Summer Shudder

I can really expand today’s post to much of the Northern and even the Mid-Southern United States, because we’re approaching that time of year that to our fitness lives is the biggest double-edged sword out there. I’m talking of course, about the spring and summer. Again, this is the biggest double-edged sword imaginable, because this time of year is literally split into two stages. Stage one is the Building Stage, as every single soul who owns a gym membership typically takes their goals so seriously one would think they have a huge event coming up, and in many ways, they do, as it’s called summertime, something I’ve always dubbed the ‘Summertime Shred.’ Enter stage two, which is the Chillax Stage. Logistically speaking, we work like a pro athlete getting ready for their sports season for a good six to eight weeks before putting it in cruise control sometime between Memorial Day and Independence Day. Let’s all be very honest with ourselves: Does this make the slightest bit of sense?

We all have goals and when the weather is permanently above freezing for the rest of the year, or at least until November, we’re out, about, and doing all things not health and fitness related, but ironically all we do during the first part of the year are all things health and fitness related in order to get to where we want to be from a fitness standpoint only so we can engage in everything during the summer months that are bad for us and are not health and fitness related. Stop reading this for a moment and refer back to the previous sentence until it is so ingrained in within the deepest confines of your brain every time you think of doing something in the summer detrimental to your health and fitness this article becomes the first thing to pop into your mind. Honestly, if you’re going to go to cookouts, concerts, parties, or anything else, you need to have your fitness goals in your mind at all times. I’m not saying don’t have fun, but you made a lifestyle commitment and you need to see through to it. Why go to the gym and train like a crazed athlete only to see it fall to pieces during the summer months, the time of year where we should be looking our absolute best? If this sounds like you, then you really need to read this article.

Do you want to know what a typical year looks like for a typical individual? Let’s start the year at Thanksgiving. Why Thanksgiving? Because to be honest, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of winter from an unofficial standpoint. Better yet, the Christmas ads have been running for over a month now while the dude playing Santa Claus pleads with others to eat the turkey first and worry about telling the one of the greatest lies the world has ever known to any child aged twelve and under. Of course, this comes after numerous times of telling our own kids (I have none) to never tell a lie, but mom and dad have quite some serious explaining to do when a kid indeed finds out Santa Claus doesn’t exist and that the parents have done nothing but fib for the first dozen years of that child’s life. But I wanted to start at Thanksgiving, because this is typically the time of year people throw in the towel in all things fitness related. In the summer, the train starts to lose control and veer off the rails but by Thanksgiving, that out of control train just crashed into another train passing by on the other side of the tracks, therefore causing a massive train wreck. So, for the next month, December, the typical individual tends to forgo the gym and eat everything in sight, figuring they’ll just start over again in January, as has been the case for the past few years.

Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter Series was so right when she stated “a circle has no ending.” I want to challenge Miss Lovegood, since the website placed me into Ravenclaw and this is what Ravenclaws do in addition to being creative and just flat out weird introverts who would be more than okay with being in solitary confinement. I say a circle can be broken, but once a habit has begun, it is very, very tough to break, but it can be done. And it is done, because in January the typical individual is back at it, ready to put the old year in the past where it belongs. Okay, great, you’ve taken that first step and by February, you’ve seen some substantial changes and have set a few goals that will carry you through March and into April.

Enter April, where spring has sprung, optimism is high, and life is good. April is arguably my favorite month of the year next to October, because I love all things dark, spooky, haunted, and just flat-out Halloween, which is the best holiday ever created. But in April, it almost seems like we’ve turned over a new life and we ride that optimism straight into our very first big event of the summer: the Memorial Day cookout! Now we’re faced with difficulty, because we have Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day as our big three summer holidays. Furthermore, we also have some weekends that are so nice we throw a party for them anyway. Then we have those kinds of parties and get-togethers that will completely throw us off course for the rest of the year. But wait, it’s 2017, and maybe you’ve hit this wall every single year before but this time, you get to change that. This year is going to be different, so here is what I want you to do in order to counter the temptations associated with the Summer of 2017:

  • Set a summer goal. I don’t care if it’s simply a consistency in the gym goal. Just set a goal for the summer and stick to it.
  • Give yourself alternatives. Cookouts should be easy. Are they grilling? Bring your own food for them to grill. I know people who do this all the time and it’s honestly only a choice of personal preference. If others look or think of you as being weird of different, that’s their problem, not yours.
  • If you’re going to be out late, make sure you already went into the gym earlier that day and tomorrow is a scheduled rest day. In other words, put it into your schedule. That way, if you do veer off course, you didn’t deviate too far from it.
  • Find some like-minded individuals who you know will stick out the summer and keep you on track all year long instead of merely the first six months. We’re everywhere, and you do know who we are. We’re the gym regulars and we neither care what time of year it is nor do we worry about what the rest of America thinks of or says about us.
  • Desire to be unique. Why conform and go along with the crowd? Be unique, be different, be that person who strives to be different and be proud of it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, some people look at you as the strong leader while the rest of America, or your own group of friends, are simply being followers to fit in because their personality isn’t strong enough to be themselves and follow the road less taken. Robert Frost wrote it better than anyone else.
  • See that New Year’s Resolution through for a change. I know you’re capable of doing this because I’ve seen people do this in the past. Be that next success story and follow my advice. The key is doing!

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