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Athlete Training Advice: How to Stay Motivated During Winter

We all know that it is human nature for motivation levels to drop in the winter months. The days get shorter, the weather gets colder and wetter, and the thought of being active and taking control of our own destiny suddenly becomes less appealing. There are always solutions, quick wins that you can do each day to build your own momentum.

Science in Sport spoke to SiS Athlete and Ambassador, Jessie Tappin, and co-founder of Limitless Coaching, Dan Putnam, to get their advice on how to stay motivated during the ‘off-season’.

Five ways to stay motivated this winter:

1. Set goals

Goal setting can be a major factor in whether we achieve the things we want to in life, or wander aimlessly without something to target. We can use both short- and long-term goals to inject that drive, whether those goals are performance related, or goal oriented, i.e. fat loss or muscle gain/toning. Perhaps you have a competition in the spring that you are aiming to peak for, but how do you get there? By setting several short-term goals, as little as you would like them to be, that you can be proud of when you hit and can push you forward to your next target.

2. Try new things

One of the most demotivating things can be getting stuck doing the same old things day in day out. Whether this is lifestyle related, or within sport and fitness, take the opportunity this winter to branch out and try new things, new activities, new exercises. Whether that be going to a group class at your gym or trying out a new form of exercise to compliment your training, such as yoga or pilates, the excitement of something new in your life is a great way of teaching your body to adapt and evolve and will inject that motivation back into your life.

Jessie jumping with weight in gym

3. Find a workout partner

Training can be a solitary place, especially if you must do it alone. Try to set a time and a place to meet up with a friend, colleague, or teammate to work out together, whether that be through playing sport or something as casual as going for a run or bike ride together. When your own motivation starts to dwindle, a workout partner can help you through the tough times, and in return you can do the same for them.

4. Create a healthy routine

As much as it is important to mix things up in your life, there are certain things that we must try and have a structure to, if we are to keep up our motivation. Making sure you get 8 hours of sleep each night, drinking 3 litres of water each day, and ensuring you are eating at regular times and hitting all of your macronutrients, can be key to whether we succeed with our goals or not. Habit trackers can be a fantastic way to keep on top of this, where you can monitor sleep, hydration, steps, and many other important parts of your day all in one place, to make sure you are staying on top of your game.

5. Get enough sunlight

This method of staying motivated in the winter months is particularly important, but one that is easy for us to ignore. Even though the temperature may be dropping, on top of supplementing vitamin D into your diet, make sure you get outside at least once a day, for a minimum of 15 minutes, not only to expose yourself to the sun, but also to get some fresh air. It is easy for us all to revert to training indoors in the winter months, and to hide away from the cold in our homes, only leaving to drive somewhere in the car. Cabin fever is certainly not a way to maintain motivation in this period, so layer up if you need to, and get outside, even if only for a little bit each day.

running on track in dark

Top tips from Limitless Coaching:

1. Challenge yourself everyday

No matter how big or small, set yourself something to achieve each day. Remember, we can’t always feel 100%, but we can always give 100%.

2. Don’t forget about your nutrition

Stay on top of your meal plans and supplements this winter. Make sure you are ready to fuel your day with a nutritious breakfast, have your recovery meal prepped for when you finish training, and supplement your needs with a protein shake or a bar. Recovery and preparation are both key in maintaining motivation, and the foods you eat can play a key factor.

3. Be accountable

Make yourself accountable by monitoring your week. Whether it be logging the number of hours you sleep, making a note of what you enjoyed doing, or how your energy levels are at the end of a tough week, you can use this data to constantly develop and improve yourself, and to realign your motivation throughout the winter months.

Dan and Jessie smiling at each other

Do you feel like you would benefit from support from two elite athletes? Reach out to Limitless Coaching today, where Jess and Dan (GB 400m hurdler and 400m runner) can help you, both set and smash your goals this winter, and show you that possibilities have no boundaries when it comes to what you can achieve.

To register interest today, visit, and get the ball rolling!


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