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As winter approaches and times change, the early sunsets can mean that your motivation to hit the gym might also set earlier. It would be great if we could maintain a state of constant motivation, but the truth is that it can be difficult to focus on your health and fitness goals when your energy levels have hit the bottom.
You’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to adjust to the time change. In fact, it’s built into our biology. As the seasons change, so do our circadian rhythms. And this seasonal circadian shift not only affects when we sleep, but also when we have energy. In other words, staying healthy during the winter may mean adjusting your fitness habits.
Knowing this, I’ve compiled a list of my top Si tips for staying motivated during these darker months, so you can focus more on keeping fit — and less time worrying about your workout stays on the track.
Find an accountability partner
Finding an accountable partner is one of the best ways to stay consistent and stay on track to achieve your health and fitness goals. It’s one of the many reasons I love our Start TODAY Facebook group. There you will find that 120,000 friends are ready to cheer you on. But you can also look around for personal partners.
This can be someone you exercise with, a personal trainer, or a family member or friend who is also striving to achieve their health goals. Let’s be honest – it’s easy to cancel a training session with yourself. But explaining to an accountability partner that you’re unmotivated can be more discouraging. Nobody wants to let a friend down!
You don’t have to have the exact same goals as your accountability partner. You just need mutual willingness to commit to a plan together. Look for someone to pump you up when the darker months wear you down, and agree to do the same for them.
Having someone to work with can make your fitness journey more fun and exciting. Maybe your accountability partner knows about cool trails you’ve never been on, or maybe having someone to hold your hand makes you feel brave enough to try a new class that seems intimidating on your own. Be creative in how you support each other!
Sign up for a class
If you spend money on something, you will be more inclined to participate. That’s why I recommend signing up for a class when the darker months are getting you down.
There are so many classes that can help boost your energy levels. From Pilates and Hot Yoga to Zumba and Spinning classes, signing up for one or more of these classes can make a bigger difference than you can imagine. Fitness trainers are trained to encourage, challenge and motivate you to keep going when you’re ready to quit.
Plus, just getting out of the way of your house or usual haunts can really help you get excited about fitness. Exercising in an environment surrounded by like-minded people can be stimulating, and recent research suggests that group fitness can improve your physical and mental health.
The weather outside can be terrible enough to dampen your spirits, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip your workout session! Try exercising indoors. Whether you’re following our free YouTube classes, following our December workout schedule, or just dancing around your house, indoor training can be a great way to stay on track.
Finding a place to exercise in your home can be difficult—mentally and physically. Change the way you think and change your environment. Reserve a small part of your living space in a place you can’t ignore and dedicate it to your workout. Whether you put a mat by your bed or dumbbells by your couch, you’ll see that visual reminder that your gym is right in front of you.
When it’s time for your home workout, set the stage for yourself. The little things you do to add atmosphere to your at-home fitness can become a routine that helps you mentally shift into fitness mode. So close the curtains, turn on the lights, put on some music and get going!
wake up earlier
If the sun has already set by the time you usually exercise, it might be time to get up earlier. That might not sound ideal for night owls, but if the lack of daylight outside is affecting your energy, it may be in your best interest to change your schedule for the coming winter months. As a personal trainer, I always advise my clients to prioritize sleep. That may mean trying to go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier to exercise without sacrificing your zzzs.
Invest in new gear
Dressing in fresh gear from head to toe can be a real game changer. New equipment or workout clothes can feel like a makeover and sometimes we all need that rush of rejuvenation and rising energy levels to get back into a workout routine!
Whether it’s new shoes, leggings or headphones, consider updating your wardrobe or workout gear for a fun way to change up your routine. If money is tight, try arranging a gym equipment swap. A lot of people have some gear laying around that they don’t use, or a pair of shorts that don’t fit, and they’ll probably be happy to trade them in for something they can use.
Change your music
It can get boring hearing the same tunes over and over again. Whether you’re listening to a new genre or a new artist, a change in your music can be just what you need to renew your motivation!
If you love music, sometimes the anticipation of hearing something new is enough to get you on the treadmill. Have you ever been curious about a type of music that you don’t really listen to that often? Now is a great time to find new catchy tunes! Some genres to check out are rock, hip hop, rap, country, and pop.
But you don’t even have to go to the trouble of finding new music if you don’t enjoy it. There are plenty of free playlists on Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and Apple Music, with more options to look for a heartbeat to kick-start your workout! In fact, many fitness trainers already have great playlists that pair well with different activities and moods.