Right on! It is almost summer time, and you know what that means, right? Ripped six-pack abs, slender thighs, and rippling muscles on EVERY American man, women, and child. Summer is the time when we get in the best shape of our lives and concentrate deeply on our overall health and well-being. Summer is when we are the most conscious of our appearance as we head to vacations, cruises, and beachfronts. Summer is when we take off our shirts to strut our stuff. Summer represents our collective pinnacle of health and fitness in every way right? WRONG!
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am an observer by nature. I enjoy observing human “nature” and human behavior as it relates to nutrition and fitness. During the summer, I am always privileged to attend one of the local water parks called Cherry Hill here in Kaysville, Utah, and what I observe year after year is the antithesis of my descriptive paragraph above. What I observe is a plethora of fat, overweight and obese men, women, and children. What I observe is people eating pizza, chips, doughnuts, candy and soda pop of every variety and with multiple servings. I observe the masses doing much sitting, slow walking, and much “short-cutting” to get to their desired location.
You would THINK that summer would motivate us to greater levels of health and fitness for obvious reasons, BUT this again is not the case! Did you know that the average American kid gains 2-3 times MORE weight during their summer vacation months? Did you also know that the average American adult gains anywhere from 5-8 lbs from June 1st to September 1st? Furthermore, four out of ten adults do NOT resume their exercise program after the summer ends.
So what is our collective deal? I am here to share the answer so that you DO NOT have to fall victim to this unsavory pattern in your life. Listed below are the top culprits for weight gain.
1-Whacked Out Schedule
Let’s first tackle the schedule. I have owned and operated two personal training gyms both in Layton and in Kaysville, Utah for the last six years, and I have noticed a disturbing pattern in my bottom line. During the months of June, July, and August, we typically experience a 50% drop-off in profits simply due to people not having a “normal schedule.” Yard work, family reunions, company parties, park parties, get-togethers, and sporadic summer time events tend to disrupt our normal exercise patterns. This in-and-of-itself is not a problem. The problem is that because of our “crazy schedules,” we totally throw fitness and nutrition out the door, or at least give it a back seat.
And then there are the VACATIONS, those hideous and insidious VACATIONS! Nothing will send a shiver down my spine faster than when my clients tell me that they are going on VACATION because it is typically code for, “I plan on letting my hair down so far that I don’t give a flying crap about what or how much I put into my mouth. Furthermore, I plan on eating at night until I become drunk on both food and alcohol, and I plan on doing it again the next day . . . because I am on VACATION!” For the love of obesity, my good friends! When will we ever learn that vacation does not and should not equal gluttony! Yes, you can enjoy a good meal and let your hair down a bit, but not like the average American who pounds in an excess of 3500 cals/day!
And then there is our mindset, yes the glorious summer time mindset that ultimately screws us all: “Its summer time, and I only live once, so I am going to live it up!” We go to work, and then we play on the weekends! The problem lies in that, although our “play time” might expend more calories than we typically do, we also tend to consume the WRONG kinds of foods in the WRONG amounts. Why is this? If you think of human behavior, it is somewhat typical to fall out of sync with existing habits when your schedule changes, and when your schedule changes, so does your mindset! Essentially we are on a mental and physical “vacation” from health and fitness until things “normalize” again in September. This is nothing more than an excuse to justify eating behavior that SUCKS!
Ok, I know that I have been really hard on you today, but that’s because it drives me crazy to see good progress made early on in the year, only to be sabotaged by summertime slovenliness! You deserve better than that, so I am now going to give you some easy steps to follow.
Step#1: Start With The End In Mind!
This means you must have a Crystal-Clear Vision of what you what to achieve with your health and fitness. You should start with a written statement of what you want to achieve or maintain. Be as descriptive as possible and add pictures if desired. In short, you should know EXACTLY what you want to accomplish.
Step #2: Set SMART Goals Around Your Crystal-Clear Vision
For example, you could set the following goal: “I will lose 5% body fat by September 1st by hitting the weights 3 times per week and by going biking or hiking on the other 4 days. I will do the weights Mon/Wed/Fri, and my cardiovascular activities on the other days between 6 and 8 a.m. I will report to my spouse at the end of each day to see if I made my goal for the day, and I will keep a weekly tally as well.”
This is where we go wrong my friends! We throw our hands into the air and say, “To hell with it; I am busy” because we don’t have a PLAN or goals! Notice in the example above that it meets every criteria of the SMART goal. Be smart in your goal setting! J
Step#3: Prioritize And Execute!
Well, Griff, I don’t have time to do all of this! If you really just said that, then stop reading this post and continue on with your lazy ways. For those of you who want to make a change, it is time to DROP THE EXCUSES and get going. If you need to re-arrange your schedule, do so! If you need to drop things out of your schedule, do so! If you need to exercise while on vacation, do it! In short, stop with the tired old excuses that get you nowhere. I am done here. You know what to do! J
I feel better now that I have just given you a little “tough love.” Thanks for reading, and please let me know if I can help in any way. Summer time should be a good time, and I assure you that it will be even better whilst enjoying health and fitness to the max!
Life is good!