How To Keep Motivated to Workout When It’s Cold and Dark How To Keep Motivated to Workout When It’s Cold and Dark As winter rolls in, and Christmas carols flood the radio, it’s easy to sing along to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and use it as an excuse to skip a workout. The same goes for the darkness when you leave the office or when the alarm goes off at 530am. I’m guilty of it. But, I’ve learned to overcome the lack of motivation when the weather outside is frightful. Aside from the usual “sign up for an event” or “treat yourself afterwards” advice you hear, below are 6 tips that should get you moving because let’s face it, you will feel better and be more productive if you kick off the day with a sweat! Just Get Outdoors When my alarm goes off at 515am, I’m tired, it’s dark, my blankets are cozy, yet I remind myself that the outdoors will be appealing in a few minutes. Once I get going, and especially with the right cold weather gear , I feel invigorating in nature. While research shows many benefits to outdoor exercise that improve mood, vitality and overall calorie burn, I’ve learned as a marathoner that that working out in cooler weather stresses my body less than working out in hot and humid weather, which can be taxing. This is why most major marathons are held in November and December. Pump up the volume Music is a proven motivator. Ask the most badass female athletes in the world and they will share some of their favorite songs and playlists. Music is inspirational and whether it helps athletes hone in before a competition, or stay motivated during a long run, there’s no doubt that it will help get you out of bed. My favorite Pandora station these days for lifting weights is Katy Perry radio – nothing like walking around the gym singing to “Roar” or “This is How We Do It.” Find your jam and go with it! Try a Heated Class If you’ve been eyeing the local hot yoga or heated barre, now’s the time to explore something new. There are many holiday and New Year specials so take advantage of them and make it a commitment. I enjoy morning heated bootcamp classes at my local yoga studio and at the end of the day, a heated power flow is invigorating and cleansing. If you’re into the group enviroment, you’ll feel extra motivation and accountability from the others in class. Yoga professional and personal growth expert, Katie Brauer, explains how hot yoga offers the benefits of flexibility, mental focus, meditation but adds that “if you embrace the sweat, hot yoga will make you work harder, elevate your heart rate and strengthen and tone your muscles.” Sweatwork or Make it a Date You wouldn’t wake up and say, “Oh, I’m going to skip that business meeting or team meeting,” right? So instead of taking it to the conference room (yawn!), I personally look to meet colleagues or clients for a hike or a conversational run instead. Not only does this make you accountable, but “sweatworking” is a great way to build relationships. You connect with someone on a much deeper level because by getting out of “just work” mode, we open up more personally and also motivate one another to show up and get through the workout. You’re accountable to show up and the efficiency bonus is that you’ve killed two birds (workout and meeting) with one stone. Before you invite your client to sweat with you, make sure you’re up to speed on some sweatwork tips and etiquette. Gear Up It’s true. A great outfit makes you feel good and is empowering. When I’m lacking motivation, I put on my super bright capris or my NOLA Leggins from tasc Performance. Tasc Performance makes great print and solid capris out of bamboo and organic cotton without the use of chemicals. Their apparel never gets smelly and I always get compliments on this wild print. Be it a camouflage sports bra or tights with flamingos on them, pick an outfit that is comfortable and gets you fired up to sweat in and rock it! Go to Bed Early Easier said than done, but if you hit the sheets at a reasonable time and plan for 7-8 hours of sleep, you’ll be more refreshed and eager to get out of bed. Fitness expert and former trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Kim Lyons, comments, “Sleep affects everything from appetite to glucose metabolism and hormone balance. It also aids in recovery and gives you energy to be more active during the day. Lack of sleep is associated with reduced leptin levels and elevated ghrelin levels. Leptin and ghrelin are “hunger” hormones. When leptin levels are low it’s a signal for your body to eat more food. So be sure to turn off the TV and computer and sign off the social media sites and hit the sack early!” It may not happen overnight but once you establish a good morning routine, or even afternoon, you’ll find that it’s no longer dreadful to get yourself moving. There are days I am sluggish getting out the door, but once I’ve sweat out my morning lethargy, I leave the gym or an outdoor run feeling refreshed and invigorated. The endorphins are flowing and I am ready to hit the ground running with work, with my kids and with anything else that comes my way. If you’re struggling to find the motivation, forgo the snooze button (which you should never hit anyway) and remember how you feel after a workout. ”I so regret that workout,” said no one….ever. Elisette Carlson Prior to founding SMACK! Media in 2009, Elisette Carlson was the Director of Marketing at Zoot Sports, a global leader in multi-sports products. Elisette’s passion for sports marketing started at a young age while assisting her father with World Cup soccer events and athletes. A graduate of Princeton University, Elisette was named NCAA First Team All- American and All-Ivy League in Women’s Rowing. As a National Champion coxswain for 2 countries, her competitive drive and determination molded her into a leader and motivator.