Unlock Your FITNESS MOTIVATION To Exercise In Winter

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Stay on track during the cold season with these effective and practical fitness tips for maintaining your motivation to exercise in winter.

Let’s talk about how to boost your winter workout motivation and stay on track during the laziest time of the year.

Winter days are cold, dreary, and short. An excuse recipe for a cozy night in, snuggled up in your pajamas, while you enjoy those cheesy movies with the family.

As much as I love the opportunity to slow down and rest in the winter, it’s important to do so in an effective format. There is a difference between adjusting your fitness regimen and goals to allow your body time to heal and/or recover versus skipping workouts all together. Before you know it, you no longer are in the habit of working out.

The problem with breaking good habits, and trying to break bad habits, is the lack of motivation that comes with it.

Why am I unmotivated to workout in winter?

Weather makes travel more of a nuisance, holidays fills our schedules, the cold keeps us inside, and we’re often rundown from the business of summertime. Although these are often times good excuses, that’s exactly what they are. Excuses.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we are just making excuses for why we have no motivation to exercise in the winter.

Like I said, sometimes they are perfectly valid. You may be feeling burnt out from all of the sporting events, activites, and rushing around that tends to consume our lives. But that doesn’t mean you should throw away your progress. It just means that you need to be better at balancing fitness into mom life.

mom and toddler exer

Instead of taking a break from workouts all together, adjust your exercise routine. That may mean doing lower intensity workouts like steady state cardio, strength training splits, or mobility workouts. Try taking an extra rest day for a few weeks. Take a look at your nutrition and see if you are eating clean foods that support your workouts or if you are consuming too much junk that is clogging up your mind and body. Be sure to stay hydrated. Make reminders to move around throughout the day, as winter often keeps us less active which reduces motivation too.

Take some time to reflect on what is truly getting in the way of your fitness and see where you can make an adjustment.

How to stay motivated to exercise in the winter

Figure out what your excuses are and make the solutions.

The weather is bad and travel takes too long? It’s too dangerous to run outside? The cold is making you want to stay in bed? You are short on time? Your workouts are boring? You’re feeling rundown? Muscle and joint stiffness is deterring you? The holidays made you gain weight and fall off track?

Do your workouts at home.

Try an indoor cardio workout.

Get some winter fitness gear.

Sneak in a 20-Minute HIIT workout.

Sign up for a new fitness class.

Take some time to improve mobility and flexibility.

Stay hydrated and be sure to move and stretch throughout the day.

Set a new fitness goal and get on a program.

Effective goal setting

The key to motivation is finding your “why.” You need to ground your fitness goal into something meaningful that affects your everyday life.

If we lose sight of our “why,” any excuse will be good enough to keep us down.

I understand many of us have some sort of superficial “body goals.” Like decreasing body fat, enhancing muscle tone in a specific area, or fitting into that one outfit. But those superficial goals rarely hold much weight when the going gets tough and can even lead to body image issues.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your “why,” just that they shouldn’t be the end all. For example, say you want to decrease overall body fat for superficial reasons. Your real “why” might be to have better endurance for running around with your kids. Or to be able to go on the playground equipment with your toddler to keep them safe.

Say your superficial goal is to look more toned. Your real “why” may be to improve upper body strength so you can carry your growing toddler comfortably. Or improve core stability to reduce your postpartum back soreness.

When you have a goal that affects your quality of life or your sense of purpose, it’s much easier to shut down your excuses and maintain motivation to exercise in the winter.

Benefits of exercising in winter

Working out in the winter isn’t any different than any other time of the year. Maintaining a regular fitness routine will always benefit your health regardless of the season.

Improved aerobic capacity, enhanced muscular strength, increased endurance, better mobility, improved mood, better digestion, more regulated hormones and higher quality of sleep just to name a few.

You will reap the benefits of exercise no matter the time of year, but the consistency and accountability of exercising in the winter will keep you motivated to stay on track for long term results.

Maintaining your workout schedule will do so much more for your mind and body than you realize. You will feel confident and accomplished while maintaining your health all year long.

Best time to workout in winter

I have always been a supporter of morning workouts. Personally, they just make the most sense and are the most conducive to any phase of life I am in. Especially in the winter.

Morning workouts are sure way to stay consistent in a routine, minimize excuses, and make the most out of the short winter days.

When you start your day with a workout, you tend to be in a better mood and focused for the rest of the day. Heck, you’ll probably look forward to waking up early and getting in your little “me time.” I notice a differenc the days that I don’t start with a workout versus the ones I do. Those mornings I tend to be groggier, less patient, and more dependent on my morning coffee than I’d like to admit.

I also find that I enjoy the freedom of a morning workout. The evenings can be saved for a time to unwind or focus on other responsibilities. You won’t have to worry about running out of time and squeezing in a workout. Plus, you are more likely to stay accountable and less likely to talk yourself out of working out since it will already be done.

Talk about morning motivation to exercise in winter.

How to workout in winter morning

If you live in a snowy place or anywhere that has pretty cold and frigid temperatures, that can often be enough to keep you from wanting to get out of bed. As a USA midwesterner, I get it. However, that is still not a great excuse to let your fitness fall by the wayside.

It’s time to be brutally honest.

The most effective way to workout in the winter mornings is to stop being lazy and get in the habit of working out. You must create and stick with a consistent routine that you follow until you no longer have to think about it. Assess your schedule, set your alarm, and prepare the night before.

Personally, I find that pretty easy to do first thing in the morning. You can go through the motions while you wake up without putting much effort into it. Your mind isn’t busy with the day’s schedule or meeting a deadline because you just woke up.

