Summer is a great time to get your fitness journey either kicked off or leveled up! The sun is out and the weather is just right for spending time outdoors, soaking in the sun and getting energized. But with all the fun summer activities like bbqs, parties, get-togethers, holiday celebrations and beach days, it can get hard to stay consistent and stick to your goals. You might find yourself falling off the wagon with your workouts and straying from your nutrition plans. There’s no need to panic! Instead of setting sky-high goals that could stress you out and make you feel so far off from where you want to be, start off with small, attainable finish lines. Instead of aiming to lose 50 lbs, or running a 20 mile marathon, start off small. Focus on creating habits instead. Take it step by step, day by day, small goal after small goal and before you know it, you’ll have made headway and built up your momentum again! Here are some small way you can improve your health and fitness:
Start New Habits
Even for the most fit people in the world, there always comes a time when they hit a plateau. We are resilient and our bodies can get used to anything. That’s why it’s important to continually shock your system with new activities and workouts. Mix it up and start building new habits. Take a boxing class to learn new ways of moving; try out a martial arts class, join a zumba class or sign up for hot yoga. Challenge yourself to do at least 3 classes of the new workout before deciding whether you want to keep going or move on. Your focus on learning the new movements will take up your mental effort and distract you from the fact that you’ll be losing weight and building muscle the whole time.
Build Your Strength
Instead of looking at the number on a scale, try focusing on hitting personal best goals. If you’re doing arm day reps with 5 lb weights, aim at increasing the dumbbell weights to doing the same reps with 15 lbs weights. If you’re bench pressing 75 comfortably, focus on increasing your weight until you get to bench pressing 90 lbs comfortably. If you’re not able to do a pullup, set a goal of being able to do 1 with correct form, and then increase from there. If you’re doing a wall sit or a plank for 1 minute, see if you can get to 5 minutes. These personal best micro goals are a better way to keep yourself distracted instead of creating lofty goals that feel daunting.
Regaining Your Energy Levels
When you lose consistency in your workouts, you can start to lose your energy levels over time. Sometimes, just regaining your previous energy levels during your workouts is enough of a goal. If you feel winded after running a mile and you used to run 3 effortlessly, start keeping track of how you feel and make that your aim. Focus on beating your fatigue and boosting your energy levels during your workouts. One way to do this is to commit to small intervals of daily physical activity that increase gradually over time.
For example: a daily 10 minute cycling session on the bike or a brisk walk can really jump start your progress. After a few weeks, try increasing to 15 minutes a day, then 30 after a few weeks. Research has show that regular daily physical activity, even in small amounts, can make a big difference on sleep quality and mood. This is a self fulfilling cycle because the more sleep you get and the better your mood, the higher your energy levels will be for your workouts. Every little bit adds up!
Whatever activities you enjoy, start off with those. If you dread power lifting, don’t force yourself to start there. Put the most enjoyable, easiest exercises at the front of your workout plan and work your way up to more challenging tasks. Some easy starting points include:
- Yoga and pilates - these workouts are great for getting back into movement. Invest in some comfortable, cute yoga outfits like colorful printed yoga leggings and matching tops - this will give you another, exciting motivation to get in the gym and moving!
- Walking, running, hiking, swimming, or cycling. These are heart-healthy, aerobic workouts that get your blood pumping and immediately start improving your stamina and endurance.
- If you’re more goal-driven and don’t want to feel like a hamster in a wheel, try rowing, kayaking, or paddle-boarding. You’ll have a scenic experience with a destination in front of you to keep your mind stimulated.
- Sports and games! Join a group volleyball game on the beach, play some soccer with your kids, shoot around on a basketball court, jump into an ultimate frisbee game - whatever you choose, make it fun and watch as you start to create these new habits, regain energy levels and build consistency over time - all things that lead you to results an healthier, happier life!