping your routine either time-wise or activity wise. If all else fails remember that the important thing is moving your body, even a simple walk is enough to reap healthful benefits. Remember, winter will eventually end, and spring will be more rewarding to those that remained active instead of dormant.