Stay Motivated to Workout This Winter

Stay Motivated to Workout This Year 

This time each year the days become shorter, the sky becomes grayer, and the temperature begins to drop. Gyms all across the northeast get hit hard with a new epidemic. You may have heard of seasonal affective disorder, commonly referred to as SAD in recent years. But SAD only impacts about 6% of the population.

There is a far worse problem facing gym-goers during the winter months.  

Seasonal skip the gym disorder. 

Every year, thousands of perfectly healthy people from Maryland to Maine begin to develop symptoms as soon as daylight savings time hits.Common symptoms include decreased desire to exercise, increased appetite and cravings, and a desire to hit the snooze button. 

If you’ve ever suffered from seasonal skip the gym disorder, you know it can get pretty serious. 

All jokes aside, we all know the feeling. It just gets harder to find the motivation to exercise regularly and eat well during the winter months. If you’ve ever felt that way, I promise you that you are not alone! 

Decreased serotonin levels from a lack of sun exposure can leave you feeling tired and hungry. Studies have shown that calorie intake can increase by as much as 800 calories a day over the winter. Combine that with a decreased motivation to exercise, and we’re fighting a serious uphill battle. 

Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill to combat seasonal skip the gym disorder, and unless you’re willing to move to another region of the country, it’s not going away, either. 

Tips to combat seasonal skip the gym disorder: 

  • Set a goal: Set a goal every month for how many workouts you’re going to complete. Write the goal down and check in on that goal every week. I recommend setting a goal of 12-20 “workouts.” A workout should be at least 30 minutes of dedicated physical activity. 

  • New workout gear: This one is gonna cost you a bit, but it really does help! Treat yourself to some new workout gear. It can be a new pair of shoes, new shirts/tanks, Gage squad locker gear, or you can go HAM at Lulu. Getting to rock new gear at the gym may be the missing link to get you through the doors…plus, you deserve it!

  • Get an “accountabilibuddy”: Have a friend, family member, or loved one hold you accountable. Better yet, hold each other accountable! Challenge each other to stay on track with your training and nutrition. Need more incentive? Put some $$$ on it. If this person isn’t already a member of GST, bring them in for a free workout the next time you come in! 

  • Warm-up: If you don’t feel like making it to the gym, or you just don’t have it that day I challenge you to “just warm up.” Perform a 5-minute warm-up similar to what we do before sessions at GST and then readdress how you feel. Do you still want to stop? Or are you feeling a little better? Do another 5 minutes of body weight exercises. How do you feel now? You may be surprised by how effective 5 minutes of movement can be at changing your mood. If you feel reinvigorated after your warm up, perform 15-20 minutes of bodyweight exercises. Don’t worry about what you’re doing or how many reps you’re doing, just move. Those 10-30 minutes of movement is more than what you would have done otherwise!

  • Don’t stop: Staying on track at the gym is the most effective way to counter the winter blues. Studies have shown that consistent exercise can counter the seasonal changes in serotonin levels that most people experience. It won’t be easy, but the payoff in the end will be worth the sacrifice. 

Make this year different! Don’t let the winter sabotage all your hard work and dedication. 

If there is anything I can do to help you stay on track this winter, please let me know! 

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