Break Out of Your Winter Fitness Funk! A Personal Trainer Shares His Best Tips
You know you should work out. But it’s mid-winter. It’s cold. You’ve already fallen off your new year’s resolution. Your couch is calling you — and it has pizza.
“We’ve all been there,” says Boston-based personal trainer and fitness model Parker Cote. “I struggle with it, too, especially living in the northeast where it’s cold and dark and easier to hide under a sweater and watch Netflix.” Here are his best tips for pushing through.
1. Freshen up your routine.
Think of ways to break up the monotony, says Cote. Download a new playlist, buy cool workout gear or add a social element by bringing a friend to the gym. Beat boredom by changing your routine or taking a new class. “If you usually train with weights, try yoga or a spin class. If you’re a runner, go to a boxing class,” he says. “Breaking up your pattern will help you feel motivated.”
2. Work out in the morning.
Get yourself to the gym first thing so your workout doesn’t hang over you all day, says Cote. An early sweat session will also boost your endorphins and put you in a better mood, which is especially important when there are fewer hours of daylight. “When I first opened my studio, I was working crazy hours and my workouts took a back seat,” he says. “I’d always trained at 5 p.m., but after a long day, the last thing I wanted to do was work out.” So he switched to morning workouts and felt much better. And, he admits, he can relax guilt-free at night.
3. Find simple motivational tricks.
Get creative about what works for you. “On days I don’t want to work out, I order a coffee from my bed using an app on my phone,” he says, laughing. “It forces me to get out of bed and go the coffee shop next to the gym. Once I’m there, I’m one step closer to my workout.”
4. Stay consistent.
Unless you’re feeling seriously under the weather, try to maintain your routine. “When you take one day off, it’s a lot easier to take two days off, and then three or four.” The best thing you can do on tired days, says Cote, is a light workout. “It doesn’t have to be a perfect workout. Just get your body moving and get the blood flowing. You’ll likely end up feeling more energized in the end.”
5. Try to eat clean.
In the winter you tend to crave unhealthy carbs, but if you give into them too often it can make you more tired and lethargic, says Cote. “It’s a vicious cycle that can contribute to weight gain.” When you want a warm, cozy dish at night, try smart swaps like salmon with lentils, zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice with a flavorful sauce. It’s a way to get the comfort-food feel without the empty calories.
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6. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
“Lack of motivation happens to everyone in the winter,” says Cote. The key is to incorporate some type of movement into your everyday routine. Hit the gym for just a short time, or bundle up and take a walk. “You don’t need the perfect plan,” says Cote. “As long as you move and keep that momentum going for yourself, you will still be able to enjoy the mental, emotional and physical benefits of fitness.”