How to Motivate Yourself to Get to the Gym During the Winter

We know we should, but our beds are just so cozy.
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We know we should, but our beds are just so cozy.

fitness, motivation

Art Credit: Erica Sharp

The gym. Winter makes it so hard to get there. It's Siberia-esque early in the morning—and dark by 4 p.m. By the time you make the trek to the fitness center, you've either just sat on icy leather car seats or taken a bone-chilling stroll. So the idea of stripping down to a tank and shorts (which may be a workout in itself depending on your bundling skills), is the last thing you want to do.

There are so many good reasons to get your rear there. Here are seven motivators to help you make the trip even when your soul is screaming, "STAY IN BED!"

01. Be grateful you can go.

Complaining about your looming spin class? News flash: YOU HAVE A GYM MEMBERSHIP. Which means you have either extra time or funds to invest in your mental and physical health. You are #blessed. Injury-free? Illness-free? Incredible! Now do your body good and get yourself in there.

02. You don't have to go balls to the walls. Just. Get. There. 

Fact: Exercise actually increases your motivation to work out. Mind BLOWN. According to a 2014 study by the University of Copenhagen, moderate exercise may motivate you to maintain your workout routine. Those who exercised for 30 minutes a day lost an average of 8 pounds during the 3-month trial, while those who exercised for an hour lost an average of 6 pounds. (The study was performed on men. But women, take note.) Whether you have a weight-loss goal in mind or not, the point is clear—you don't have to put pressure on yourself to have the longest, hardest workout. In fact, it might be hurting you.

03. You are gonna feel so good.

Working out isn’t just about looking good. And science confirms it. A 2014 study published in the journal Body Image found that exercise frequency was related to higher positive body image, but high levels of appearance-based exercise motivation weakened these relationships. Instead of focusing on what your body isn't or can't do, think about what it is and what it can do.

04. You now have a legitimate reason to shave.

Who likes shaving in the winter? Seriously. Guys have 'No-Shave November'. Little do they know we women dedicate a whole season to it. Our legs and armpits go into hiding. What's the point of shaving? No one sees them, and it saves your skin from turning into sandpaper. But when the hairs have moved past being prickly and are actually kind of soft and nice and… NO. You don't have to shave everyday, but the gym is a good reminder to whip out the razor every once in a while. (Granted, leggings do the trick if you're working on your no-shave bragging rights.)

05. You don't have to stick to your routine.

Sick and tired of your banal 30 minutes on the elliptical? Thought so. And your body is, too. According to a 2014 study, repetitive workouts are killing your motivation. Explore the gym, ladies! In the study, two groups of participants were asked to perform four exercises (i.e. lunges, jumping jacks, bear crawls, medicine-ball throws). One group was given the opportunity to choose the order of exercises, while a control group performed them in a pre-determined order. The results? The group who got to choose performed way more sets and reps of all exercises than the control group. So giving yourself choices, rather than a strict plan, can positively impact your workout—and prevent gym boredom.

06. Working out can be prime bonding time with your bestie.

Let's be real—when the alarm goes off before the crack of dawn, you have no motivation to leave your warm sheets. But if you're accountable to someone besides yourself—i.e. your workout buddy—your chances of making a move at that cringing alarm increases. A

Stanford University study

 found that people who were offered support to exercise increased the amount of time they worked out each week by more than an hour over the course of one year. So call up your girlfriend (mom, sister, or cousin), and make a pact together to get yourselves to the gym. And if nothing else, it's someone next to you on the treadmill to revel with about the episode of

House Hunters International

on the screen in front of you.

07. Your last-ditch convincing effort: the reward.

If none of the previous has convinced you to get out there, promise yourself a reward. Maybe it's a manicure or the simple joy of snuggling in your knee-high fuzzy socks. Day made.