I am not a person who enjoys the cold. I recognize the necessity of winter. I know that several of my vegetables need a snap of frost in order to grow correctly. I get the whole seasonal shift. And don’t get me wrong, I love autumn when the air is crisp and snappy, but I do not enjoy the winter. While I will throw a snowball, when planning any sort of ski vacation, my plans revolve around the hot chocolate.
It is my natural proclivity to go out as little as possible once the temperatures reach a certain low. I want to be left alone until spring and the little snowdrops, crocuses and daffodil shoots dot the earth and beckon me from my pseudo hibernation.
That is however, not an option. Life goes on and cold or not I am a part of it.
And so the personal trickery begins.
Because I do not have a gym in my house, I must therefore leave the house to get to the gym. Sad but true. That is part of the reality. Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble going out in the cold to do necessary tasks like grocery shopping, work, doctor’s visits and so forth. I just don’t want to add anything extra to take myself outside if it is unnecessary.
And despite needing the gym to lose weight, especially in the winter when my favorite walking paths are alternately flooded with winter rains or blasted with bitter winds, my brain still doesn’t see the gym as a necessity. It is something I choose to do not something required to sustain life. So I must trick myself if I want to continue to go.
The best way I have found to trick myself into going to the gym when I don’t really want to?
That’s right, I dress for success. (go ahead, think that in your best cheesy 1980’s movie/television voice, I did.)
Because my gym is packed to the rafters until about 8:30-9 each morning with people trying to get workouts in before heading to the office (or showering post workout so they don’t stink up the office) and my schedule is flexible, on my gym days I leave the house around 9 ish (sometimes later) so that the crowd clears out. I don’t like to have to hunt for lockers any more than I like standing around waiting for machines.
I also get up a little before seven. Normally (aka the warm months) when I have no trouble leaving the warmth of my home I don’t dress for the gym until just before leaving. What I wear depends on if there is a video conference that morning. Those mornings I look sharp from the waist up while still wearing my pajama pants. Just don’t tell anyone.
Not everyone appreciates fuzzy cookie monster themed sleepwear.
Which is sad.
On cold mornings when I know I am not going to want to go to the gym, I put on my workout clothes as soon as I am out of bed. Before I even wash my face and put the coffee on to brew, I have wrestled myself into my sports bra, yoga pants and cheap cotton t-shirt.
I find it harder to talk myself out of going to the gym if I have already gone to the trouble of putting on the gym clothes. I know I am not going to sit all day with my sport’s bra squashing my boobs. I know that sitting around in a t-shirt, which more than likely has sweat stains or is looking a little worse for wear due to so many extra washings, is going to drive me to go change clothes.
Thats why when I know the temperatures are going to plummet and I am not going to want to go out, I make sure to select the grubbiest gym shirt from my pile of still acceptable gym shirts to wear.
I know I have a limit to how long I can wear it.
For me, I think the wearing of the gym clothes preps my brain. It tells me that the decision to go has already been made. I don’t have to like it, I just have to accept it.
Also changing out of gym clothes without having sweat in them first feels like failure. It feels like a defeat. I may not be the world’s most competitive person, But I try not to defeat myself.
So once I put on the gym clothes I almost always go to the gym.
I find this is a trick that works on cold days, rainy days, over cast days and days I am just not feeling like like going because the scale hasn’t moved in a while and I feel it is all an exercise in futility.
If I put those clothes on then, by god, I am going to sweat in them before I take them off again. If I chose to not put them on the next gym day then so be it, but today they are already on.
It’s a little thing, but for me, it has proven quite beneficial. I don’t know if I am the only one who talks themselves out of workouts, but if you have the same inclination, perhaps this little trick will work for you as well.