Unless you happen to live somewhere without seasons—we’re looking at you, Miami guys—winter can get chilly. And our primitive, basic response to a chill in the air is to hunker down into a pile of blankets, watch the game, and eat soup. These instincts are great for making us feel cozy and generally better about the cold, gray world, but they do nothing for our fitness plans. Especially during the holidays, with creature comforts like pumpkin pie, cookies and roasted meats wait for us at every turn. So how do we get up and work out every day, when we really just want to stay in our fleece jammies by the fire?
Hang in there! We’ve got five great tips to help you stay motivated through the winter months, and come out on the other side feeling fit and happy, instead of pudgy and guilty.
1. Keep your eye on the prize. Remember that summer—and pool and beach weather is just around the corner. If you want to be able to take your shirt off poolside without embarrassment, you have to get moving now. Find a photo of yourself looking your fittest and set it next to your alarm clock. When you’re tempted to hit the snooze button, you’ll remember what you’re working for.
2. Wear appropriate clothes when you exercise outdoors. Invest in a winter workout wardrobe. Just knowing that your clothes look good, feel good, and will keep you adequately warm may be motivating enough to take that job.
3. Experiment with hiking in the snow, snowboarding, or inline skating. If you find a winter sport you really love, you’ll actually look forward to the season, and to getting in some season-specific exercise.
4. Find indoor sports. Joining a gym that offers “summer” amenities like an indoor pool, basketball court or volleyball court might inspire you to work out more often, especially if you find a group of buds to regularly hang out with. You can also use the winter months to challenge yourself to learn a new skill indoors, such as rock climbing, martial arts or racquetball. You never know—you may find a new sport you love and can do all year round.
5. Practice accountability. Buddy up with another less-than motivated friend, and agree to hold each other accountable. Make a commitment to work out together, or make a bet as to who can stay most committed to their workout routine. Or, sign up for a class with an instructor or sessions with a personal trainer. If you’re paying to be there, and someone else is