How to stay motivated to work out in winter

How to stay motivated to work out in winter

How to stay motivated to work out in winter

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In winter, the cooler temperatures and shorter days often mean it’s hard to stay motivated and stick to your workout regimen. But winter doesn’t need to be an exercise spoiler. Follow these tips to stay motivated, fit and most importantly, warm, this winter.

If you’re exercising outdoors, it’s important to dress for the elements, explained Anytime Fitness National Fitness Manager Kate Allott. “It’ll help you avoid illness and injury to keep warm and allow your muscles to cool down properly afterwards.”

Allott’s advice? Avoid heavy jackets and cardigans. Look for warm gear that’s also super light – like thermals or windbreakers, and headwear or beanies to keep your head warm. “You want gear you can take off and carry with you when you warm up and put back on quickly when you cool down,” she said. Also, by taking away the feeling of being cold and uncomfortable before and during your workout, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated.

Try warmer workouts

When your body is craving warmth, give it what it wants in a way that is enjoyable and helps keep you fit. “By introducing exercises like hot yoga, changing your outdoor swimming to swimming in a heated indoor pool or adding a sauna session into your exercise regimen, you’re going to want to go to training and you know you’re going to feel warm and good afterwards,” Allott said.  

Change up your exercises

Changing up your exercises in winter wards off boredom and keeps you progressing towards your fitness goals without hitting the dreaded plateau.

“Our bodies adapt to use the least amount of energy as possible in the exercises we’re doing, so the more you change your exercises and shock your body, the more results you’re going to get,” Allott mentioned. “It’ll also keep your brain engaged with exercising.”

Tip: If you do a lot of solo resistance or cardio training, swap it out for group exercise. According to Allott, having a coach and other people in your class is enjoyable and the social aspect is extra motivation to work out.  

Plan ahead

It’s always good to have a plan to help you avoid the urge to skip training when motivation fades.

Packing your workout bag the night before is a great way to plan ahead and removes another excuse. Another way is to book yourself into a class ahead of time, so you feel obliged to go and can mentally prepare yourself. “You’ll know what you’re going to do in your training session the next day and aren’t just showing up to train without a plan,” Allott said.

Swap outdoor for indoor

If training outdoors is your thing, there’s an exercise equivalent indoors. A lot of the newer machinery can replicate outdoor training.

“For example, runners, cyclists and rowers now have machines that allow them to do interval training,” Allott said. You could also trade Boot Camp for circuit-style workouts within a club. Or if the gym isn’t an option, try body weights at home with the help of apps.  

Example workout plan

Allott recommended the following winter workout plan to combat a lack of motivation (sample week):

Day Workout
Mon (upper body) 1.     Body weight exercises:

  • Rower (3 mins steady pace)
  • Push ups 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Triceps dips 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Walking plank 3 sets of 15 reps

2.     Heated yoga or circuit class

Wed (lower body) 1.     Body weight exercises:

  • Bike – 30 second intervals for 5 mins
  • Squats (option to add load) 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Walking lunges (option to add load) 3 sets of 12 reps each leg
  • Glute bridge 3 sets of 12 reps

2.     Sauna 15 mins (optional)

Fri (full body) Indoor swimming 20 mins or:

1. Burpees 4 sets of 12 reps

2. Barbell squat to press 3 sets of 15 reps

3. Core exercises 3 sets of 30 secs each: prone hold (plank) and mountain climbers