How to Stay Motivated to Workout in Fall and Winter

Getting motivated for the gym always seems to be a little tougher during fall and winter, right? Between cold weather, bad weather, lack of sunlight, and busy holiday schedules, it’s really easy to lose your motivation to exercise during this time of year. If you need help staying on track with your workout routine this season, here are some tips and tricks to keep you motivated. 

Spoiler alert: If you start practicing these habits ASAP, it’ll be a lot easier to stay active and stick to your fitness goal come fall and winter.

woman tying her shoelace to Workout in Fall and Winter

How To Stay Motivated To Workout In Fall And Winter

As we all know, physical activity releases endorphins, helping you lower stress levels (which are usually high this time of year) and put you in a better mood. Sticking to an exercise routine can also improve your sleep quality, boost your energy, combat health conditions, and of course, help you maintain a healthy weight. Put simply, working out makes you feel good!

Treat your workouts like appointments

Take the time to get into the habit of treating your workouts like appointments. 

Pretend that group fitness class or gym session is a dentist appointment. Pretend it’s dinner with your best friend. Write down your workout on a calendar or day planner and commit to keeping the date and time just like you would a doctor’s visit or important meeting. Exercising is a crucial part of self-care, even if you can only squeeze in 30 minutes for it.

As schedules get busier with holiday parties and festive activities, you’ll find it helpful to be able to glance at your calendar, see when you’ve planned your workouts, and RSVP accordingly. Treating my workouts like an appointment is something I try to practice year-round.

Work out in the morning

I’m not going to lie; working out in the morning when it’s dark and/or cold, is rough for me. However, I will say that I’ve never left an early morning working wishing I hadn’t done it. If you work out in the morning, you’ll still have time to enjoy all the cold weather festivities in the evening.

Evenings during fall and winter always seem much later than they really are. I find that mentally it’s easier to “wake up” in the morning then try to rally when it feels like 8pm but it’s actually only 5pm.

Find a Workout buddy

A workout buddy is key, particularly when the weather sucks. If you sign up for a (morning!) class with a friend, chances are you’re less likely to bail even though you’d rather stay in your warm bed for another 20 minutes.

If you thrive on competition, set up a fun challenge between you and your friends. Share your activity between your Apple Watches. Become friends on ClassPass so you can see each other’s schedules. Create a group text where you can check in when you log a sweat sesh.

Have the right workout clothing

You’d be surprised how much more you’re willing to work out when you have the right workout clothing. Sweatshirts, longer/thicker leggings, and even head warmers all impact the enjoyability of a fall or winter workout.

I wear these leggings year-round because they’re breathable and good for all types of workouts. I’ve run, walked, boxed, and done Pilates in these leggings, in all seasons.

If you’re doing a fall or winter workout outside, make sure you layer! Not only will this keep you warm at a general level, but you’ll also protect your muscles by keeping them warm, too.  

Here are some cold weather workout clothes I can’t live without:

Use Your Home as a Workout Space

Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of people re-imagined their workout areas by turning living room corners, office corners, spare rooms, and even garages into home gym space.

It’s totally okay if you were not one of those people, however, re-thinking your workout area does come in handy for bad weather in the fall and winter. 

Keep a set of adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands inside and save them for a rainy (or snowy) day. If you’re looking for a more robust indoor gym setup, check out this post highlighting my favorite small space workout equipment I have in my small NYC closet. 

Hire a Personal Trainer

Some people, including me, need some extra help when it comes to workout accountability. 

Know thyself. I hired a personal trainer two years ago because I was having trouble maintaining a workout schedule, and it’s one of the best investments. I’ve ever made for myself. 

If a personal trainer year-round isn’t feasible, consider hiring one just for fall or winter if you know you’ll have trouble keeping a consistent workout routine. Many trainers also offer semi-private sessions so you can split the cost with a friend.

Just like your workout buddy, a personal trainer will hold you accountable and offer some sort of consistency amidst busy holiday seasons and cold weather.

And bonus! Not only is a personal training session a workout, it’s also an appointment that you’ll have to block out on your calendar. 

Be realistic

In the fall and winter, you may get sick. You may stay out too late because of that holiday party and just want to sleep in. There may be a blizzard outside. Resting is just as important as exercising, BTW.

Be realistic and know that there’s going to be a morning where bed sounds better than a workout. There’s going to be an evening where you just want to curl up and watch a movie. And there will probably be that one office get-together that you want to attend.

Have any tips on staying motivated to work out in the fall or winter? I’d love for you the share in the comments!

Nice to Meet You

Hi, I'm Camille! I'm a bi-coastal blogger splitting my time between LA and NYC and sharing elevated, yet relatable ideas so that you can achieve your most stylish life.

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  1. 10.29.19

    I do find that having the proper workout gear helps you stay on track! I also want to move my exercises back in the mornings!

    Cate // 35mminstyle

    • 10.30.19
      Camille said:

      Totally! If you have an outfit or even a pair of leggings you love, it really helps!

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