Updated: Jun 6, 2019
In just a few short weeks, summer will officially arrive, even though we’ve already seen a few 90+ degree days. Here in Charleston, that summer heat and humidity arrive well before the solstice. The kids are out of school, and tourist season is upon us.
As for my Buffalo friends, I hear your cries of “it’s hot.” - but you’re going to be complaining about the cold and snow in four months, so maybe just embrace it?
Summer can be a really hectic season with vacations, parties, shuffling your kids (or your friends’ kids) to camps, all while trying to maintain some semblance of the fitness routine you’d built in the cooler months.
It’s easy to “take a break” from your morning walks because it’s too hot.
It’s easy to convince yourself to skip your workout because you’re going out of town tomorrow and before you leave there are so. many. things. to. do.
It’s easy to eat all of the cheese at that party because you didn’t know anyone and cheese makes you feel confident. (Am I right? Please tell me I’m right. I just love cheese.)
It’s easy to bail on your trainer because [INSERT LOVED ONE’S NAME HERE] is in town.
If you know anything about me as a human being, I truly believe in everything in moderation. I don’t count calories and would never cut my carbs. (This girl loves a delicious slice of pizza or two - mostly two - three has happened.)
Yet, I also am dedicated to my health, which helps me stay consistent with exercise and motivates me to turn down that “one more beer” or “one more slice.”
But sometimes, life can try to derail my dedication, so I plan for those distractions. I know the science behind lack of exercise. When you skip workouts, all of those health benefits go out the window.
I’ve been there. We all have. We’ve all neglected working out in favor of mostly working, then managing the stress with too many shots of tequila.
No, thank you - not anymore.
Going on and off an exercise routine leads to:
- A decrease in motivation - which we discussed a couple of weeks ago.
- A loss of endurance and strength - No one likes to start over.
- An increase in the possibility of an injury - If you jump back in where you left off, you’re probably going to be sidelined.
Contrary to popular belief; you don’t need to create new year’s resolutions on January 1st.
Personally, I don’t create new year’s resolutions, but I do pick a word. But, that’s beside the point and I’ll elaborate more on that in December.
I like to create new goals when something is about to change in my life so that I am prepared for it and continue to remain focused.
Though I can’t stand the “beach body” or “beach ready” culture, I find summer an amazing opportunity to beat the excuses by setting new goals and making modifications based on vacations, the heat, and all of the parties.
Here are four strategies that I use to keep my focus and continue to make progress:
#1. Modify the Workout.
Sometimes it’s just too damn hot and sometimes the day is crammed with activities. Recently, I really wanted to go to the beach to watch Amol (my husband) surf AND I wanted to get my workout in. But looking at the clock, it initially appeared that I was going to have to choose.
But, with a little fortitude and invention, I made them both happen by choosing to do a bodyweight beach workout and during my rest periods, I watched Amol catch some fun waves. If I would’ve gone to the gym, I would have probably worked out for over an hour.
After a full warm-up, I did the beach workout in 25 minutes. Then, I did my cooldown stretch and relaxed on the beach.
Did this workout look different than the one that was planned for the gym? Absolutely.
Did this workout negatively affect my progress toward my goals? Nope.
Making a workout modification might allow you to beat the heat or even squeeze it in before a fun activity with friends.
4-6 Rounds/ Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds
20 Walking Lunges
5 Lateral Walking Planks (10 each direction)
10 Lateral Lunges (each direction)
30 Mountain Climbers
10 Squat Jumps
#2. Make It A Ritual.
You might read that headline and think, “wait, wouldn’t that contradict modifying your workouts?” No, and let me explain why -
Over the past month, I’ve committed to taking one spin class per week.
This commitment is the habit that I am working to develop.
Most of the spin classes have taken place on Sundays at 9:30am with Gina at CHS Rev. (If you haven’t been and live in Charleston or you’re coming to visit, I highly recommend this studio!)
I know you’re asking - “Well, what happens if you’re traveling and can’t make it on Sunday?”
Easy. I can find an alternative studio wherever I happen to be OR I can commit to spinning at a different point in the week. It’s all about WANTING to be consistent.
As long as I get in one spin class, I’m maintaining my habit of spinning once a week. I’m very committed to this class. I’m not going to let anything or anyone affect my participation in those classes.
Which brings my to my next strategy...
#3. Schedule It.
I love schedules - probably more than I should, I’ve been called a calendar nerd before and I fully claimed it. If something isn’t on my calendar, it basically doesn’t exist. So, it makes sense that I schedule my workouts.
It’s cathartic for me to sit down once a week and determine when I’m going to exercise.
Back when I stressed myself nearly to death, one way that I brought awareness to my day was by scheduling in time to breathe.
I’m not kidding.
Twice a day, at 10am and 2pm, I had a ten-minute calendar appointment to breathe.
I even set alarms for those same times on my phone.
I stopped what I was doing and just breathed.
Scheduling these breaks provides a decrease in stress levels because I scheduled in time for myself, I can’t stress enough how important that is.
I think it did, and continues to, do wonders for my mindset - keeping me on track and honest with myself about whether or not I’m putting in the work that will move me towards my goals.
I treat my workouts like dental or massage appointments.
Sometimes a workout seems more like a visit to the dentist and other times it feels as refreshing as a massage.
Either way, there’s dedicated and separated time during the day for movement and breathing, every day.
#4 Journal It.
Along the lines of scheduling, I also journal.
Journaling has taken on various forms for me over the years.
When I was around 10 years old and went for my first therapy session, the counselor told me to journal my feelings. I remember my pre-adolescent brain thinking, “...Absolutely not.” For years, I scoffed at the idea of journaling.
In my twenties, I still didn’t journal, but I did start keeping track of my workouts in a spiral notebook, then in a Word document.
When I started training for half-marathons in my late twenties, in addition to tracking my running distance, time, how I felt, etc., I kept a calendar on my fridge with the distance or duration that I was scheduled to run each day.
Even though I was dedicated to training for these half-marathons, there were days that I just didn’t feel like it.
I would miss a morning run and then also be “too tired” after work to get it done.
Maybe my brain would convince me that I was “too sore” to do the recovery run - which is completely nonsensical.
To remedy this, I went back to my days of being a 10 year old, and gave myself a fabulous, glittery smiley sticker when I finished my run or strength training session that day.
If I didn’t get it in, I gave myself a monkey sticker for “monkeying around.”
I’m not joking.
Last year, when I was deep into my work schedule, I started using the Bullet Journal method.
I tracked whether or not I breathed or exercised. It seems so silly and basic to color in a box as a reward, but it kept me on track. It’s the simple things sometimes.
These days, I stick to using a Google Drive document for tracking workouts and my calendar for scheduling my workouts.
Depending on the time of year and how I’m feeling, I will track everything from the workout itself to how I felt both physically and mentally.
How do you keep yourself consistent during the summer months?
What’s something that will distract you from your goals?
How do you get back on track when you’ve had some time off?
I’d love to hear and share your strategies for being consistent this summer!
And if you feel like you need help getting started or getting back on track, email me.
I’d love to chat with you!