The decreased sunlight, cooler temperatures and wetter days can really zap one’s energy and motivation. This is often called “the winter blues.” Sometimes people need a little extra motivation to get out of the house and into the gym during this dreary season. Here are 10 ways to beat the winter blues and stay on a positive course toward weight loss, muscle building and overall conditioning.

1. Schedule your workouts! Once you workout, you will feel better. Yet, getting there is half the battle. Write down exercise time in your day planner to ensure it becomes a priority.
2. Vary your routine, but keep moving. Try yoga, workout videos, gym machines and indoor pools. Anything that gets your metabolism going will have a positive effect on your mood.
3. Enjoy the outdoors. Take advantage of sunny days to get some fresh air and sunlight. Bundle up and take the dog for a walk or jog. Head to the snowy hills for ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding or snow-shoeing.
4. Eat many colors of the rainbow to get adequate nutrition. Colorful fruits and vegetables are nutrient-rich and contain antioxidants – two keys to boosting your mood. Try to include foods that are every color of the rainbow with your meal. For instance, red foods like tomatoes and watermelon are antioxidants that can cut the risk of prostate cancer, while blueberries and blue plums destroy free radicals.
5. Avoid drinking too much caffeine (more than two or three cups per day), which can create nervous anxiety, mood swings or insomnia.
6. Be sure you get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is essential for memory, learning, immune system function and the metabolism too.
7. Brighten your world. Spend time near the windows during the day and use full spectrum bulbs that mimic natural light during the evening hours.
8. Make time each day for an activity you enjoy – whether it’s watching your favorite show, walking your dog around the neighborhood, or reading a book. Everyone needs a little down time to feel refreshed.
9. Take a vitamin D supplement to improve your mood during the winter months.
10. Make your own floral arrangement from the local florist and place vases around the house to brighten the place with a little bit of life.

The winter is a great time to set some goals for yourself and focus on fitness. At www.chitownbootcamps.com, you can get a fresh start with a free fitness consultation with a personal trainer and a week of fitness boot camp classes.