I used to be a winter girl, you know with the coziness of staying huddled up and hibernating for an entire season. I was kind of like a bear that way. I’d put on my warmest (ok, ok frumpiest) piece of clothing, and leave the house only when I had to.
I saw Summer as something to be survived. Fat girl truth: Belly rolls make sweat. Fact Girl Fact Corollary: Thick thighs also make sweat. And a day of having your thighs rub together is no f un for anyone. But as Kim 2.0 started evolving, that began to change too. Now I crave the energy of spring and summer. The days that cheerfully wake me with birds, the warm nights that go on forever, how my beastie will grill steaks and hamburgers, just because the day ends in –y. And I won’t lie. As someone who never showed any skin (no shorts, bathing suits ONLY for that week at the beach or in the privacy of my yard, shirts only with sleeves) I don’t hate being able to get up in the morning and put on a tank top and shorts. I finally get why people love summer so much.
But as a relatively new trainer, I’ve seen something that surprises me. Dedicated people who come in and work so hard during the other three seasons disappear from the gym during the summer. Last Summer, I think I spent more time at the pool than I did training people because the gym became a ghost town.
Then at the end of the summer, one of two things happens. 1) They come back 15lbs heavier, considerably weaker, and mad at themselves. Or 2) They don’t come back.
Some people mean to just miss a day here or a day there, or maybe just take this week for vacation. It’s kind of like what I call the Can’t Eat Just One Theory. Once you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t—enough that you feel guilty—there’s a tendency to say “Oh, screw it. I’ve already messed up for today. I might as well eat whatever I want today, and then really get back on track tomorrow.” But as Annie sang, “Tomorrow is always a day away.” And one day of crap eating often turns into a month (or more!) long bingefest—because let’s face it, mojo can be a fragile thing. The same idea holds true for the gym. Miss a day or two (we’re not talking about planned rest days here, we’re talking about “Nope. Not today. I really just want to go fishing/sit by the pool/head to the lake” days) and suddenly it becomes “Oh hell, I’ll just start back with a clean slate next week. But then it becomes easier and easier to not come, and then suddenly something has eaten your entire summer, and “Oh, I just don’t know where the time went.” Those are the well intentioned varieties.
There’s another flock of people that flat out say, “I’m going to take the summer off.” I’ve already started getting calls at the gym that people want to cancel their membership for the summer. By Memorial Day, I know that the gym will be a different place.
One of the first things my trainer taught me was “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” What if instead of thinking about a “Summer off from the gym”, what if you thought about it as a Summer ON For You? Because routines are different, even for people that don’t have the Summer’s off from work, this might be a chance to really focus on your goals. This might be the kickstart you and your routine need. If your schedule allows, maybe get your workout in during the morning hours or at your lunch hour, before the day runs away from you. While I think exercising in the afternoon can be great, there are some advantages to training in the morning: 1)You’re not already tired. 2) You aren’t already hot and sweaty, you know just from walking to your car to your building. 3) A Great workout in the morning sets the tone for the whole day! Seriously, that half melted ice cream cone looks a lot less appealing when you can think “I don’t want to undo what I did by eating that.
Hey–maybe this would be a good time to take different types of classes that you wouldn’t normally try.
And what about your eating? Since 80% of success is related to proper nutrition, this is a perfect time to nail it. Summer comes with its own set of foods, and ways of eating. That heavy meal you crave in the winter sounds completely unappealing right now. Sooooo… isn’t this a great time to overhaul your eating, and build good habits now before the cold weather sets back in?
Summer sort of lends itself to healthy living in ways that the other seasons don’t. I don’t mean to say that it can’t be done in the other seasons, because of course it can. (And if this is a lifestyle, which is has to be, then dedication has to happen year round.) What I am saying is that Summer actually provides an advantage for kicking it up a notch, rather than a disadvantage. Then by time the fall comes, you’re in a different place—but this year, a better place. Not only are you not 15 pounds heavier and considerably weaker, but maybe you’re actually 10 pounds lighter than you were at the end of May. Let’s be honest. Just because you wear heavier clothes in the Fall and Winter doesn’t mean the appearance of your body matters any less. Two Words: Legging Season.
So here is my challenge to you. Don’t set aside everything you have worked so hard to achieve. It’s awfully hard to get back in a solid groove once you stop. Instead use these energy filled months to as the Black Eyed Peas said “Rock your body”. Make it the Summer of YOU—where for three months, you start making yourself a priority, where you develop really good habits for when the days aren’t so pretty or easy.
Sure, you can have the Summer off. But consider the consequences—they’re a lot farther reaching that you, already in your flipflops, can see right now. Oooor, you can have a summer on. My mantra right now? “Summer On? Oh, GAME ON!”
As my trainer (annoyingly) says, “The choice is yours. Make it now.”
See you at the gym?