As summer approaches, avoid fitness procrastination
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.