As summer wound down, you may have fallen into some bad habits. Late night parties, a few extra beers or just skipping your workout can lead to packing on a few pounds. Fall is the perfect time to get back to the gym and take control of your body and health.
Certain fall fitness tips are common sense. If you don’t belong to a gym, now’s the time to join. Cold and wet autumn weather make outside workouts too easy to skip. Of course, fall foliage is unbeatable, so you may still want to hit the trails. Upgrade your shoes and workout gear to reflect the cooler weather. Beyond the basics, here are some clever tips to keep you motivated for fall fitness success.
Start Small and Stick with Your Plan
There are plenty of approaches to fitness. It’s easy to end up distracted or derailed by hearing about another option or different regimen. Starting and stopping practices every few weeks won’t make real changes to your health, appearance or lifestyle.
Research different options, from Paleo diets to high-intensity interval training. Pick ones that work with your natural preferences and inclinations. Then, stick with your plan. Many different approaches can work, but dedication and the decision to stick with them is what leads to success. Those who keep changing tactics without waiting for results will struggle to stay focused and likely won’t benefit fully.
Catch up on Your Shows and Leave Yourself Treats
A 30- (or 60-) minute session spinning or on the elliptical is a great way to watch the most recent episode of your favorite show. You can even motivate yourself to keep hitting the gym by assigning one of your “guilty pleasure” shows as your “workout watch.” Rewarding yourself for maintaining an exercise regimen builds positive workout habits. By the time you’ve finished the show or season, you’ll have a healthier new habit that requires less outside motivation.
Another trick for overcoming aversion to working out is to leave special goodies for yourself in your locker. Pick up something special, like a new set of earbuds or a book you’ve been dying to read. Then, leave it in your locker. You’ll have to get back to the gym quickly to get your hands on that special treat.
Another benefit to having a locker is that you can leave work out clothes in it, and hit the gym on a whim if you suddenly have unexpected free time.
Let Fall Flavors Inform Your Healthy Cooking Efforts
One way people defeat themselves is by eating take-out or microwave junk food for meals after busting their booties at the gym. If you want your workout to count, you need to make small strides toward a healthier diet.
Autumn is a great time to do this, because there are so many healthy and flavorful foods in season. Roasted squash (just pass on the butter and sugar), crisp fall lettuces and greens, and broccoli or Brussels sprouts (pan roasted, not boiled) can make for a filling, nutritious seasonal dish.
Convince a Friend to Make the Effort with You
For dietary changes and exercise, having and accountability and support partner can help. You can encourage one another to keep going. Even if you don’t see the results in yourself, you’ll probably see how your efforts are helping your partner. This can keep you motivated when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a pumpkin spice latte.