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:
In the dead of summer, running- or working out in general- can be a struggle to say the least. Getting out to fight the heat and humidity, especially when the sun is beating down can be a big ask. Running, cycling, hiking, paddling, swimming, or any other outdoor activity is that much harder in the heat. In fact, at times, even indoor workouts at home, at the gym or in the pool can be a struggle when the temperature is high and the motivation is low.
So what can we do to stay motivated to run (or exercise in any fashion) during the peak of summer? That was a question asked of me by one of my runners earlier in the month, as she was struggling to find the desire to get out and run in the heat. Here’s 6 suggestions I gave her to help keep her motivated:
“So, what’s the rule about exercise when you’re sick?” I can’t count the number of times I’m asked this question during the winter, when colds and flu abounds. Die hard runners are wanting to push through coughing fits to get in training mileage for upcoming races, triathletes have been know to swim a 50, then hang on the edge of the pool trying to recover as they suffer from the flu. And everyone gets a little grossed out by that one guy in the gym who seems to be coughing all over every piece of equipment he touches.
During our last phone call prior to her first Ironman, I asked Marnie, my client to share with me her biggest take-away in her Ironman journey. She restated to me something I’d told her when she first decided to race Ironman; that all the training, the nutrition, the recovery, the strength training, was all part of the process of becoming an Ironman. Marnie had realized that becoming Ironman isn’t an outcome, it’s a process.
I’ve been thinking a lot about running as of late. Maybe it’s because race season is here. Or because after 2 years I’m finally back to full running workouts again. Or possibly it’s the my recent run in rural PA, where I enjoyed a run on some good old country roads.
But most likely, it’s because I’ve been working with a few novice runners, who are just getting into the sport, and have some fairly lofty goals. I’ve had several conversations with them about injuries. And while they are novices, even experienced runners get hurt. In fact the injury rate for runners is an astounding 70%. Yikes! That’s more than football! Because of running’s repetitive nature and high impact forces, running can be as harsh on the body as it can be soothing to the soul.
With the year almost over, it’s a good time to reflect and reevaluate last year’s goals prior to making New Year’s resolutions for this year. Last year, did you meet your goals? Did you drop those extra pounds, invest that extra paycheck, or race a personal best at your “A” race this year? Did you get to spend more time with the family, or run that 5k with at your children's’ school? Were you able to get to the gym more or eat healthier this year like you’d planned?
Well, if you answered “no”, you’re not alone.