For many of us, this is one of the most depressing times of the year. Farmer’s markets are getting fewer and further between, sunny Sunday morning walks outside will soon be traded for dreary, grey, chilly weekends on the couch, and it won’t be long before it’s dark before we even make it home from the office. That’s right my friends, another summer is all but finished, and the prospects of a long fall and even longer winter are imminent…unless of course you’re like me and a long winter here in San Diego means low 60′s for a few months. But I digress…
If you’re like most people, when Memorial Day hit, you went in to overdrive. You cut the crap from your diet, started up with the cardio, maybe even started hitting the weights. You made your bi-annual resolution to get in shape so you wouldn’t look like the beached whale in all of your summer swimsuit picks; an admirable goal indeed. But let’s get real for a second people…you’re motivation levels (and subsequent progress) are just like a roller coaster; they rise and fall with the seasons. Just before summer, you’re as motivated as can be. You sink into a fall/winter lull, and then perk up again right around New Year’s and join all of the resolution go-ers at the gym. Then you fall back into old habit’s a month or so later and figure you’ll wait til summer to get going again…sound familar?
This is how 80% of the fitness population lives. This is why those awesomely fit people are so few and far between. This is why there are so many fad diets out there. This is why you feel like you can’t make any progress. All you’re doing is taking one step forward, one (maybe two) steps back. You’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. What kind of life is this? Either you want to change your body once and for all, or you don’t. If you are okay with being average, by all means, keep on doing what you’ve been doing. But if you’re like 95% of the fitness population out there, you don’t want to be average. You want to look like the people with the tight, toned, and healthy bodies you see every so often at the gym. Well, that too is an admirable goal. The good news is, there isn’t some secret formula or genetic code you need to have been born with to achieve those goals. All you need is CONSISTENCY. That’s it. Simple, undying, and all-encompassing, consistency.
The people with the healthiest and fittest bodies are the most consistent. It doesn’t hurt to have a well-designed fitness plan, but we’ve of course got you covered there too. So, that being said, you’re out of excuses. If you need to wake up an extra 45 minutes early to workout, so be it. It all comes down to what you want more…do you want to continue being average or do you want to finally make lasting change? Lasting change takes hard work but the good thing is A) you’ve probably already started yourself off with a good base given your summer workouts and B) the longer you stick to something, the easier it becomes. Waking up at 530 to workout is going to suck for the first few weeks; I’m not going to lie to you. But if you manage to maintain this consistently, you’ll notice within the month, it’s become a part of your daily routine and is no longer something to dread. Success breeds confidence, motivation, and eventually, more success. Stay consistent and success (and high motivation) will follow.
Some tips to finally breaking the bi-annual workout curse and turning your summer body into simply, your everyday body….
Create a plan (or have one created for you). Studies have shown those with a plan are more likely to make progress in the gym. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning, going to the gym, then figuring out what to do once you’re there isn’t going to work for very long. When you have a planned workout each day, you know what you’re doing, time isn’t wasted, and there is a level of accountability. When the weather starts getting colder, days get shorter, and going to the gym isn’t high on your priority list, having a plan will give you the structure you need to push on through when all you want to do is just go home and crawl into bed.
Now is the time for change. Summer is over and it’s a great time to change things up. Whatever you were doing all summer, STOP. You’ve got to change things up to keep making progress. Some awesome ways to mix things up to keep the progress coming: alternating HIIT intervals, increasing the weight, adding new exercises, trying super sets/drop sets/pyramid sets/etc, using only complex workouts, introducing new forms of cardio…you get the idea. Again, if you need help planning a routine and/or mixing things up effectively, let us know, and we’ll be happy to help.
Cook Ahead. Summer often brings about a care-free attitude, which is pervasive in a lot of our actions. Now is the time to really focus on your diet. Prepare foods well in advance so you are always prepared and not stuck going to Burger King on your lunch break. Grill chicken breasts in bulk, make enough brown rice to last the week, make a big pot of oatmeal early in the week, pre-slice vegetables so after work dinner is that much easier, and always have health ingredients/foods in your house. It’s amazing how cloudy, rainy, and cold days can sap us of our motivation. Recognize this and do all you can to make a healthy diet as easy and painless to keep up with as possible.
Embrace the weather change. When it’s warm, sunny, and beautiful out, it’s sometimes hard to coop yourself up in a gym. It’s hard to even workout when your friends are all going to a barbecue, or happy hour outside, or doing any other fun summer activity. When the days are cold, dark, and miserable, focus on yourself. Spend Saturday and Sunday at the gym. Put in a solid 2-3 hours of work. You’re not going to be hanging outdoors very much..and being in the gym beats the hell out of sitting on the sofa or walking around a shopping mall to kill time. When it’s dark by 5pm, don’t despair. Get yourself in the gym or doing a serious at-home workout, and relish the lack of distractions that you fought all summer long.
Find ways to build your motivation. One of the most underrated abilities in terms of working out and making success is finding ways to build and maintain your motivation each day. Seriously, building your motivation is MORE important than building your biceps or six-pack. When you don’t feel like working out, having a stockpile of motivation will help you push through. The demons in your head are preventing you from reaching your goals..NOTHING else is. When you find out how to beat them, you will finally realize true success. A couple of tips to build motivation; when you’re at the gym, look around. It’s much emptier than it was during summer isn’t it? You’re one of the committed few; embrace that. Be proud of yourself. Hold yourself to this high standard. If you start slacking and are on the verge of joining the 80% of seasonal exercisers, remind yourself how good it felt to know you were doing what almost no one else was. To take it further, mark your progress (and I don’t mean by stepping on a scale). Track your strength gains, measure your waistline, legs, and neck. Remember, it isn’t about how much you weigh, it’s about your physique and body composition.
- Compete and set goals. By this I mean, find reasons to keep pushing yourself. Sign up for a 5k, 10k, half-marathon…whatever your abilities allow for. When you are training for an event, you are now accountable. There are plenty of fitness events that will keep you pushing yourself all winter long. To take it a step further, find yourself a real challenge 6 or so months down the road. Maybe you’ve always wanted to complete a triathlon. Now is the time to find one, mark it down on your calendar, and train for it. You’ve got many months before race season really kicks off..use this time to train for one of those events you’ve always wanted to check off your bucket list. Six months are MORE than enough time to get yourself ready for a triatholon…set a goal, work towards it, and remind yourself why you’re working out on days you want to slack.
Need Help Continuing With Your Summer Progress?
At ShareItFitness.com we’re here to help you. Head on over to our full site and sign up to get access to hundreds of OnDemand fitness classes you can follow along with at home or in the gym. Need a little more help with your fitness plan? Our team of fitness professionals is ready to create a plan designed just for you and your needs. Drop us a note and let us know what you need and we’ll be sure to help you find something to keep you going all fall and winter long.