5 Ways To Stay Motivated When Working Out, Especially As The Days Get Shorter & Shorter
It can be super easy to fall off the fitness wagon and forget about all of your goals, especially when winter rolls around. TBH, it's cold as all hell, and most days, there's no freaking way I'm emerging from my blanket burrito to squeeze in my scheduled sweat sesh. But after a few missed workouts, you'll most likely start to miss the gym grind and all the feel-good endorphins it promises you each time you go. It can be hard to find ways to stay motivated when working out, but there's no doubt that it's absolutely key after falling into that sweat-less slump.
Knowing what motivates you to move your bod is so essential, particularly when it starts getting dark at like, 4 p.m. — ugh. That extra hour of sleep we all got for daylight savings time was lit for about a day, but now, it's just disappointing AF when you look out your window before you've even had a chance to prepare dinner, and it somehow looks like it's actually midnight outside.
The lack of sunlight can hurt your motivation to do basically anything. In fact, after the clocks fall back, the early darkness actually confuses your body and tricks it into thinking bedtime is literally right around the corner, when in reality, it's still several hours away. Plus, cold temperatures actually force your body to use energy to stay warm, leaving you feeling totally drained when it comes time for anything fitness-related.
So, if you're feeling super discouraged by the change of seasons, you're definitely not alone. But there are still ways to maintain motivation in the thick of it all. Here are five ways you can keep your motivation levels high whenever you fall into a fitness funk, but especially during the aggressively short days that have settled in upon us.
1. Set Realistic Goals For Yourself
Setting goals is super important in helping you stay on track with your workouts. Whether you choose to sign up for a local 5K race and you start training now for it, decide to slay a new, online fitness challenge, or even if you simply get the guts to try out a machine at the gym you were usually too intimidated by, having something you're constantly working toward will get you pumped to stay on the grind no matter what.
To make sure you stick to your goals, try writing them down on sticky notes, on your phone, or even on the back of your hand. Having these little reminders around every corner are sure to keep you on track.
2. Make It Cost You
Real talk, there's nothing worse than signing up for a fitness class, and then when you decide to ditch, you still have to pay the cost, literally.
When it comes to staying motivated, though, this is actually a great way to get your booty out from underneath your super warm and cozy covers and into the gym. Outsmart yourself by paying for your workout beforehand, so if you feel a little flaky come the first day of that new cycling class, you'll be way less likely to skip it, if only for the sheer sake of sticking to your budget.
3. Create A Buddy System
Having someone else to hold you accountable for your sweat sesh is a great way to combat those uninspired, lethargic vibes getting you down as the days get shorter and shorter. Your workout buddy will count on you to show up for your gym dates, and they'll get your butt out the door even on your laziest of days.
Plus, research shows that a little healthy competition goes a long way when it comes to sticking with a consistent workout schedule. Sweat it out with your BFF, and challenge each other to go a little further than either of you thought was possible. Then go get drinks together after the fact, because y'all deserve it.
4. Make A Killer Playlist
I don't know about you, but when my workout playlist is super stale, it throws off my entire routine. Trust me, it's worth your time to sift through Spotify for a hot second and make an absolutely bangin' playlist that you'll actually look forward to listening to while you sweat it out on the treadmill.
Besides, science says music can make you feel less tired, and those tasty jams can even help to increase your endurance, too.
5. Keep A Journal Of How You Feel After Each Sweat Sesh
Take a few minutes to actually write down how you feel after completing a workout. Like, you know those days when you basically have to peel yourself off the couch just to even think about starting your workout? But then, once you finally get through it, you feel absolutely incredible afterward?
Recording that post-workout feeling and looking back on it when all you want to do is curl up under the covers will be a surefire way to help you perk the f*ck up and get down to business.
You've got this, girl.