18 Ways To Stay Motivated Through Winter - Dean McMenamin

18 Ways To Stay Motivated Through Winter

Are you struggling with motivation for fitness in the darker, colder, wetter days of winter? This will help you.

Lot’s of these are critical for your mood and motivation at any time of year, but they’re even more critical in winter.

In no order of importance, let’s get stuck in…

1 – Win The Morning

Motivation is created or crushed by your habits.

Spend 10 minutes tomorrow morning deep breathing, stretching, and write down your goals for the day BEFORE touching your phone.

Notice how the day goes.

The following morning, hit snooze and go on straight on social media, whilst under the warmth of your covers.

Notice how much time you lose, and how the day goes in general vs winning the morning.

Start creating your own motivation for the day first thing in the morning.

Win the morning, and you win the day.

2 – Sleep Smarter.

Nothing else crushes your mood to do anything moderately active like crap sleep.

Get off screens at least 30 mins before bed.

Get at least 7hrs sleep (that means around 8hrs in bed).

And get to bed before 11pm.

Recommended reading: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson.

3 – Leverage: Why?

Why lift heavy stuff when you can lay on the sofa watching Netflix?

You better have a good reason.

Maybe you’re sick of setting unhealthy examples for the kids.

Maybe the guy in the mirror doesn’t reflect who you used to be.

Maybe you’ve had enough telling the kids ‘no’ because dad’s too tired.

Maybe you’ve lost loved ones to disease or illness and don’t want the same fait.

Or maybe you’re done putting off your bucket-list adventures because your fitness holds you back.

I don’t know what it is for you. But if you’re not clear on that either, you’ll never keep showing up and working on your goal when there’s way more comfortable activities to do. Like lying on your arse after work, watch funny Tik-Tok videos with the missus.

Remember your WHY and behave accordingly.

Challenge: Write down reasons or benefits of you achieving your fitness goal. What’s the bigger impacts it has on your life? Who else benefits besides you?

4 – Power Playlist.

Music has a dopamine producing affect on the brain.

Create a playlist of your favourite mood-boosting music, and make the habit of listening to it every day.

Do it now.

5 – Bare Minimum Daily Movement.

Your genes expect you to move. You’re body is meant to work.

Movement flows blood and nutrients into your cells, and lubricates your joints.

It makes you FEEL good.

Plus, being generally active each day has way more impact on how fat or lean you are than a few hard workouts per week.

If you’re not fortunate to have an active job, here’s some ideas to pick from:

  • 6000-10000 steps per day (Invest in some warm, waterproof kit)
  • Dogs make it hard to not get outside moving. Get a dog.
  • Yoga with Adrien on YouTube from the comfort of you home.
  • Keep a few kettlebells lying around the house. Swing frequently.
  • Practice press-ups and bodyweight squats every day.
  • Create a daily mobility routine.

6 – Commit to The Warm Up.

You won’t always feel like working out. Accept it.

But results come from showing up consistently, despite how you feel.

When you don’t feel like showing up? Commit to the warm up.

If you’re still not up for it after the warm up, you have permission to come back tomorrow.

But nine times out of ten you’ll be good to go!

7 – Follow a program.

Winging your workouts creates overwhelm via lack of direction.

I mean, how do you even know it’s working?

And, you’ve just had a long stressful day at work, now you need to think up a productive workout, AND muster the energy to see it through. Really?

Good luck sticking with that long.

Following a program designed by a pro eliminates stress and mental bandwidth of figuring it out yourself.

Plus, gets you results. Hopefully.

I don’t care if you pay for it or use a free one from the internet.

Just get after it.

8 – Hydrate.

Most people don’t drink enough water. Most people are fat.

You can survive on sub par hydration. But your mood, energy, motivation, and a list of other bodily processes for good health, will suffer.

Drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day and see the difference in how you feel.

No, tea and coffee don’t count.

9 – Create a Daily Non-Negotiables List.

Fit people live by fit rules.

Rules turn “I wish I was motivated to get fit” into… “I don’t miss workouts“.

It’s the difference between being unfit and having a fit, strong body.

