Anyone who's ever made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape knows, developing and maintaining a sustainable fitness regimen is much easier said than done. And the key to doing so is to develop the habit of fitness. When a habit is ingrained, we are more likely to throw a leg over the bike, get out and run, drive to the pool, go to the gym, or unroll that yoga mat in the living room, regardless of the circumstance in which we find ourselves. But again, we all have the best of intentions, but the grand majority of us tend to fall short. However, there are that small percentage of people that seem to never miss a workout or skip leg day- they are constantly eating healthy, and always look fit!
So what makes those weekend warriors able to develop a sustainable fitness regimen? How come they never seem to lack motivation, are able to navigate hectic work commitments, the kid’s carpool schedule, and still keep those abs looking good and the run times dropping?
Keeping up with the Changing Seasons: How to Keep on Track when the Clock Rolls Back (or Falls Forward)
With the change of the seasons, many of us find it challenging to maintain our fitness routine. Whether it be the shorter days, the colder weather, or the inevitable hiatus from athletic competition we can fall into the trap of struggling to keep our exercise regimen going strong into the Fall and Winter months. Combine that with the Holiday season and its onslaught of office parties, family gatherings, and the food temptations that come along with them, it can be a recipe for health and fitness backsliding of epic proportions. In fact, most Americans gain 10 lbs. over the winter months.
However, bulging waistlines and failed fitness goals don’t have to be the norm when the seasons change. Here are 6 tips to help keep up our momentum as the seasons change:
On a recent trip to visit family in Utah, I went on an early morning recovery run and wound up in the ER. After a long day of travel and a poor night’s sleep, I arose early to run and found myself struggling to maintain an 11:00/mi pace (for me, that’s very, very easy under normal conditions). Initially, I rationalized that I was probably dehydrated from the flight, and that I was now running at 5,000 ft elevation when I live and train at sea level, and that I was tired from not sleeping well. All of those factors were valid reasons as to why I’d struggle, so I pushed on, trying to shake off the extreme fatigue. However, I only made it around the block before deciding to stop and walk back. During that 5 minute run, my heart rate had skyrocketed and I had to sit down on the curb 3 different times just to catch my breath.
Something wasn’t right. And I knew it.
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the entire world is breathing a sigh of relief as we get this most difficult year behind us. So much has changed in just 365 days, with a global health crisis dominating so much of our lives for what has seemed like an eternity. Entire countries have been locked down and huge events such as the Olympics, the Boston marathon, and the Ironman World Championships (along with almost every other athletic event) have been cancelled or postponed. On a smaller and more personal scale, families have been separated for weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthdays, and holidays. In short, it's been a really hard year.
Yet, as with all hard things, there are a few lessons we can learn from maybe the most globally challenging year in our lifetime.
A Few Thoughts on Gratitude
I’ve been thinking about gratitude over the past several weeks. After all, it is the time of year when we give thanks for the many blessings, privileges, and opportunities we’ve been given. I certainly have had my fair share. I’ve got my health, my faith, my wonderful family, and my business- no small thing in this time of pandemic.
Like many of you, there is a lot I’ve learned over the last 2.5 months hunkered down with my wife, our dog Bella, and our little guy Evan in a 1,000 sq ft apartment. Certainly I’ve learned a lot about myself, and my family, but I’ve also learned from you. All of us have gone through unique experiences during this time of quarantine - and many of us have gone through very similar ones. Hopefully we can come out on the other side of this with some lessons learned that will serve us in times of peace as well as times of crisis.
While the pandemic casts a dark cloud over our lives currently, hopefully we see the silver lining of perspective - of lessons learned from this pandemic and lockdown. Here are 6:
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of daily life have taken a backseat. And rightfully so. The fitness world has seen its share of turmoil as the Olympic games, the Boston Marathon, all NCAA championships, and all professional sports leagues have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Many personal fitness goals have been compromised as races and events world-wide have been cancelled, gyms and pools have been shut down, and most places are enacting ‘shelter in place’ protocols.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2019 was as good to you as it was to me. And I also hope you’re looking forward to an even better 2020. It’s not just the start of a new year, but an entire new DECADE! What a great time to evaluate our lives and examine the challenges, opportunities and blessings we’ve been granted over the past 10 years, and think about where we want to be in the next 10.
Perspective: Two Keys to Keep it
With the New Year upon us, and the Christmas season just concluding, it's a great time to reflect on 2018 and all the positive changes made during the calendar year. For me, my business grew by almost 15%, I posted a PR returning to Ironman triathlon after a 4 year hiatus, and qualified for the Boston Marathon on a last-minute whim. I had clients get into wedding-shape, runners that completed life-long race goals, and triathletes who became first-time Ironmen. And while all those accomplishments are incredible in their own right, nothing compares to the birth of my son. With the arrival of this 7 pound little wonder, my entire outlook on life has shifted in an almost indescribable way. Everyone said that would happen. That I’d see the world just a little bit differently. From how I would spend my time, to my goals in life, to my triathlon training, etc. They said it would all change. And they were right!
Recently I saw a news story which cited an interesting study. Researchers found that taking vacations increases life expectancy by 37%. While many of you may think that’s a no-brainer, many still struggle to maintain that coveted work-life balance. Here in the DC Metro Area is ground zero for type-A go getters.
These high achievers excel in their professional lives, working 60, 70, and 80 hour work weeks, thriving in the process. In fact, I know several people that forgo that vacation time each year due to their hectic jobs. They trade in time at the beach for a few more hours at at the office, a last-minute client meeting or to catch up on paperwork, proposals, or emails.