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.

Our newsletter that womansplains the week

Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Eboni K Williams Get Real On ​Race, Success, and Empowerment

Eboni K. Williams and Cheslie Kryst have a lot in common, as Iman Oubou Founder & CEO of SWAAY as well as host of the Women Who Swaay podcast puts it, "They're both badass attorneys, they're both from North Carolina and they've both competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageants." And they also both took over our podcast on the most recent episode, straight from the headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization!

Cheslie is a successful licensed attorney who also happens to be the reigning Miss USA 2019, with plans to represent our country in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. Not only is she at the height of her pageant power, but she is using the notoriety to create positive change for all of the women in her life, much like her role model Eboni K. Williams. Williams is a journalist, author, attorney and speaker; from her long history as a pageant queen she has risen through the ranks of male dominated industries from law-firms to Fox News. All throughout her journey she has persevered with intelligence, tenacity and poise. Lucky enough for us, she has kindly put her reporting skills to use and got candid with Ms. Kryst about supporting their fellow women, the current state of race in America and their history together as pageant compatriots. All of these topics are incredibly close to their hearts as powerful black women using their influence to create a better future for all women in America.

Oh and, as previously stated, both are complete and utter badasses.

During their podcast takeover they talked about it all, from pageants to politics. It's clear that both of these women are motivated by an altruistic spirit and are strong supporters of #womensupportingwomen. Eboni even read a passage from her book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success, in which she outlines how her own career trajectory was so positively affected by the incredible women who mentored her in different stages of her life. She completely shuts down the idea of the "woman on woman teardown," calling it a "pitiful dynamic" tied to the "long and very hurtful history of women." This idea that in order to compete for a spot in the old boy's club, women must first fight off their own gender is not only reductive but it also supports an outdated social structure that was built to greatly favor male success. Throughout history women have been encouraged to look at one another as competition, one more obstacle to pass by. However, all that has managed to do is to pit us against each other, fighting for the few meager seats at the table allowed for women while we ignore the real problem. The problem isn't about the lack of seats allotted for women; the problem is that men are still the ones making the seating arrangements, and it's time for that to change, something that both Cheslie and Eboni understand well.

Race is another topic that is incredibly important to both of these women, and they have quite the in-depth discussion on it during this podcast. Cheslie, who is biracial and self-identifies as black, laid out her point of view on race. She voiced her frustrations for never feeling like she had her own box to tick, being stuck to decide between "black, white, or other" in standardized situations like the SATs. Existing as someone stuck between two cultures has been incredibly challenging, and though she found some solace in the black community, she felt less welcomed by her white peers. Self-identifying as black is something that has allowed her more agency in regards to her own identity, and though she still faces difficulties she realizes how important it is to be a confident black woman in the esteemed position she is currently in. Both Cheslie and Eboni seem to bond over the idea that no matter the successes, they both revel in the victories of their fellow women of color. Each of them is motivated to see more women of color in powerful, visible positions to inspire future generations. It's not about their own success; it's about respect and renown for any and all women of color.

I may have just provided the highlight reel, but the full conversation shared between Cheslie and Eboni on the Women Who Swaay podcast is a must listen. These two women managed to make me laugh while restoring hope for a better America all within a half hour of listening time! Seriously, go get those headphones, right now. You will not regret it.