Here’s some of mine:

  1. No screens after 21:30.
  2. I walk my dogs every day.
  3. I workout every day. Even if just 10 minutes.
  4. I eat protein and vegetables at every meal.
  5. I only drink calorie-free drinks.

Start with just a few you feel confident with.

But the sooner you start practicing your non-negotiables, the better.

10 – Plan ‘B’ Workouts

I have my own garage gym and I still get days where a I struggle with time or just can’t bring myself to train in the ice-cold garage.

So, I keep a few kettlebells and resistance bands in the house for those times.

Create a shortlist of easier, fun, but challenging workouts you can get done in 10 minutes.

Don’t worry about ‘perfect’. Life-long results from what you can make a consistent part of your life.

11 – Workout Timing.

One if the biggest mistakes I’ve seen men is planning their workouts for after they put the kids to bed.

That’ll crush your motivation eventually.

You’ve already thinned your will-power at work, now you’ve had dinner with the family, and you’re winding down.

Now you want to switch ‘on’ to work hard again?

Big mistake.

Which will also ruin your sleep quality, too.

Instead, get up early and train before work, or get after it as soon as you finish work, before settling down for the evening with the family.

Speak with the wife and push dinner time back an hour if possible.

12 – Create a Schedule.

Lot’s of men tell me they struggle with time and motivation, but they can’t show me their schedule because… They don’t have one.

A schedule creates a priority for your time.

It turns “I should probably do a workout” into “It’s time to train!”.

Look up Google Calendar.

13 – Create a Dedicated Workout Space.

There’s no fun in having to clear loads of clutter and kids toys for space to do a workout.

You need a dedicated area – distraction free if possible – your mid can start to associate with workouts and you’ll start to enjoy your workouts more.

Whether it’s in a spare room, garage, local gym, or even out in the local kids park, make it happen.

14 – Eat Right.

This is a broad area. But what you eat dictates how you feel.

If you’re eating lots of fast food and sweets, or drinking lots of booze?

You’re gonna feel shit.

And you’ll never out perform how you feel.

Eat enough protein. Eat at least 5 colourful veggies and fruits per day. Add a little healthy fats to each meal. And eat mostly slow digesting, high fibre carbs.

15 – Equip Your Kitchen

Winter’s the season for tasty heart-warming stews, soups, and roasts.

Invest in a slow cooker, soup kettle, and air fryer.

Find high protein slow cooker and soup recipes (Google’s a wonderful thing).

And pile all your winter veggies in the air fryer.


16 – Uncommit.

It’s not often about finding time for workouts. It’s about deciding what you’re NO LONGER going to do, to make space in your life for better habits.

Cut back on social media time.

Cut down on TV time.

Uncommit from all those Netflix box sets.

Stop hanging around with the guys who influence you to drink every weekend.

15 – Daily Practice.

Pick a convenient exercise and target you want to hit.

Want to get your first pull-up, first 30 press ups, plank for 2 minutes, or even ring press-ups?

Spend 5-10 minutes per day ‘practicing’ drills that lead towards it.

It’s a small (but big) step in living a more physically active life.

17 – Create Fitness Goals

Create targets that give you a reason to train frequently, rather than just weight loss or muscle gain.

Here’s some ideas or benchmarks to work towards:

  • 30-40 press-ups.
  • First pull-up (or first 5-10)
  • Split squat Iso-hold for 60 seconds per leg.
  • 10 Gymnastic ring/suspension trainer press ups.
  • Deadlift 1.5 bodyweight for 5 reps.
  • Bench press the 30kg dumbbells for 6-12 reps.
  • Beat your 10k run time.

Test yourself every month and track your progress.

Don’t worry about where you’re at right now, rate your success on beating your previous scores.

18 – Book Challenges

Deadlines create accountability and kills procrastination.

Book a fitness challenge, big mountain hike, or event you need to get fit for in advanced.

This turns “I want to get fit so I can do ‘X’” into “I’ve got 6 months to be ready for ‘X’. Let’s go!”.

See the power in that?


Right, I’m gonna finish up there.

I hope you found this helpful. If you got some value from it, do me a favour and share the article with someone else you think it’ll help.

Time to after it.


About the Author Dean McMenamin

Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and body transformation coach to every day men all over the UK & Ireland. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.

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