If you are anything like me, you’re probably sitting at home thinking, “Why is it raining?” and more importantly “How do I motivate myself to get to the gym during a torrential downpour?”

Rain is one of the rare Southern California elements that seems to be able to clear traffic jams — no one here drives in it; it prevents overcrowding at the workplace — folks have been known to call in their sick days to avoid going out in it; but worst of all, its deluge has the uncanny ability to dissolve even the best laid plans to hit the gym.

You can’t let poor weather get in the way of your progress. Trust me, I’m so right there with you all on this because as much as we need it — unless I’m safely ensconced between warm blankets with my cats curled up beside me — I hate the rain. And I love everything.

So, how do you break through the water barrier? And, while we’re discussing rain, let’s also add the upcoming cold season to our list of potential gym attendance squelchers. Because let’s face it; the winter chill and the days getting shorter paired with the desire to “nest on the couch” with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa does not a calorie deficit make.

Today, I’m going to share my personal secrets on how to beat the bad weather blues so you can adhere to your workout routine.

Just like when you were in school and you had an upcoming test; preparation is key. I find I’m more apt to attend my morning workout session if my gym clothes have been laid out the night before. At 5 a.m. you’re less likely to make excuses to stay in bed if you have your togs ready to throw on.

A hot shower helps get you going. Yes, at 5 a.m. it is dark out. And yes, it is also cold. But if you take a steamy shower before you go to the gym it will loosen your muscles and inspire you to get a move on. When I’m hitting the gym in the morning I’ll often take a hot shower, wash and shave my legs — but avoid shampooing my hair — I’ll save that for when I’m done with my workout, because I’m going to need to shower afterwards as well. So yes, you’re technically showering twice. If you’re an environmentalist and into saving Southern California’s water; please just skip this piece of advice.

Invest in the proper clothing. When the weather turns bitter you don’t want to be running around in a pair of shorts. Trek down to the mall and pick up some breathable sweats and long sleeved tees. Stay warm. Get yourself a good rain jacket and a pair of cross-training sneakers that you use only for working out and only for when it rains. I know it sounds crazy but having special gear that you deem appropriate for use on special occasions, and making rain a “special occasion,” will psychologically trick you into wanting to wear the gear and thus want to work out.

Layer your clothing. There’s nothing worse than being on the stationary bike, or your preferred cardio machine, getting hot and sweaty and feeling like you can’t get comfortable. Layering allows you to peel off clothing as you warm up and prevents you from getting a chill.

Bring a change of clothes to the gym. Of course it means your gym bag is going to get a bit more bulky but the last thing you want to deal with during inclement weather is to step outside after an amazing workout in wet, sweat-soaked duds. Just bring an extra pair of socks, a change of underwear, sweats and a T-shirt. Keep it simple.

Utilize your gym’s steam room. Fortunately, Burn Fitness has the most amazing steam room. Just 15 minutes will help open up your pores and also ease joint tension and muscle pain. It can also make you forget the cold weather.

Drinking water is so important, but let’s face it — during the cold season, you’re not exactly craving a chilled bottle of water. Here’s a little trick. Purchase some caffeine-free, organic herbal tea. Heat the kettle and make yourself drink several cups a day. As you sip the tea you’ll be accomplishing two things. First, you’ll be getting a warming liquid into your system. Sure it’s not water but with zero calories you’ll be drinking the next best thing and staying hydrated. And second, the more tea you sip during the day, the less you’ll be tempted to munch on inappropriate snacks.

Pretend going to the gym is a part of your job. Whatever you do to earn income is probably the most important thing in your life, but your health should always come first. If you convince yourself that you will be fired unless you get yourself there, watch how quickly you make time for that workout.

So don’t let this dreary season prevent you from stepping out next summer with an awesome body. There is no excuse. You must get yourself to the gym, unless of course you write for a newspaper and you’re on deadline. Kidding, folks! Make it happen.

Taylor can be reached at tailfish@roadrunner.com.

By the numbers

Starting Weight: 182

Pounds Lost: 26

Current Weight: 156

Goal Weight: 135

Pounds to Lose to Goal: 21

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