With this cooler weather comes cozy sweaters and refreshing air! But it also comes with darker mornings, shorter days and holidays that revolve around food! As we transition into a new season, it is time to prepare for new challenges that will either make or break all the hard work you have already put into keeping fit!
The changing season also becomes a challenging time for many when it comes to consistently preparing healthy meals and completing gym routines. If you are someone who struggles to adjust into this new season, here are some tips that may help you stay on track.
Prepare your food!
Packing your food ahead of time will help you stay on track, especially when you are on the go. The habit of preparing your food the night before is one that will help you stay away from drive-thrus and processed foods. Being unprepared with your food can become expensive if you are buying on-the-go. These foods are often packed full of sodium, sugars and unnecessary processed chemicals, all of which lead you away from that healthy lifestyle you were trying to maintain. Think of foods that you find easy to make in a slow cooker or oven, allowing you to multitask and preparing freezer friendly foods in batches will cut your food prep time when you are in a hurry!
Eat with the seasons.
Take advantage of the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to you this season! Choose locally grown produce to guarantee the freshest flavours and choose a variety of vegetables that you can incorporate into soups and stews for easy meals you can create in a slow cooker and later freeze. Having variety will help keep things interesting, giving you something to look forward to when you open your lunch bag!
Plan a flexible gym schedule.
Times become busier around school days, kids schedules and holidays. It is important to continue fitting the gym into your day to maintain some consistency. Often, when faced with a busy schedule, the gym is one of the first activities to be placed on the back burner. During these busier times, be easy on yourself. Your gym schedule may have to adjust slightly to accommodate your busy schedule but it is incredibly important to maintain a gym routine as much as possible. If you are limited for time, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your workouts:
1. Create a realistic schedule that sets you up for success. Getting to the gym on a Monday may have been do-able a couple months ago, however, with schedule changes, it might be near impossible. Don’t fret! It is time to .sit down and re-create your gym schedule! Create a realistic schedule that you know 100% is achievable. Set yourself up for success by creating a schedule that you know you can stick to and remember that consistency is incredibly important, especially during times that become busier.
2. Choose strength training over cardio. If time is cut short in the gym and you have to make a choice between cardio and weights, choose weights! Developing muscle mass will increase your metabolism, helping your body efficiently burn more calories at rest. Focusing on strength training improves your posture and bone strength. Overall, you get more out of strength training and this should always be your go-to when tight for time. If you have minimal time available for the gym, focusing on compound movements will help you keep your workouts efficient. Using more than one muscle at once will have to be the go-to moves. Full body training will get your heart rate up and ensure that you are working every muscle group at least a couple times a week.
3. Know when to add in cardio. Have an event coming up that you want to tighten up for? This is a good time to increase your cardio after each weight training session. With a tight schedule, adjusting your workouts slightly to allow for 15-20 minutes of activity will be beneficial. Gone are the days of doing hours of cardio! Keep your cardio session under 30 minutes and make sure you are working at an intensity that builds up a sweat! Try a cardio session on any machine at medium intensity. Aim to burn 100 calories every 10 minutes. If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge and have less time to work with, add in some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You can do this by setting a timer with two intervals. The first interval you will use to go all out and the other will be used as rest (slowing your movement down). An easy interval pattern to follow is 1 minute work followed by one minute rest. Another favourite interval is 30 seconds followed by one minute off. Getting creative with your HIIT timer can be fun and will make the time fly by!
4. Take progress photos. Take photos of your front, side and back profile every 2 weeks. Keep taking these progress photos, even when you do not feel like there is a change. Seeing body transformation is something that we often have difficulty seeing when we look in the mirror. Taking photos helps us see the changes, especially when we can easily compare photos side by side.
5. Get yourself a Trainer. If you are struggling with accountability, now may be the time to hire a Personal Trainer. There are times when motivation may be low and being held accountable may be just what you need. Hiring a Personal Trainer during times where you need to push through that rut, may be the key to your success!
6. Bring your own food to events! Going to events with food can become a serious challenge! The only way through this is to go in with your action plan and a lot of willpower! If possible, bring a healthy dish to the event. This will allow others to try something new and give you a healthy option if there is a limited selection of healthier foods. Make sure that you have eaten a balanced meal before hand and fill up with water. When you are choosing food at events, look for proteins, fats, veggies and fruits. Remember to keep sugars low. It is fine to indulge, but be mindful of what you are eating and the amount. If you stay on track during an event, you will feel totally in control and on track to eat healthy and workout the next day!
7. Maintain a proper sleep schedule. As the season changes, it is important to maintain healthy sleep patterns. Healthy sleep will help you make healthy food choices and give you energy for the gym. Make sure you are going to bed on time and getting enough sleep every night. Keeping your wake up routine consistent will also be helpful in ensuring restful nights. If you are having difficulty with falling asleep or getting quality sleep, check out your local natural supplement store for some help in this area.
Seasonal changes can be difficult, however, being prepared definitely eases the transition! Maintaining consistency with your healthy choices and developing new patterns will be exactly what you need to stay on track during this time. Happy Training!
Krysta Marie, Certified Personal Trainer & Holistic Nutrition Coach
© Photo Credit: Nikita Brown
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