Have you ever noticed that having a sunny outlook on life was a lot easier when you know…the sun is out? For those of you who think January in New England is like living in a winter wonderland, you need to cancel your cable subscription. It’s a blessing when the temperature rises above freezing. I’m not complaining, just telling you the facts. And the fact is, living the healthier lifestyle that you promised yourself on New Year’s is a lot harder when there’s more snow than excuses preventing you from getting to the gym. From one lazy gal to another, here’s how to stay motivated to live your best life, even in the dead of winter.
Don’t forget that healthy eating isn’t all about salads and smoothies.
Let’s get something straight. I don’t care how strong your willpower is, you’re not going to stick to your diet during the winter if you only plan to eat raw greens. A smoothie bowl for breakfast sounds delightful if you’re on a tropical island or it’s the middle of July. But when it’s 6am and there’s more ice on your car than in your freezer, you’re not going to have the motivation to make a smoothie. You’re either going to skip breakfast or drop by Dunkin’s to grab a whole wheat bagel. Skip the salad and opt for something warm and hearty (but healthy!) Homemade soup is one of my favorite meals in the winter. It’s easy to meal prep, affordable, and makes lunch all week. Don’t like eating the same thing day in and day out? Most soups freeze well, so you’ll have a healthy meal ready to go when you’re in a pinch.
Create a flexible workout schedule.
If you’re a not a morning person, don’t think that paying for a 5:30am bootcamp class is going to make you wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Yeah, you’ll end up going, but you’re going to be miserable and dread your workout. Trust me, I was that naive person once and forced myself to go even when I had a fever, just because I paid for the class. Don’t be that girl.
Maybe you’re the type of person who likes to go to the gym after work. Which is fine… for 6 months out of the year when the sun is still up by the time you step out of the office. I get out of work at 5 and it feels like midnight. I want to go home and snuggle up with some Netflix, not sweat in front of strangers. I’m not sure about you, but there’s a correlation between my motivation and the level of sunlight. So I have to be creative with my gym time.
Try going on your lunch break. A light 30 minute session is a lot better than skipping the gym altogether. Or workout at home! You don’t need a fancy home gym. Bodyweight exercises and using furniture as props works wonders. Blogilates have some of my favorite equipment-free, apartment-friendly workouts.
Under promise and over deliver.
Pro tip for the lazy: Keep your workouts short and frequent. You’re much more likely to work out for 30 minutes 4x a week than an hour 4x a week. Now here’s a Jedi mind trick for you. Walk into the gym with the plan to stay for only 30 minutes. The majority of the time you’ll get on a roll and stay for a lot longer. But sometimes, you’re not feeling it. That’s cool too. Give yourself permission to throw in the towel once the clock strikes 30 minutes.
Let shopping be your cardio.
I’m not talking about mall walking, but that’s a great way to get your steps in on a lousy day. It’s a new year and the new you really needs some new clothes. Fortunately, every clothing retailer has the sales floor packed to the brim with more leggings than an Instagram fitness model would know what to do with. Picking out a few new gym outfits not only will boost your confidence at the gym (when you look good, you feel good), but your body will also thank you. The right type of shoes will protect your joints and moisture wicking fabric will keep you a lot cooler than your ratty college t-shirts.
Pick your poison planner.
This may only be applicable to organization freaks and office supply nerds like myself, but seriously, a new notebook or planner GIVES. ME. LIFE. Set aside a small notebook that helps you schedule your workouts and also plan them out. You’ll thank yourself later for having a plan when you’re trapped in a busy gym.
Create your own audio adventure.
Whether this is a killer playlist or an interesting audiobook, save it for the gym. I know, you’re dying to listen to it. But now you’ll look forward to your next workout because you want to know what happens in the following chapter or you want to hear your new favorite song on repeat. If you find listening to spoken word boring while working out, try speeding it up slightly. I always listen to audiobooks at 1.25x speed and I can hardly tell the difference. There’s less awkward pauses and no chipmunk voices.
Try something new.
If you go to a gym, there’s a 75% chance that it has group fitness classes (and a 100% chance that I made up that statistic.) I was never a classes kind of girl because I have zero coordination and am self-conscious of my breathing, never mind dancing. But on a whim I signed up for a Tabatha class and I fell in love. I’ve been going every Tuesday since Labor Day Weekend. Committing to a group fitness class is easy. It’s a scheduled time every week, plus it’s awkward if you leave mid-class, so you’re stuck working out for an hour. That’s what I call a win-win. In the mood to splurge? Check out Groupon for some good deals on trendy boutique classes. I also recommend checking the local studio’s site to scope for better saving. Most yoga studios have unlimited classes, 30 days for $30.
- What’s your number one tip to staying motivated and sticking to your health goals during the winter?
- What’s your go-to healthy recipe?
- Have you ever fallen in love with a group fitness class?