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How to stay motivated in winter | Exercise tips for the cold

We are starting to see less sun and feel colder every day. Even before winter fully peaks we feel an impact on our lives. We crave heartier foods like stews, soups and casseroles (have you dusted off your slow cooker yet?) and find it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning.

There is a period of time before we see Christmas lights and feel the positive impact the festive season has on the winter months, where it is just dark, cold and rainy.

We don’t blame you for wanting to stay in bed instead of staying in shape, but there are ways to help you stay motivated to work out during winter.

How to exercise in winter

While it may seem daunting to brace the cold, the rewards make every icy morning or evening worth it. But, you don’t have to freeze to death out there, just take note of the appropriate attire to better equip you for a successful workout.

Invest in winter exercise clothes

If you are power walking or running in a regular knitted hat and standard gloves it's only a matter of time before you feel too cold to continue. When you have a difficult workout it makes it harder to come back because you are associating your workout with that tough experience.

Investing in quality winter exercise clothes will take your outdoor run from breathtakingly uncomfortable to toasty and exhilarating. The price of quality winter sports clothes may make you catch your breath initially but you will certainly reap the rewards during that post-workout endorphin rush. 

For those morning workouts:

A lot of people prefer to exercise in the morning. It sets them up for their day with confidence, energy and focus. However, when you wake up to cold air and even colder floors that desire to exercise quickly turns into a desire to stay under your warm, cosy blankets.

Try automating your central heating so that your home is warm when you wake up to battle the urge to stay in bed.

Take a shower. It may seem odd to shower before your workout, but the fresh jet of water will wake you up and give you an initial rush of energy so that you feel better equipped to slay that workout.

For those gym-bunnies:

With the days feeling shorter it may seem more enticing to drive past the gym and straight home after work, but don’t succumb. It will only result in feelings of guilt and higher drops in energy. Plus, classes like HIIT Interval Training, Zumba and Lite Aerobics are fantastic endorphin releasers. 

The NHS advises that we stay active to battle ‘winter blues’ and ‘SAD’ so when the urge to bypass the gym hits, stay strong and come on in. You won’t be sorry!

Additional tips on how to motivate yourself to exercise in winter

The cold weather can lead many of us to go into hibernation mode, choosing the sofa and carbs over gym sessions and veggies. Here are 8 tips to help you get through the winter.

  1. Make a to-do list

Whether it is a list that covers a day or a week, write down what you want to achieve and make sure exercising is on that list. For those seasoned list-makers out there, you know how satisfying it is to see a list completely crossed out or ticked off. And for those who don’t make lists, once you start you won’t be able to stop!

  1. Think of an indoor plan B 

If you favour working out outside, try and think of ways you can bring your workout indoors when the weather gets colder. If you enjoy running, you can do this on a treadmill with a visit to your gym, and the thought of being in the warmth should motivate you to get up and get there. 

  1. Adjust your playlist 

It has been proven that working out to music can increase your performance, so to avoid any lulls in your regime once the weather starts to cool off, update your playlist to new songs that you are loving at the moment and you’re sure to push yourself harder. 

  1. Stay on track with your diet 

The cold weather can lead many of us to go into hibernation mode, choosing the sofa and carbs over gym sessions and veggies. While you should make carbs a part of your diet, don’t neglect your protein and vegetable intake. Eating leafy greens will also keep your immune system stronger and ward off colds, which are notorious for leading to missed gym trips during the winter. 

  1. Get a workout buddy 

They say there’s power in numbers, and it’s true for workouts too. Having a gym partner can help you stay on track, especially if you’re prone to flaking on workouts. Why not pick a friend that you don’t see that regularly as well? That way, it’s an excuse to catch up and get fit at the same time. 

  1. Set multiple alarms 

If you tend to work out early in the morning, you might want to consider setting more than one alarm to drag you out of bed. It can be hard getting up early, especially when your bed is so much warmer than the outside, so having multiple annoying dings going off should do the trick and force you up. 

  1. Drink caffeine 

Who doesn’t love a rich Americano? When you need an extra boost, sipping on black coffee in the morning can give you the energy you need to go and smash your gym session. 

  1. Join a new class 

When you are lacking energy the last thing you want to do is the same tired routine you do every week. Why not mix it up with a new class? A lot of our gyms schedule over 150 classes per month, so why not take the opportunity to try something different? If you are feeling a stronger-than-usual bout of blues, why not try a yoga or a stretch class? These are lighter classes that will allow you to feel good about your workout without pushing yourself too hard.

Book a class in advance

In the same way, booking a class in advance may be just the incentive you need to maintain your exercise plan. You can book a range of classes online at your local gym.


No matter how you prefer to work out, maintaining your routine during the colder months will help you stay fit, healthy and happy.