Sweater Weather? More Like Sweat(i)er Weather! 6 Ways to Stay Motivated to Work Out During Winter

Winter is upon us.  And far too often sweater weather wreaks havoc on our sweat sessions.  Those resolutions of a fitter you go by the wayside and times of comfort in your own home take over.  So how in the world is one supposed to stay motivated when the temperature is dropping?  Check out these tips on how to keep up your fitness regimen even during the cold, dark days of winter. 

  1. Stay accountable.  One of the biggest reasons why people fall off the fitness bandwagon is that they aren't staying accountable.  Work with a family member or close friend and tell them what your goals are.  You want to work out 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday?  Ask them to check in with you about your goals on those days, and do the same for them.  Be honest with each other!  Did you really do your workouts this week?  Did you really eat healthy?  If you have someone who you can report back to, you're more likely to keep the promises you make to yourself.
  2. Set a goal for Spring.  This might seem like a common practice - setting the goal of a "leaner you by the time the weather warms up."  And that's a great goal to have!  But is it specific enough to achieve?  When setting goals, try the S.M.A.R.T. approach:
    • S - Specific.  What exactly is it you want to achieve?  Where and when are you going to do this and will you be doing it with anyone?
    • M - Measurable.  So you have a goal.  How will you know it's completed? Make small enough goals (e.g. attending a fitness class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) toward an overarching goal (e.g. losing 20 pounds by March) and measure your steps along the way.
    • A - Attainable.  So you want to lose weight or tone up by spring.  Okay.  But can you really do that with just that goal in mind?  Set incremental steps along the way to help yourself achieve the larger, more complex goals.  (e.g. Instead of wanting to lose 20 pounds in 5 months, say you'll lose 1 pound per week.)
    • R - Relevant.  Are your goals relevant and meaningful to your life and what you want to do?  If you don't set relevant goals, it's likely they'll fall off your radar sooner. 
    • T - Time-bound.  Okay, so we know you want to lose weight by spring (sort of time-bound).  We even know you might want to lose 20 pounds by March (getting closer).  But how about actually picking a date - an actual day on the calendar - by which to have your goal completed (closest)?  Example: "I will lose 20 pounds by March 25, 2015."
    • And remember to write them down!  Keep them in plain sight where you can review them daily and remind yourself what it is you want to accomplish.
  3. Grab a friend. I'm sure there's someone in your life that you talk with about "not wanting to gain all that weight back this year" or "really needing to find time to get to the gym."  Well, why not go together?  Set a date, a time, and have a plan for going to workout together.  It's a fact that if you have a workout buddy, and you hold each other accountable (back to tip #1), you are far more likely to keep your promise of getting to the gym or that fitness class you've been "wanting to try."  Not to mention having someone to experience a new class or gym setting with means you won't have to go it alone.  So go try it!
  4. Chronicle your workouts.  Keeping a record (journal, pictures, or both) of your workouts, and how they made you feel can do wonders to boost your motivation to get active when you don't feel like it.  Take progress pictures.  Write down all the positive emotions you feel right after a workout.  Refer back to them when you need a boost and you'll likely be able to remind yourself WHY getting up and moving is a great idea.
  5. Try something new.  A new addition to an old fitness routine can liven up your regimen and help keep you motivated to work out.  Is there a new class you've been wanting to try?  Bootcamp?  Kickboxing?  HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?  What about a new exercise or workout that you heard about or saw online?  Try it!  Include tip #3 and you've got nothing stopping you!
  6. Workout indoors!  This is one of my favorite tips.  You don't have to actually leave your home to get a good workout.  This is great for those snowy, sub-zero days when getting to the gym or to your class might actually be impossible due to weather.  If you have floorspace in your home, you have a gym.  There are so many exercises you can do with just your body weight alone.  If you have other household items, like a chair or a towel, you can easily amp up that workout in no time.  Check out this at-home chair circuit workout you can do right in your living room (or anywhere you have room).  Throw on your favorite tunes to get you pumped up and get ready to sweat!

I hope these tips will help keep you motivated to choose the sweat(i)er option during the sweater weather months!  Are there any tips that YOU have that keep you working out during sub-optimal times?  Share them in the comments section so we can all benefit and get our sweat on to keep warm, healthy, and happy!  Any questions or comments?  Submit those below, too!  As always, please share this blog and get the word out that we can all be active when it's cold outside.  Until next time, have a great week!