Fall Back into your Fitness Routine
Summer is coming to an end. Most of us probably can’t call it the best summer ever, however, the opportunity to return to beaches, cottages and patios was one we, as a collective city, were very grateful to have. We’re entering fall 2020, which if this year has taught us anything, anything can and will happen. A strong and healthy mind, body and soul is essential to thriving with whatever this year has to throw at us.
September is like January 2.0. It’s the perfect month to re-energize and recommit to your health and fitness goals. In a normal, reasonable year, most of us tend to use our free time in the summer to enjoy the beautiful weather and get a little off track. With COVID-19, this trend might have started a little earlier. The CEO of ClassPass noted that while customers lost their ability to work out in their gym during a pandemic, the real pain point was having routines disrupted negatively and I think that’s a very real reality, which is one of the reasons I am constantly encouraging others and providing content and workouts that can be done anytime, anywhere. While I'm also providing the workouts, here are some of my best tips and tricks to help you get back on track this fall.
Focus on building strength:
Those little baby weights we pulled out of our mom’s basements were great little saviours over the last few months but they aren’t comparable to anything you’d regularly do in the weight room. As a result, you’ve probably lost a lot of strength and muscle. This will impact everything you do, from going for a jog, to your ability to power through a spin class to even just carrying your grocery bags home. I think it’s really important to invest in a good set of weights that will challenge you and weren’t purchased from Zellers with a Jane Fonda or Tae Bo VHS tape.
To reduce the risk of injury, it’s advisable to go at 50-75% of your normal intensity for the first one or two weeks since you’ve been out of it. Fortunately, muscles have amazing memories and soon it will be like nothing ever happened.
Keep things interesting:
Your mind is probably super bored right now because the world isn’t the world it’s used to living in. We’re used to a much more stimulating lifestyle. The last thing you need is a boring workout routine. Change things up, try new things and challenge your normal!
You can try a million online classes right now and not feel uncomfortable when you don’t know the exercise or the workout. In fact, making an effort to keep your mind busy and challenged outside the gym will also help keep your mental health in very good shape.
Leave an all or nothing mindset behind:
The worst thing about diet culture is that we’re taught that we need to take an all or nothing approach to healthy eating and even fitness, which is absolutely not true.
You should NEVER get to the point where you don’t find joy or positive emotions in your health and fitness routine. That’s a big red flag. It’s important to strive for balance and moderation, not perfection. Perfect isn’t sustainable. Even if you can get to a point where you eat and follow an extreme diet perfectly, you can’t maintain that forever. There’s always going to be birthday parties, holidays and other events and celebrations where food, and “bad” food is going to play a central role. And, it’s important to enjoy that.
Book your workout into your schedule 7 days a week, even if you don’t use it to workout:
99% of us don’t “have time” for a health and wellness schedule. We make time. Like we make time to grab a coffee, wash our face, pick our kids up from school or brush our teeth. We have ingrained in our minds that those are things we have to do. In reality, the only real difference is that if you don’t pick your kids up, there are probably some pretty extreme consequences. While, If you don’t go to the gym, the worst thing that’s going to immediately happen is you might get fined $20 for missing a class or something. You might get a strongly worded automatic email.
Most of us don’t (and shouldn’t) work out seven days a week but you should slot it into your calendar regardless. Even if you don’t do any activity, actively think of it as your fitness time. The available time on a daily basis gets you in the habit of making your workout a top priority that nothing else can overrule.
Get committed to the feeling:
A lot of people get really focused on how they look when starting or returning to a fitness routine. A better way is to go beyond the visuals and focus on how you feel.
When you complete something that’s important to you. Attach an emotion to it.
Accomplishment, energized, strong, healthy, happy, sexy, and confident are all good emotions to consider if you’re not sure what you’re feeling after a workout.
Measure your progress:
It’s important to measure your process but not in inches or pounds. The token economy is a great way to make kids learn desired behaviors but grown-ups can use it as well. In fact, if you’ve ever had a ClassPass or Peloton subscription, you’ve already used it to achieve your fitness and health goals. For example, Peloton gives its riders badges for miles biked, classes completed and consecutive rides, which is proven to help people get and stay committed. ClassPass uses the same system but in the instances of a user trying a new studio or activity or completing a certain milestone of classes taken.
However, you don’t need to purchase anything to implement this strategy in your day to day life. Celebrate your health and fitness milestones by recognizing them in a way that makes you feel accomplished and like you want to keep going.