Winter Workouts – How To Stay Motivated Over The Holidays


Temperatures are dropping and the urge to workout begins to subside. It’s so easy to tell yourself, “I’ll just go jog outside” or “I’ll watch what I eat today and workout tomorrow.” Before you know it a week goes by and your sneakers have not moved from last week. How do you stay motivated to workout, especially when the weather makes you not even want to get out of bed let alone out of your house? Not to mention all of the little cookies and other holiday treats are coming at you full force. What to do? Read on!

First off, be real with yourself. Remember last year when you promised to workout every day so you could lose 25 pounds by January? Ladies, perhaps you remember this one? The “little black dress” you bought last year on sale. You purchased it with the notion of losing enough weight to fit in it for the upcoming Christmas party. Well, the tag is still on it and you can’t return it. Don’t make promises that set you up for failure. Best thing to do is keep realistic, not IDEALISTIC, goals set for the upcoming holiday season.

Now, let’s consider the workouts. Sure you could run, but was running a part of your existing workout regimen? If you’re running indoors on a treadmill, more than likely you will attempt to maintain the same training routine but if you are venturing outside then there are some things you may want to consider.

The photo below is just a sample of what to wear as the temperature drops but the big thing you will notice here are layers. You want to make sure that you have just enough to keep you warm as well as functionally able to move as you clock those miles. An additional thing you may also notice is the bright colors. You definitely want to be as visible as possible, especially if you are working out at night.


Let’s move on to the workout. It’s cooler now and your body will take a little longer to warm up. It’s best to warm-up with some dynamic movements as opposed to static stretches. If you are doing these indoors make sure you have some room to move. Here are some great warm-up exercises to use:

  • Arm Circles: Extend your arms out to your sides and swing your arms in a circular motion both forward and backward. Target areas: shoulders, upper back and chest.
  • Michael Phelps: Open your arms wide and then attempt to give yourself a hug by tapping your lats (area just underneath your arm pits). Target areas: shoulders and chest.
  • Side Bends: Place hands on hips and bend from the waist side to side. Do this with an easy tempo, there is no need to rush through it. Target areas: waist.
  • Lateral Leg Swings: Brace your arms towards something stationary, like a wall or a tree depending on where you are doing this exercise and bring your leg out to the side, with your foot flexed. Swing the leg towards your inner thigh, and then swing it back out. This should resemble a metronome or a windshield wiper motion. Target areas: inner thighs and outer thighs.
  • Frontal Leg Swings: These are similar to the lateral ones except you are now facing away from the wall (or tree, again wherever you are doing the warm-up). Kick forward and then swing the leg behind you with a slight bend at the waist.Target areas: inner and outer thighs.
  • High Knees: One knee up and arms bent in an alternating 90 degree angled position. Pump your arms as you jog or step with your knees as high as your chest.
  • Butt Kickers: Lean slightly forward and jog forward. While you do this, attempt to kick your butt with the heels of your shoes. This targets the legs but specifically the hamstrings.
  • Jumping Jacks: Now we start getting some blood flow into the body!

Now moving on to the workout, most people might consider running. As I stated in a previous article, I like running sprints as opposed to running long distance. You may not have a choice based on your location, but to maintain lean muscle try doing short bursts of speed which are better plus this style of training prevents you from becoming bored with your workout.


What if running is not your style? No worries. You are not alone. Many of the clients I train share the same sentiment. The next best thing is what is referred to as HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. The body runs through a series of short bursts of exercises with very little recovery time. It is definitely more cardio based and even has body weight exercises involved as opposed to Olympic lifting like what you see in CrossFit. Here is an example of a HIIT workout:

  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 4 burpees
  • 2 tuck jumps
  • 30 second water break
  • 3 star jumps
  • 10 speed skaters
  • 40 high knees
  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 30 butt kickers
  • 30 second water break
  • 5 burpees
  • 2 star jumps
  • 10 plank jacks
  • 30 bicycles
  • 15 speed skaters
  • 30 second water break
  • as many burpees as you can do!


Very little equipment, a lot of bodyweight, and very little recovery. This forces your body to keep burning calories long after you stop. If you are used to working with this much velocity and volume, then have fun. You are in heaven. But if you are just starting to workout, you may want to consider something a little less intense. Check out the workout below:

  • Chop Squats (60 seconds)
  • Charlie’s Angels Lunge (30 seconds each)
  • Kneeling Crunch (30 seconds each)
  • Push-Up Plank (60 seconds)
  • Rise and Raise (60 seconds)
  • Triceps Press (60 seconds)

This is one kind of workout that you notice doesn’t require equipment (all bodyweight movements), there’s very little impact on the major joints such as knees, ankles, back and still delivers an amazing workout. A great suggestion to help keep you on your toes and maintain a little integrity with your workouts is to take video of yourself with your cell phone. With the video, it will be very obvious to see whether or not you are completing the exercises with proper technique and form.

Perhaps outdoor workouts are not a good fit for you and neither are indoor bootcamps. So, what do you do now? Game stations like Xbox offer some really nice alternatives like:

  • Zumba
  • Just Dance
  • My Fitness Coach
  • Wii Fit Plus
  • Wii Hottest Party
  • The Biggest Loser

There are also some great videos on YouTube if you choose that route as well as great home workout DVDs like P90X and Insanity. Be realistic with your goals. Programs such as those make great infomercials but for the beginner you need to make sure to tread lightly because they are pretty intense and high pace.

In conclusion, there are many ways you can still get your workout in during the winter. Do your research, check them out and once you find one stick with it and soon you will be ready for the beach in no time!

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About Author

Shellane Demarest

I am a fitness professional whose journey began as an overweight child. Honestly, I am glad it happened that way. As I struggled with food and inactivity, I began to research nutrition and exercise. I'm now a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and I'm certified in several Les Mills fitness programs. See my profile page for more information!

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