How to Keep the Ball Rolling through the Fall, Winter, & Beyond
With summer having officially come to an end, we now enter a season where temperatures drop, daylight is reduced, and many people who were once very motivated to achieve their ‘summer body’ (whatever that means) fall off the horse into several months of sedentary lifestyles and pumpkin-spice comas.
Admittedly, it’s easier to become complacent once summer has ended. It’s easier to come up with excuses not to exercise (too cold, too dark, too snowy, too windy, too busy!). It’s also easier to fall off the ‘healthy eating’ bandwagon (whatever that means).
I know these things happen because I see it with my own clients every year, without fail.
So how do I help them break this on-again, off-again cycle?
1. Focus on consistency, not grandeur; “Shoot for the stars & you’ll still land on the moon” - or something along those lines. Bull. Shit.
For the average person, setting the bar too high is one of the most common reasons for failure when it comes to their health & fitness goals.
4 months of consistently weight training 2 times per week plus 2 days of an extracurricular activity (like snowshoeing or hockey) is WAY better than 1 month of training like an animal 6 days per week and then falling off the wagon for the rest of the year.
Clients who are creatures of habit and consistent, are much more successful than clients who sporadic and volatile in their efforts.
2. Focus on small behavioural changes; “I’m not drinking alcohol until Christmas, and not eating any carbs either”. For every person who can follow through on that stupid statement, there are 50 who cannot.
Instead of trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle in a single day, focus on making small, realistic changes over time.
Instead of telling yourself (and all of Facebook) that your “detox starts today!” make an objective, daily change such as packing a lunch to take to work instead of buying it.
My clients are human and have social lives outside of the gym - there are no detoxes because they take a balanced approach to their health, which never requires a bi-annual ‘cleanse’. Small changes throughout the year help ensure new behaviors become lifestyle habits.
3. Focus on the Bigger Picture; People often like to break their year into what I like to call ‘chunks of effort’.
I’ve heard things such as:
- 6 weeks until Mexico-body
- 1 month post-Christmas detox
These are not goals. These are short-term fantasies, which have an almost zero percent chance of bringing about a true lifestyle change.
True lifestyle changes will happen once you begin to embrace the process – I tell this to clients all the time.
Worrying about how many servings of mashed potatoes you had for Thanksgiving gets you nowhere.
My clients are comfortable & confident with the other 364 dinners over the course of a year, and don’t spend a single second feeling sorry for themselves – because they understand that their health is a process!
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