For many years I was a seasonal exerciser. I would pick up working out in the late winter months, right around permit season, to train for summer hikes, then I would drop off somewhere at the end of summer. Then I would basically not train through fall until the following year. It was a bad habit because it meant that I needed to re-train myself every winter or spring for the coming summer. Instead of already being in shape and continuing to build on my fitness and get stronger.
In this blog, I’m going to cover the different types of seasonal exercisers and what you can do to finally break that habit and start training year round. This way, every year, you’ll keep getting stronger.
What kind of seasonal exerciser are you?
You jump back into working out in January. After taking a break through the holidays usually, you make it a new resolution and jump back in. But as we continue through the rest of winter, the newfound motivation tends to taper off.
You have one main goal. Get in shape for summer. Whether that goal is to get in shape to hike trails, lose weight, or a combination of both, this is your main drive to start working out. You usually start when you get permits for that dream destination hike and then tapper off again once that hike is over.
It’s officially hiking season and you want to keep those gains from spring, so you keep going through summer, through the planned hikes, but this usually tapers off either after your hike or around Labor Day.
The summer craziness is over, kids are back in school, and now you finally have time to dedicate to training again.
Starting and stopping exercising isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s not going to help you get lasting results, it’s not going to help you get stronger and to keep building on that strength. You need to break out of this cycle and start becoming a year round exerciser.
How to become a year-round exerciser
Find your why
Focus on your why. For me, hiking and trails are huge why and that’s what keeps me going. When I’m out of breath and my legs hurt, I visualize the climb up a steep pass to keep pushing through. When I’d rather sit on the couch then get up and work out, I think about how much easier that hike is going to be if I keep going. What is your why?
Make working out fun
If your workouts are fun, you’ll look forward to doing them! If they’re dull and don’t light you up inside, then do something else. I love indoor cycling classes, I think they’re a blast, it’s like a party on a bike. So on days when it’s hard getting up at 5am to make the 6am class, I think about how much fun I’m going to have in that room once I go, and that gives me the kick I need to get up and go!
Mix it up
Mixing up your workouts and adding variety is great for your body and helps train different muscle groups and gets you stronger. It’s also fantastic for keeping your workouts interesting and exciting. Try different styles, throw a couple HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts in the mix for the week, take a boxing class, take a Zumba or hip hop class, give running a shot, or take an indoor cycling class! Keep that spark alive in your workout routine.
Change your mindset
If you go into your workout with a bad attitude, then nothing is going to be great about it. And of course, you’ll stop doing it! Stop looking at working out as a chore! Start looking at it as self-care, and something you get to do instead of have to do. Our mindsets dictate our reality and so much about how we show up and live in this world. If you have a negative mindset, nothing is going to work in your favor. Cancel those negative thoughts and re-frame them with positive and uplifting ones.
Work it into your schedule
Make working out work for you. If early mornings work best, great, if not, pick another time. Then just like you’d schedule anything else into your day, schedule in your workouts. Don’t leave it up to chance because then it gets pushed aside. Pick a day, pick a time and put it into your calendar.
Make it a habit
It takes at least three weeks to make something a habit. You heard me right, at least three weeks. So you need to stick with it. Keep going, even when lift gets busy, use the pointers above. Keep going with it and it will become a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’s so much easier to stick to.
Set attainable goals
Attainable is the keyword here. Whether your goal is to hike a 14er or to lose weight, you can have big goals and dreams, but to get to those big goals and dreams, you need actionable goals. This will keep you motivated. Losing 50 pounds is hard, but losing 5 is doable. Just break down your goal into smaller action steps and achievable goals, give yourself a realistic timeline and keep track of your progress.
Forget the quick fix
It takes a couple of months just to start seeing any results and seeing change. There is no quick-fix solution for long term fitness and progress. Do you want to be stronger? Do you want to keep getting stronger? Hiking harder trails? Finally, going to those dream destinations? Then stop looking for a quick fix solution! You need some tough love here, no quick fix solution is going to get you to the top of that summit. So spend the time working out and start now instead of looking for the quick fix solution.