As sum­mer ap­proaches, avoid fit­ness pro­cras­ti­na­tion

Newark Post - - Sports - Nic De­Caire

The gym is get­ting crowded. Peo­ple have re­turned to run­ning out­side. Mo­ti­va­tional fit­ness quotes pop up on so­cial me­dia this time of year like spring’s first blooms. Why? Be­cause sum­mer is com­ing and we’re scared about putting on shorts and a bathing suit. We let cold weather lay- er­ing and baggy sweat­shirts get the best of us. It’s a lot eas­ier to hide those ex­tra pounds or skip a few work­outs when you don’t have to show as much skin.

But af­ter a win­ter spent in hi­ber­na­tion, we play a mind game with our­selves that we can get back into sum­mer shape in just a few weeks. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s an un­healthy ap­proach, not to men­tion hard to ac­com­plish. How­ever, plenty of peo­ple try to do it each year. The truth is, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nei­ther is your sum­mer physique.

So why do we do this to our­selves? Be­cause we are pro­cras­ti­na­tors by hu­man na­ture.

In this case, I call it fit­ness pro­cras­ti­na­tion — the act of de­lay­ing or post­pon­ing your work­out for a later time. On the sur­face, it seems pretty harm­less. Miss­ing one day or one week re­ally won’t set you back that far, right? Well, it can if that short break stretches into a month-long work­out sab­bat­i­cal that’s ac­com­pa­nied by a string of un­healthy eat­ing choices.

It hap­pens to all of us. I re­cently took off three weeks of ex­er­cise com­pletely. I don’t think I even did a pushup af­ter run­ning the Sham­rock 8K last month. It wasn’t be­cause my train­ing was so in­tense that I needed a break. In­stead, I kept pro­cras­ti­nat­ing and fo­cus­ing on other things in my life. I had ar­ti­cles to write, the Fu­sion 5 and Dime race in July to work on, and per­son­ally, I just wanted to take some time off from the gym.

Now, my shorts don’t fit the way I would like them to, so I’m play­ing sum­mer body catch up with ev­ery­one else.

Avoid­ing fit­ness pro­crasti- na­tion is the key to suc­cess when it comes to re­sults this year. Here are some ways to stay on course:

1. Jour­nal: Yes, it can be painful, but it works. Writ­ing down your fit­ness habits makes it real. Here’s what to log ev­ery day: Did you ex­er­cise and what did you do? What did you eat? How much wa­ter did you drink? What was your mood like? Mood is im­por­tant be­cause ex­er­cise and healthy eat­ing cor­re­late to your mood.

2. Pic­tures: Try to take the same pic­ture of your­self around the same time each year. It’s best to wear the same type of out­fit, if pos­si­ble. This isn’t some kind of Ground­hog Day ex­per­i­ment — an an­nual por­trait pro­vides a good ref­er­ence point to see how your body changes. The scale may say 135, but it might be a to­tally dif­fer­ent 135 pounds than last year. One thing is for sure, pic­tures don’t lie.

3. Goals: Set­ting goals for your­self — big or small — will keep you on track. If there is noth­ing to strive for, you won’t try. Go­ing to the gym to work out ev­ery day for your health is good, but who ac­tu­ally does that on a reg­u­lar ba­sis? Most peo­ple have some sort of goal — a wed­ding, va­ca­tion, new boyfriend. Set the goal and jour­nal about it.

If you look at cities in the United States that stay warm all year, most of their pop­u­la­tion is in pretty good shape. I don’t think it’s co­in­ci­den­tal that they stay ac­tive and typ­i­cally show more skin through­out the year than we do here in Delaware, where spring hasn’t made an ap­pear­ance for more than a few days so far this sea­son.

So, if you don’t plan to move to warmer weather, I sug­gest you get your­self a note­book and a pen­cil, take a cou­ple of self­ies and write down some goals. If not, this time next year you will be chas­ing off the win­ter pounds and again ask­ing your­self WHY.

Nic De­Caire is the owner of Fu­sion Fit­ness Cen­ter on Main Street. He writes a monthly col­umn for the Ne­wark Post.

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