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.

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How I Turned my Fine Art Drawings into a Temporary Tattoo Empire

I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.

During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.

The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.

Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.

I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.

Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.

My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:

  1. Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
  2. Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
  3. Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
  4. Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!