The end of August tends to be a transitional time of year as summer comes to an end, school starts back up, and schedules feel a little more settled after a few months of BBQs, vacations, and weekends away.
Even if schedules get a bit busier in terms of drop offs, activities, etc., a lot of my clients do thrive off of routine. They like when their day to days feel a bit more organized and predictable.
For many people, the structure almost feels like pushing the reset button, a chance to make a commitment to healthier eating and/or more consistent workout habits, which is why the beginning of September can feel like a second New Year.
These weeks inevitably bring a fresh start feeling, making it the perfect time to focus on either 1) getting back on track with healthy habits that may have fallen to the wayside in the past couple of months, or 2) simply identifying where you might be able to set some new goals for yourself and take your current habits to the next level so you don’t hit a plateau or find yourself in a rut.
Regardless of which camp you identify with right now (team gotta get back to it or team gotta kick things up a notch), I want to encourage you to embrace this change of seasons and use it as an impetus to get reinvigorated and create/revive a fitness routine for fall that you’ll stick with AND enjoy.
If you’ve been on and off and want to get consistent again:
- Start small. Don’t jump back in on Tuesday after Labor Day expecting that you will crush 7 days of workouts at 5:00am in a row. I don’t encourage 7 days of workouts for anyone anyways, but be realistic with yourself. Show yourself you can do 2 days consistently before you set your goal higher.
- Choose the type of exercise you know you like the most. The movement you enjoy is the movement you will do. If you really don’t love running, don’t plan on using running as your way to get into the swing of things again. If you know you have had past success with 20 minute bodyweight circuits, make that be your 2 days a week to start, and let it be enough. You can always different things later.
- Identify your main obstacles. What has kept you from being as consistent as you’d like to be? Get clear on this so that you can then create a solution and ensure these obstacles don’t continue to be struggle areas for you. For example, is it just that you just don’t know what to do when it comes to your workout time, and you just want someone to take the guesswork out of it? Is it that you are shooting for a perfect ideal of always exercising IN a gym, intensely, for an hour, and not letting anything less be good enough for you? How can you take action to rectify these things?
If you’ve been maintaining most of the summer and are ready for something new:
- Get clear on what you are already doing well and where you have room for improvement. This will help you pinpoint your exact next best steps. Maybe you have been consistently getting your cardio workouts in, but now you want to focus on adding strength training to the mix. Or perhaps you do weight work already, but your workouts are pretty random, and you know you could benefit from following a structured plan that incorporates progressive overload. Decide where you want your “step it up” focus area to be for the next couple of months.
- Think about a new skill you’d love to learn. Have you always wanted to master the kettlebell swing with perfect form? Learn how to deadlift with a barbell? When you take on a fun new this or a challenging new that, your motivation and engagement will be more likely to stay higher for longer.
- Start small and identify the main obstacles that will get in your way. These tips aren’t just for people who aren’t already working out. They can and should be applied to any goal you are working on! If you want to increase the weights you are using in your workouts, but don’t have access to a gym and only have 10 and 12 pound dumbbells at home, what’s your plan? If you are dumbbell training already, but haven’t really touched a barbell before, does it make sense to jump right into a clean and jerk as your first barbell move to up the ante?
No matter what fitness goal you will be tackling this autumn, here are some additional things you might want to keep in mind to set yourself up for success:
- Scheduling/planning your workouts into your calendar makes a big difference. You can *always* be flexible and move things around, but making that commitment at the beginning of the week is a game changer in terms of the energy you put out there. You may even want to take it a step further – if your goal is to really perfect your pushups, which workouts will incorporate your pushup practice?
- Work WITH your fall schedule, not against it. For example, I was just chatting with one of my clients this week who is a teacher. Even though she prefers morning workouts, in order for her to make this work with her teaching hours, she has to be up at 4:30am, and she was finding this to be a barrier. I reassured her that the best time to work out is the time that the workout will actually get done, and that she doesn’t have to do morning workouts year round. After work it is, at least until school isn’t in session again!
- Get yourself accountable. Who in your life can you ask to be your accountability buddy? Think about announcing your goals to at least one other person, because then it puts you on the hook. In my Empowered Together Coaching Club, my girls commit to monthly goals so we all know what the others are working on, and then every week we set intentions that support our overall monthly focus areas. It really does help to have a tribe of people in your corner, supporting you every step up of the way! Having a group of people sharing similar aspirations and experiences makes working out much less of a chore and more about having fun along the way.
Remember, habits – and progress – are created by the consistent daily activities we chose to put our time towards. What will you be focusing on this fall? Are you more in the get consistent again boat or are you thinking about upping the ante with your current consistent fitness in some way?
I would love for you to leave a comment on this post and let me know!
If you could use a group of like-minded women in your life as you focus on your fall fitness, consider joining my free Facebook community, the Legit Fit Lifestyle Lounge. This members of this group know that fitness is so much more than a number on the scale or the size of our jeans, and we focus on the 4 pillars of living a legit fit life: movement, nutrition, self care, and mindset. Whether you’re just embarking on your health journey or you’ve been a fitness enthusiast for years, this group is a safe place for you to find some motivation, inspiration, and support. You can request to join here!