We have entered the worst season of the year: the in-between season, or darkness season, or, if you prefer, put-sweatpants-on-the-second-you-get-home season.

We’re past the pleasant, crispy part of fall, ski season hasn’t started in earnest yet and daylight savings time just swooped in to underscore the desolation.

workout motivation

Materialism does have benefits: Studies have shown buying a snazzy new outfit will help you get motivated to work out. Photo: Shutterstock

It’s just really cold and dark, and all of that can combine to make it hard to get any kind of physical activity happening, especially when it’s dark in the morning and dark at night.

But don’t sink into your couch just yet. Ski season is nigh, and at some point, the sun will come back.

Until then, here are some ideas to keep you motivated and moving through sadness season.



Setting a workout date with a buddy will make you less likely to skip it, despite the fall ick. Photo: Shutterstock

You know what friends are great for? Peer pressure.

Recruit your friends to act as outside influencers who will help keep you motivated. If you make plans to work out with a friend, you’re much less likely to flake, and you’ll also have more fun.

Plus, workout time will count as hangout time, so the two of you can catch up while you sweat it out. Two birds, one stone.

Get outside

The hardest part is getting out the door. Once you’re outside, there are a bunch of benefits coming your way.

Take advantage of the midday sun by sneaking in a lunchtime run, find a friend to run at night with so the dark isn’t so intimidating or get high-powered lights for your mountain bike and tackle a well-known trail.

Get gear

biking in the dark

Having the right gear can make you more likely to get outside during daylight savings months. Photo: Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde

Materialism has some value. Studies have shown that putting on clothes that you’re excited about will make you more motivated, so splurge for some new running tights or a flashy hat (bonus points if they’re reflective so you’re easy to spot).

If you’re biking at night, use bright lights and reflectors so you’re visible and can see around you.


Blasting the Biebs through your headphones isn’t frivolous or embarrassing (maybe). A beat can blare you through bitter cold and make you forget that you’re working hard.

Just be sure if you’re recreating outside that you can hear traffic and other things going on around you.

Pay for it

If it’s crappy enough outside that you have to work out indoors, put a price tag on it.

Paying for a spin studio membership or yoga classes ahead of time will make you feel guilty enough that you’ll get your butt in gear.

Set a goal

Sign up for a race or an event. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 5k Turkey Trot or a 50-mile ski mountaineering race.

Committing to an event will give you more motivation to get out there.

Do it in the morning

Yeah, yeah, it's cold or whatever. But a hot shower awaits when you're done. Photo: @kostrenko31/Twenty20

Yeah, yeah, it’s cold or whatever. But a hot shower awaits when you’re done. Photo: @kostrenko31/Twenty20

Brutal, we know, but getting it out of the way without question means it’s done, and it will make you feel less guilty if you slip into that 5 p.m. maybe-I’ll-just-go-home-and-drink-cocoa-with-schnapps lull.

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