It’s hard to believe, but summer is quickly coming to close.
School supplies are replacing beach umbrellas, the leaves are starting to turn, and the prospect of dwindling hours of sunshine. As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, many of us begin to retreat indoors to the warm comfort of our coach and Netflix.
Instead of hibernating until spring and then realizing in a flurry that you need to get that summer bod back, here are some simple things you can do to keep yourself in shape over the cooler months.
1.. Start writing out your workouts in a logbook.
One of the most powerful things you can do to be more consistent and accountable with your workouts is to log them. Beyond that, take time to quickly reflect and evaluate how your workout went as the sweat dries from your forehead.
“Using a logbook is a simple yet misunderstood tool,” notes Olivier Poirier-Leroy, athlete and blogger at YourWorkoutBook.com. “Most times people, athletes included, will log the sets, reps and weights, but not take a couple moments to reflect on what they are doing well and what they can improve on.”
Taking your logbook to the next level can be as simple as grading your effort that day in the gym, keeping track of how well you are recovering, and rating how well you ate that day.
“A logbook is much more versatile than people realize,” says Poirier-Leroy, who has been logging workouts since he first hit the gym as a teenager. “Your logbook should revolve around your specific goals and opportunities to get better.”
2.. Meal prep once a week.
Nutrition is something we all struggle with on some level. There are the late night cravings, where we find ourselves standing in the darkness, our silhouette cast across the kitchen from the refrigerator light, looking at snacking opportunities.
Other times, poor food choices are a result of poor planning, and there’s where meal planning can come in supremely handy. Section off an hour a week to throw together some quick meals and snacks to help battle back against the scourge of convenience food, which while easy and yummy, rarely assist us in getting closer to our goals in the gym and on the scale.
If you are seriously short on time, and can’t put together meals for your whole week, by strategic with your meal planning by targeting one meal per day. You will be amazed at how much of a difference tackling your one problem meal of the day can be in the short and long term.
3.. Set workout goals.
One of the infuriating aspects of the diet and fitness industry is the reliance on time-based plans that promise results. 30-day crash diets. 6-week bootcamps. And so on. But working out and living a healthy lifestyle should be the goal, not a crash-and-burn program that over-hypes results at the expense of developing sustainable long term habits.
And one of the ways that you can make that healthy lifestyle a fixture in your life is to set workout goals each week. Things that seem simple and “easy” in the grand scheme of things, but keep you focused, motivated and engaged today, tomorrow, and later this week.
Add an extra round of reps to your favorite exercises. Add a massage mid-week to help recover faster. Add half a mile to your usual runs. Little escalations of effort, reflected in your training goals, seem simple to the point of being harmless, but tallied up over time can generate some serious gains.