As the days grow shorter and temperatures fall, motivation levels inevitably take a hard hit. While motivation isn’t a necessary requisite for staying healthy and fit, it makes the process easier. And it’s imperative to maintain consistent, healthy habits throughout the winter—especially with calorically dense holiday foods calling our name.
Don’t allow yourself to lose all your hard earned progress that you worked so hard for during the warmer months. Here are some easy hacks you can use to stay motivated and healthy, during the winter.
Schedule Your Workouts For The Week
You know what they say—fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Instead of leaving things until the last minute, spend half an hour every Sunday planning out your workout schedule for the week.
If you workout in a gym, determine whether or not you want to do strength training or cardio, and plan out the exercises you’ll be doing for each session. Prefer working out in a class? Most workout studios let you register for classes online and you can pick and choose which times work best for your schedule.
Treat your scheduled workouts as you would any other meeting. If you had plans to meet up with a friend for lunch, would you really allow yourself to sleep in, and miss it? Prioritize your workouts as you would any other personal, or professional, meeting. If you skip out on your workout by choice, you’re only hurting yourself in the end.
Pack Your Workout Bag Before You Go To Bed
We’ve all experienced crazy mornings when we’re short pressed for time. Save yourself added stress, and save time in the mornings, by making sure your workout bag is packed the night before. If you workout first thing in the morning, lay out your workout clothes by the bed and ensure you have necessary items packed—think headphones, jump rope, and etc. If you workout later in the day, pack your training shoes, workout clothes and additional equipment into your workout bag and bring it with you to work.
Workout In Pairs
Having a friend who you are accountable to is a powerful workout motivator. It can be difficult to let someone else down, so it’s more likely you’ll show up to workout, if you know you have someone waiting for you. This comes in handy when the last thing you want to do in the morning is brave the snow to get to the gym.
When working out with a friend, you may find yourself working harder. Instead of allowing yourself to slack off, you’ll feel motivated, and challenged, to work harder and to keep up with your friend. Challenge yourself to workout harder each week and record your progress together.
Eat The Right Foods
Winter’s lack of sunlight can have a profound effect on your energy levels. Our bodies produce more melatonin during winter’s short, dark days. Melatonin is a hormone which regulates our sleep and wake cycles. It’s more important than ever to ensure we’re eating energy boosting foods during the winter to combat increased levels of sluggishness.
Evaluate your diet and assess whether or not you are getting a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats in your meals. Carbohydrates are particularly important because your body uses it as energy. Drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake can make you feel tired and drained. Click here for ideas on healthy, energy boosting meals.
Have a strategy in place for winter and implement these easy hacks to keep motivation levels high. While the cold and dark of winter will inevitably make it harder, it’s not an excuse to give up. Recognize that it will be difficult but stay positive and don’t give up. You’ll be proud of yourself for not making excuses and for staying fit and healthy all year long.
Alice is a freelance writer with an emphasis on wellness, business and tech. She has an MA in Communication Studies and enjoys writing articles that genuinely help, and empower, readers. In her free time, you can find her hiking or absorbed in the world of a good book. Follow her on Twitter.
Main Photo Credit: Yuriy Golub/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Dusan Petkovic/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Syda Productions/shutterstock.com