How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out When It’s Dark and Cold

How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out When It's Dark and Cold

By Jake Panasevich | Article Featured on US News

Every time fall comes around, and it gets darker and colder, I go through the same challenges: I feel lethargic and uninspired to work out. I find it harder to start the day and just as hard to attend yoga classes at night. It’s all too tempting to just put on sweatpants and stay in bed watching Netflix.

In the past, this natural tendency to slow down would send my health into a downward spiral. After a couple of weeks, those unhealthy habits would gain momentum and I would gain weight, feel stressed and begin to lose some of my confidence. But now that I’m aware of my pattern of self-destruction during this transition into the winter, I face it head on. I change my game plan to stay motivated, light and fit. Here are a few techniques I’ve found work:

1. Set specific goals.

Get clear on what you want and set straightforward goals. A good goal might be to work out five days a week for three months straight. Performance-based goals are also fun and helpful to keep you on a healthy track. Five minutes of non-stop bear crawling, 25 pushups or 100 sun salutations are all good landmarks to shoot for, depending on your fitness level. Write your goals on a piece of paper and post it somewhere where you can see it every day, like your computer screen or on your refrigerator. The aim is not to be perfect, but to be better.

2. Reverse engineer.

Once you have a very specific vision set, map out the steps you need to take to get there. If your goal is to work out in the mornings during the week, you’ll need a complete identity overhaul, since the change will affect your relationships and your day-to-day life. You will have to ask yourself, “What does someone who rises early to workout do?” You will have to consider going to bed earlier, eating dinner earlier and skipping the late-night snack so you wake up energized. Whatever your goal, go through each obstacle that’s likely to arise and construct solutions that are doable. Maybe you cannot get to bed by 10 p.m. every night, but you can get to bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Start there.

3. Work out with a community.

If you are serious about staying fit in the winter, you need to be held accountable. Find someone who is willing to be your workout partner and who will be truthful with you when you are on the cusp of quitting or skipping your routine. Develop a system in which you text or call one another the day before to make sure you are both on the same page for the next day. Another great way to stay on course is to work out in group classes, such as yoga, CrossFit or a running club. Many people find they perform better and more passionately when they are also working with others and for something greater than themselves. People tend to get more out of the process, and are willing to push through the tough moments knowing that others are going through the same thing.

4. Get invested.

A great way to make sure you make it to the gym when you feel stuck is by making a financial investment in your wellness. Think about how much you spend on other luxuries like your social life and cable television. For three months, cut back on some of the other conveniences and focus on your well-being. Consider a trainer or a series of one-on-one yoga sessions to keep you on track during the winter. The extra money invested will demand that you show up regularly. Your personal trainer or teacher may even be willing to work with you at your home. This setup will hold you to your regimen and help you advance more seamlessly.

5. Mix it up.

If you feel like you’re in a rut, try something new. If you love the challenge of a good run but don’t feel up for running outside in the dark, try something like rock climbing. It’s similar to running in that you can measure your progress and build up your stamina, but it’s an entirely different style of exercise. A simple change of scenery could spark a whole new excitement toward fitness.

6. Challenge yourself.

Another way to stay motivated is to sign up for a fitness challenge. Yoga studios will often offer a 30-day challenge for new students. They may display a poster in the studio on which you can check off every day that you attend class. If you cannot find a challenge-based program, be creative. Start your own challenge with a group of friends or ask the owner of the gym or studio if you can organize one. A little challenge gives you something to shoot for when you feel like you need a boost.

7. Work out at home.

At some point, everyone needs to develop a home practice. Life happens, and there will be times when you won’t be able to leave your house. If all else fails, there are many ways to get a workout in at home, including by turning to limitless online resources. You can search YouTube for free classes or subscribe to membership sites like YogaGlo. After you get into the habit of working out at home, it becomes easier to do. Even just moving around for 15 minutes is better than nothing. For example, you can do 25 pushups, situps, squats and jumping jacks and repeat that cycle three times. Try something simple like a body-weight callisthenic workout that’s efficient and easy to complete anywhere. Spring will be here in no time.


If you’re looking for pilates in Hillsboro, Oregon, look no further than Balance Massage + Core Fitness Studio. We are a fully equipped massage and fitness practice located in downtown Hillsboro. Our core fitness studio features STOTT Pilates®, the gold standard in Pilates training, using specialized equipment. We offer 20 group fitness classes per week, including Zumba, Zenga, and Total Barre, as well as private instruction from our highly qualified team. Much of our massage practice is focused on injury recovery, relief from pain, and car accident and workers compensation rehabilitation. We also provide a variety of massage treatments purely for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Whether you enjoy the attention of one-on-one private training, or the excitement of a group fitness class, Balance Massage & Core Fitness Studio has the right training options to help you meet your fitness, physical therapy, and relaxation goals.

Balance Massage and Core Fitness Studio

Address
233 SE Washington Street, Suite 103
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123

Phone: 503.352.9685
Email: info@balance-mf.com