The Momentum of Movement: Ways to Maintain Your Motivation in the Winter
By Nicole M. Spooner
Summer slips away faster than sifting through sand on the beach. Worries of sculpting your body to fit into your new bikini have faded with the sun setting earlier each day. Those bikini-wearing thoughts have been over-powered by deciding what new sweaters you will purchase and subsequently wear to the holiday cookie exchanges. But now is not the time to relinquish all your efforts to stay in shape. Instead of working out for a beach body, work out to be a picture of health.
For Rebecca DeCamp, fitness has always been a part of her life. In fact, she made sure of it. There was a time when DeCamp’s job demanded 15 hours of her day. As a result, she was getting sick every three weeks and eventually gained 20 pounds. DeCamp quit that job and found a job that would allow her health to become a priority. In addition to being an analyst at Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she also has a part-time job as a group fitness instructor at the Downtown YMCA, which allows her to share her passion for fitness.
Join a Class
“Getting to know your instructor can help [keep you motivated in the winter]; they can learn your limitations and offer modifications during times of injury,” DeCamp says. If you get to know your instructor, as well as other participants, it will give you a sense of accountability. “Knowing their names is nice, especially when you run into them in the grocery store and can say, ‘Hey Peter! I haven’t seen you in Tabata class for a few weeks.’ Then, they start coming back.”
Grab a Work-Out Partner
If a class is not your thing, try working out with a partner. DeCamp works out with her partner, Roger Rineck, seven days a week (in addition to all the classes she teaches). They have a routine they follow, which helps them stay on track.
“I tried working out after work but that just didn’t work for me. I always had an excuse not to work out after I got home – I was too tired, too hungry, etc.” So, DeCamp and Rineck settled on a morning routine. They wake up at 4:30 a.m. and depart for the gym around 5:00 a.m. Keeping this routine is instrumental in driving her year round enthusiasm. “Now if I miss a work out, I feel icky and gross,” she says. Kicking off her day with a workout keeps DeCamp motivated and energized throughout the day, even in the arctic Minnesota winters.
Find External Motivation
Can’t find a partner who will work out at your pace? Try some external motivation. Sign up for a 5k, a half marathon, or a triathlon. Spend your winter preparing for that race – having that end goal in sight will keep you working. Many gyms have fun activities to help boost your motivation such as indoor triathlons, “lazy man” triathlons, or a holiday challenge. At DeCamp’s YMCA, they offer a Holiday Challenge where participants weigh in with a staff member before Thanksgiving and then step on the same scale after the New Year. If a participant maintains or loses weight, they win a t-shirt that celebrates the completion of the Holiday Challenge. You don’t have to be a member of a gym to do the same. Find some family and friends that are like-minded, and set your goals.
So figure out what you are interested in – new classes, a race, working out with your best friend or boyfriend. Maybe hitting the gym at 5:00 a.m. doesn’t appeal to you, but restructuring your happy hour from cosmos at the bar to five miles on the elliptical is a better fit. Remember, like a swimsuit, exercising is not “one size fits all”. Test different work outs, times, and classes; find your niche and keep moving!
Nicole studied Creative Writing and Mass Communications – Journalism. She is a certified yoga instructor and former ballet dancer. Currently Nicole teaches ballet and barre fitness for Continental Ballet Company.