Summer is a time of lazy days, barbecues, and ice cream. It's a time of indulgence and hot days, which work together to put our fitness routines on "pause" and cause us to get a bit out of shape. However, with the arrival of fall, it's important to get back on track with our fitness goals. Here are eight ways to restart healthy habits and regain our fitness levels:
- Set clear and achievable goals. The first step to getting back into your fitness routine is to set clear and attainable goals. For example, you might want to lose a specific amount of weight, increase your strength by a certain number of pounds, or run a specific distance. Set specific, measurable, time-bound goals so you get a clear roadmap to success.
- Restart slowly. After spending the summer relaxing and indulging ourselves, our bodies have gotten out of the habit of working hard. Trying to resume exercise at our former intensity can cause burnout and injuries. Ease back into physical activity with shorter, easier workouts. As your body adapts, add to the intensity and duration of your exercises. This will help reduce the risk of injury and soreness.
- Retune your diet. Months of indulgent treats and meals will have taken their toll on not only your weight, but your overall nutrition. Re-evaluate your dietary intake and make adjustments to bring it back to a healthy profile. Stock up on healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Try meal planning to make sure you're getting the right amounts of macros and calories.
- Seek accountability. Getting back into the swing of your fitness routine after a summer of enjoying an indulgent lifestyle. Seek accountability by sharing your goals with friends or family members who'll support you. As an alternative, get a personal trainer or join a group fitness class for more direct help with reaching your goals.
- Make sleep a priority. Sleep is essential for making fitness gains. The body does almost all of its building-up during sleep, as well as performing repairs on itself at the cellular level. Summer sleep schedules are often disrupted by vacations, late-night activities, hot nights, and more. Get your sleep back on track by setting a steady bedtime and aiming for 7-9 hours of quality shuteye.
- Vary your workouts. Not only does this give better direct results, it helps keep you interested and helps prevent burnout. Variety also helps promote better overall fitness by targeting different muscle groups.
- Track your progress. Monitoring your progress is essential for staying motivated and on track. Whether you use a paper journal or the latest fitness app, make it a point to track your workouts, meals, and how you feel both physically and mentally. Celebrate achievements and make adjustments to any problem areas you identify.
- Be kind to yourself and have patience. It's essential to be patient and kind to yourself as you transition back to a healthy lifestyle. Even with a good plan and determination, slip-ups are part of the human experience. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a workout or have an occasional indulgent treat.
Getting back to your health and fitness routine after an indulgent summer takes determination, a well-thought plan, and patience. Set clear goals, start slowly, reevaluate your diet, seek accountability, prioritize sleep, and mix up your workouts. Track your progress as you go, and be kind to yourself. With these steps, you can regain your momentum and enjoy a healthier and more active lifestyle.