It’s that time of the year again!
The weather has finally begun to turn and Michiganders flock outdoors to get our fill of it while it lasts. We all know how brief these beautiful spring and summer months can be. It is a wonderful time of the year, and if you’re anything like me, you’re excited.
Working in the fitness industry, I also know that the impending summer means saying goodbye to many of our valued clients and friends. This is one part of summer I am not so excited about.
Kids are home from school, travel plans seem to sprout up every other week, our social lives awake from their winter slumber. The fitness goals we have been prioritizing and working hard hard at for months suddenly lose their luster.
We rationalize taking this “Summer break” in a number of ways:
“I will be super active this summer as I will be outdoors so much!”… Despite the fact that much of this time will spent with a beverage in hand, or walking from one delicious food spot to another.
“I won’t have time with the kids being home!”… Despite knowing deep down that no one will (nor should they) fault you for taking a few hours out of the week for your health and fitness. We all have time for the things that we make a priority.
“I will be out of town nearly every other weekend”… Despite the fact that even just exercising on the weeks that you are in town could be the difference between maintenance of your fitness, and taking major steps backwards.
Now, I do not mean to say that the above statements aren’t true or hold no value. Far from it. What I am saying is this:
You can enjoy your summer, travel, and spend more time with family while still maintaining a reasonably structured fitness program.
In fact, I challenge each and every reader to do so this summer.
Specific and realistic goal setting is a cornerstone of any good plan whether fitness related or not.
Maybe you do have a ton of travel; will be extra busy with the kids out of school; more frequent and fun socializing opportunities may be in your future. These are all important parts of life too in addition to your fitness, and there is nothing wrong with partaking in them.
However, before the chaos of summer hits, sit down and look at what your summer obligations are and exactly how your fitness can fit into the equation. Seriously: set a time to sit down and do this, or schedule a meeting with your AFS coach.
This may sound crazy coming from me (“is he telling me to exercise less?!”), but scaling back your fitness goals to a realistic place may mean the difference between feeling in control and being successful, and feeling overwhelmed and just giving up.
Maybe you cannot realistically make it to class three times per week like you have been, but perhaps two is realistic?
Maybe your social priorities will make continuing to lose body fat or gain muscle through the summer unrealistic, but a maintenance goal of not moving backwards is reasonable.
Regardless of specifics, it is vital we set clear cut goals and have realistic expectations for ourselves over the summer. Challenge yourself realistically.
Social support is a second cornerstone of goal actualization..
During the summer months our social support group for going to the lake and drinking beer becomes very…supportive… so it is vital that we do not compound this by also pushing away our fitness support system.
As I said earlier in this blog, this is the time of the year where many of our clients suspend their memberships, stop meeting with us for fitness assessments and answering our messages, and generally abandon their fitness support system.
This is the absolute worst thing you could do during a time where you need that support system most.
My challenge to you here is this:
Stay consistently in touch with or reconnect with your fitness coach this summer. Strengthen your fitness support system, do not push it away.
Take Home Message
Spending time with family, traveling, soaking up the sun and generally enjoying life: no reasonable person would argue these are not immensely valuable summer activities.
My call to action here is not: “prioritize your fitness above everything else this summer”.
Enjoy your summer fully…
…but not at the expense of your fitness.
Avoid all-or nothing thinking
Balance both and I promise you, your summer will be much more enjoyable.
(As a plus, the following fall and winter certainly will be as well).
Don’t be a stranger this summer.