Ugh, it’s too cold and dark to exercise

Oh, yeah. That’s how I feel sometimes lately. It’s too cold and dark to exercise. I’ve been working with strength coach Andy Wight at AW Strength & Conditioning for three years now. Yes, I deserve a high-five and so does Andy. The thing is, our sessions are usually late in the day. If the sun isn’t down when I get there, it usually is by the time I leave. And it’s been so darn cold lately.

Who wouldn’t rather stay bundled up and cozy than change into exercise clothes and head to the gym? But I keep doing it. My motivation? I know how great I’ll feel when I’m done. Not only physically, but mentally.

Imagine that you’ve worked hard all day, maybe hunched over your computer a lot of the time, or you’re stressed out because of something that happened or is worrying you. Then you go to the gym and get to slam down a big medicine ball over and over again? That’s one of the things Andy often has me do at the beginning of a session. Releases all the tension in your neck and shoulders and it’s also a safe way to release any negative feelings you might be harboring.

Diane Atwood slamming down a medicine ball while exercising
And take that!

If you’re having a little trouble finding the motivation to get some exercise (whatever the season), I found several people who were more than willing to offer words of inspiration.

While I was going through my routine with Andy Wight the other night, a group of women was working out with the other trainer at the gym, Andy Kinslow. Good-natured women who allowed me to shoot this short video of Andy putting them through their paces. It was actually after their workout and I’m sure they were all ready to go home but they indulged me!

I asked members of the group what motivated them to get to the gym, especially on cold, dark nights.

I think having a group environment is motivating. When someone is here and depending on you to show up, that’s what motivates me.

Rebecca Enman

I agree with what Becky said, but I think if you’re talking about specifically in the winter time, I think I feel like I have to come more often in the winter time because I don’t get outside. Summertime it’s easier because I’m outside swimming and stuff, but in the winter time I don’t do a lot else so it forces me to come. I feel like I won’t get any other kind of physical exertion if I don’t come.

Treasa Arey

In addition to the group, the challenge of these workouts is awesome, but doable, and it makes you feel good that you do it and that you’re able to accomplish it. I’ve never stuck to a program for over a year the way that I’ve stuck to this program here. It just keeps me wanting to come back and the people are a huge part of it, the trainers and the people in the class.

Sandy Mullett

Having somebody depend on you, but I also think a lot about 90-year-old Margaret and how I want to take care of her. That’s why I work out generally. It’s harder in the winter because on nice days you just walk out and you go for a run. You can’t do that right now so these [classes] are actually more important.

Margaret Innes

It’s everybody here who helps and I love Andy so it helps me to come out, And I’m getting older so it’s harder to get up and down so it helps me feel better about myself.

Lisa Sawai

And, as Lisa said, it helps to have a trainer you like working with. I’m lucky to have Andy Wight and they’re lucky to have Andy Kinslow. Here’s what he had to say about motivating his clients.

Group exercise class at AW Strength & Conditioning

I think it’s almost like a mindset. I always tell clients just come through the door and get a few minutes of warming up. Sometimes they come in very tired, it’s been a long day, they’re tight, because of the cold weather they’re a little sore, their joints are still. If you can get a minute or two of a little warm-up, motivation changes. All of a sudden, you start feeling better and you get that little energy boost.

When I have groups on cold winter nights, I always try to get them going at a little bit faster pace right away. It gets the blood flowing and the core temperature up and then all of a sudden, boom, they’re motivated and willing to be here.

Andy Kinslow, AW Strength & Conditioning

What about you? What motivates you to exercise?

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.