I won’t sugar coat it, it won’t be easy at first. In fact, you may fail some mornings. But set your alarm for an early enough, yet reasonable time to get out of bed without lolly gagging. Eventually, you internal clock will eventually catch on. You’ll notice that you won’t be bothered to hear it go off. You might actually beat your alarm to the punch. I know, I know, sounds crazy but it’s true.

If you find yourself having a hard time waking up even after repeated efforts, you may need to start adjusting your bedtime. Turn the TV off sooner, phone away, and lights out so you can get enough sleep to feel refreshed and rested for those early mornings. Get everything ready the night before, bag packed, keys out, water bottle filled, etc. Shoot, it may even help to sleep in your gym clothes. One less task to get ready!

Find what works for your routine to maintain motivation to exercise in winter mornings.

How to exercise in the winter without going to the gym

Snow, freezing temperatures, and bad driving conditions makes getting to the gym a hassle. Especially, in the mornings when the car needs warmed up, brushed off, dethawed, and possibly shoveled out. That’s a HUGE deterrent and honestly a very valid excuse for not hitting the gym. So don’t!

At home workouts are the most effective way to get fit and maintain motivation to exercise in the winter without going to the gym.

There is no travel, no pricey membership, and no hassle with working out at home. You don’t even need equipment!

Just get dressed and find a little space. With a variety of options you can incorporate strength, cardio, mobility and more into your workouts while still mixing it up and having fun.

All of this extra time and confidence can reduce your workout excuses and help you to stay on track with your fitness.

In fact, I find that my mood improves for home workouts because I am in my “comfort zone.” Free to be sweaty, loud, and enjoy myself without the worry of others judging me. I don’t need to worry about waiting for equipment or space. No strangers trying to make small talk. And I more often try new things that I may not be confident to try around others.

Maybe you are insecure about using free weights, doing burpees, or trying kickboxing because you fear that someone is going to judge your imperfect form or heavy panting. (And honestly, that is a THEM problem.) You can feel free to be perfectly imperfect from the comfort of your own home.

When we get stuck in the same workout routine, results slow down and our bodies plateau.

With at home workouts, there’s no need to limit yourself or your fitness routine. In order to progress and get results, we must continue to challenge our bodies and maintain a well rounded fitness routine.

Winter exercise ideas

Check out my Youtube channel for a wide variety of home workouts that are effective for any fitness level and require minimal equipment! These include,

  • HIIT (high intensity interval training)
  • Endurance
  • Mobility/Flexibility
  • Cardio
  • Kickboxing/Boxing
  • Stability/Balance
  • Athletic (Speed & Agility)
  • Functional Training/Posture Correcting
  • Strength
  • Calisthenics (Bodyweight)
  • Dumbbell
  • Kettlebell
  • Resistance Band
  • Stability Ball

Although I am biased to at-home workouts, there are a variety of ways you can exercise in the winter and stay fit:

  • skiing/snowboarding/sledding
  • ice skating
  • hiking
  • shoveling snow
  • racquetball
  • indoor basketball
  • indoor tennis
  • indoor swimming
  • spinning classes
  • cardio kickboxing
  • dance classes
  • hot yoga

There is no reason to fall off track during the winter. It’s a great opportunity to try new things and get creative with your workouts, indoors and out.

Winter workout challenge

One way to spark your winter fitness motivation is with a challenge.

That could look something like a new performance achievement. Such as being able to complete 20 push-ups in one set, hold a 2-minute plank, or complete 100 squats per day. Something that is a measurable accomplishment and demonstrates a new skill can keep you excited as you work towards that goal and feel the progress along the way.

Another way to challenge yourself is by taking your fitness to the next level, building a consistent routine, or committing to a workout program.

Take a moment to think about a fitness feat that gets you excited to work hard and use my effective goal setting strategy to set yourself up for some serious results.

I also have made a monthly Accountability Chart that is totally FREE for moms that need some help staying on track and really benefit from a visual reminder of why you started.

I like to use the winter as an opportunity to hibernate and work on a new skill or goal while in “hiding”. That way when the spring comes and I am ready to shed my winter self, I am confident and ready to attack the busy summer. I channel my inner Rocky Balboa (the fourth movie specifically) when we heads off to the russian mountains to train and prepare for his big fight.

Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Use these tips and maintain your motivation to exercise in the winter and remember to stay strong, stay focused, and stay tough!

About the Author

Coach Zoe

Fitness trainer and mom of 3! I love working out, hanging out with my family, and motivating others.

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  1. I live doing challenges in the wintertime. Being cold and having less sunlight makes it “easier” for me to say “nope” to moving and working out!

    1. They’re a great way to spark some internal fire!

  2. Love all of this information, tips, and resources! Great post. We have a home work out gym and I needed this motivation going into the new year! Thank you.

    1. So happy to help, it sounds like you are ready to rock girly!

  3. Good information!

  4. Thank you for this motivation. I need it especially around the holidays!

    1. Heck yeah we all need a little boost around the holidays!

  5. So excited for these workouts, thank you for all the info!! Next trying the Postpartum recovery workouts!

    1. Happy to help!! You’ll have to let me know how they go for you!

  6. I really do struggle with this. I think it is the fact that winter is so dark. I have special needs kids and working out at home is almost impossible. It is my mental health break to get out of the home for a few minutes for a run or go to the gym. This is a great article. Thanks so much for writing.

    1. Of course, I am so happy to help! I totally understand, it can be difficult to give yourself the time when you feel “trapped” inside and to even put off exercising because you want to relax but it is usually what we need most!

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