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Five Tips for Staying Motivated to Train in Winter

With the days shortening and colder temperatures rolling in, motivating yourself to stay consistent with training is challenging. After school, work, or life demands, the thought of venturing into the already dark afternoon and bundling up under layers only to take them off when you reach the gym are all motivation killers. And to add the darkening days, the start of winter corresponds to an onslaught of holidays, gyms closing, and inconsistent schedules. Although winter can be a magical time of year with family, friends, good food, and beautiful snowfalls, it's one of the most challenging times to stay motivated to train.

If you've found yourself here, you likely identify with the above and seek inspiration to leave your warm home and cozy outfits behind for gym gear and cold air. While this article can't teleport you to the climbing gym and infuse motivation into your veins, if you keep reading, it may reveal some helpful tips and strategies for creating motivation. And it'll inspire you during these cold, dark months.

Five Tips for Staying Motivated to Train in the Winter

  1. Train in the Morning.

Getting out of bed before the sun rises isn’t for everyone. But, if you can incorporate an earlier wakeup into your schedule and head to the gym before you start the rest of your day, you are less likely to skip training. Even if you feel tired in the morning, you’ll likely feel even more tired if you wait until after a day full of school, work, errands, etc. Physical activity is a great natural stimulant, killing two birds with one stone: waking you up and knocking out your training.

  1. Make a Training Calendar

When your motivation is lacking, discipline takes over. Print off a monthly calendar for each month in winter and write out your training plan for each day. It doesn't have to be super detailed or specific. Simply noting which days of each week you'll climb, run, strength train, do yoga, or rest helps turn a thought into reality. You can do this on your digital calendar if you're a G-cal gal (or guy). If it's a physical calendar, hang it up where you'll see it daily (refrigerators or cabinet doors are great options) after you complete your workout session, "x" off that day on the calendar, or mark it as "completed" on G-cal. The satisfaction from checking off a task may serve as motivation within itself to stay consistent.

  1. Find a Group or Workout with Friends

Humans thrive off connection, so use that to your advantage when unmotivated. It’s likely that if you’re feeling unmotivated, then someone else is too. See if you can join any climbing groups or workout classes in your area or contact friends. Understandably, everyone’s schedules are different, so if you’re finding it hard to nail down a consistent training partner, find a friend you can text and call for accountability. Offer yourself as their accountability partner, and you can hold yourselves accountable together.

  1. Treat yourself with mini-rewards

If you're lacking intrinsic motivation, seek out extrinsic motivators in the form of mini-rewards. Whether it's your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, videogame, etc., use it as a reward to yourself. Make the reward reasonable and straightforward so that it works well and you fit it into your budget. If you can hold yourself to your workout routine for a week, get your mini-treat and enjoy! This trick only works if you don't indulge in the reward throughout the week, so pick something you'd consider a "mini-splurge."

  1. Set a goal to achieve by spring

If you are a goal-oriented individual - lean into that. Set yourself a physical goal (climb x grade, do x pull-ups, etc) to achieve by the start of the spring season. Consider even picking an outdoor climbing goal, so you also have warmer weather to look forward to. Create a plan that will put you on a path to success. Keep the goal in mind to stay motivated and use the plan to remain disciplined.

Staying motivated to keep up with training in the winter may take more of a concerted effort, but it is not impossible. These five tips could also make training fun year-round as they aim to incite dopamine spikes. If implementing one strategy isn’t enough, try two, three, or all five together! But don’t bite off more than you can chew at once. Choose what is feasible in your schedule and that will consistently motivate you. A one-week frenzy of motivation is great, but the goal is to keep your motivation high all winter. You’ve got this! Let us know if you have any other suggestions, tips, or tricks for keeping the hype high during this chilly season!


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