We have all turned a corner. Summer is now over. Yeah, I said it. Some of us still may be in denial... but it's the truth. The transition from long sunny days to longer, colder nights is now in effect. It's ok. We've all been through this before. But there's a catch... We are about to hit a change in our lifestyles. As the weather gets colder, and the days become shorter, we naturally stay indoors more. Even the types of food that we eat differ. We naturally gravitate towards heavier and more weight bearing foods (meat, potatoes, etc.). It's even apparent in our festive holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Some of you may be saying, "Ben, you're crazy. We are so far away from any of those holidays". Well, the "crazy" part I'm used to, but the whole holiday thing I disagree with. I've seen it. Our exercise activity (and motivation) naturally decreases at a steady rate until we hit January’s spark of New Year resolutions. But why do we allow ourselves to reach a point where we must "resolve" our fitness goals at the beginning every New Year? It's a lot easier (and way healthier) to maintain a fit lifestyle rather than play catch-up in January. Now is the time when we can create a healthy foundation of exercise and nutrition to guide us through the colder weather and incredibly unhealthy holidays.
So here we are... Footsteps away from a new challenge of staying fit. How do we fight the cold weather and holiday pounds?
I suggest starting off with getting a calendar and flipping the pages all the way to January 2010. Pick a goal - it can be anything - lose 10 lbs, run a 6 minute mile, or even workout 5 days a week consistently. Think about where you want to be in January and the activity it requires. For example, if you want to run 6 minute miles, you should be running anywhere from 3-5 times a week (each week consistently getting faster as the months go forward). Now you can take your aspiring activity level/regiment and start working backwards through the calendar. Let’s go to the last week of December on the calendar. What do you see yourself doing? What do you want to be doing? If it's running 4 days a week or alternating cardio and resistance training 5 days a week, pencil it in!! Make it as detailed and realistic as you want. Continue doing this every week until you reach the present day. As the weeks you fill out become closer to today, the workouts that you are filling in per day should be progressively conforming to what you are doing now. You should end up with a workout routine that maintains a consistent progression towards your goal as time moves forward.
The whole point of this is to see things in the big picture. There are going to be some days when challenges will face us. Whether it be rain, snow, or just the plain cold; if we have something to take us out of our current situation and remind us to keep our eyes on the future, we'll be able to stay on the right track.
This way, when we hit January 1st, our resolution will already be resolved…