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.

3 Min Read

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.