When your vacation days are spent, daylight is at a premium, and the weather’s anything but uplifting, you need an extra bit of workout motivation to get you through the colder, darker months.
“There’s definitely a different tenor,” says Pete McCall, adjunct faculty in Exercise Science at Mesa College. “We’re back in the grind. We don’t have the freewheeling carefree schedule of summer. We’ve got to get the kids to school on time.’”
Besides the weight of routine and responsibility, a dip in serotonin—one of the body’s neurotransmitters—may be to blame for post-summer funk.
“High serotonin levels are associated with positive moods, while low levels are associated with depressed mood,” says Jonathan Fader, sports psychologist and author of Life as Sport: What Top Athletes Can Teach You About How to Win in Life. Physical activity and the vitamin D from sunlight, both of which are believed to keep serotonin on the up and up, can be the first thing to go when the weather changes and a weekend on the couch seems more inviting than a jog in the park.
So how do you get back on track when it feels like the weather channel and your brain are plotting against you?
We’ve come up with a few different strategies for guys who like to work out alone and those who are motivated by a more social environment.