Fitness for Fall.

Fitness for Fall | Kourtney Thomas Fitness

It’s already September, and I can hardly believe it. I definitely feel like we made the most of Summer here in Colorado, but it still catches me off guard every year when Fall arrives.

If you’re new here, I don’t like Fall.

Anyway, September 1 seems to be that official starting point of seasonal change. Most schools are back in session, mums are hanging out at the front of grocery stores, and there are already signs out at Starbucks for the PSL, for Pete’s sake. (Ugh.) Point is, there’s a weird tangible shift that happens this time of year.

And that shift applies to pretty much everything. If you’re short on closet space, you bring up your sweaters and boots from the basement. If you’ve been eating all fresh salads and grilled meats, you bring out the slow cooker and the dutch oven for soups and stews. If you’ve been spending most of your free time doing fun outdoors stuff and enjoying the weather and Summer nights, you bring your movement back into the gym.

With all of this, and usually, a bit of a schedule change too (especially if you have kids and school is in play), you’ll all of a sudden notice that your entire health and fitness routine is changing. You’ll look back and see that you were doing things a little differently during the Summer, and now you’re doing them differently again. Perhaps starting something completely new, hiring a new coach, diving into a new program. Perhaps saying goodbye to your rec softball team and re-upping your class package to your favorite group fitness studio. Often, this is the time when it feels like a relief, like we’re getting back to routine.

This is interesting to me, but definitely common. I have many a client who freaks out somewhere around mid- to late-June about how they’re not able to get in their “regular” workouts during the summer because they’re out enjoying every minute of life and light. Like, OMG I’m so out of routine! Everything is awful! I’m losing my gains! I’m getting out of shape! SUMMER IS THE WORST!

People. Really? No. Summer is not the worst.

Summer is just different than Spring. Or Fall. Or Winter. If you really sit down to think about it, you’ll probably be able to notice the subtle shifts that you make in your health and fitness habits and routines with every season. And that is okay.

Our priorities change, and that is okay too. In fact, it’s a great thing. I’ve talked about it plenty of times before, but it’s only natural to move through different focuses during different phases. (Which, again, coincidentally, often coincide with seasons.)

I’m quite familiar myself. For instance, I hit the gym consistently this Summer, but I didn’t do any cardio other than hiking, maybe once a week. My priorities were to get outside and explore Colorado, and to spend that time with my husband. We also prioritized travel, and when we were traveling, I didn’t worry about workouts at all, choosing to focus on being present and enjoying the mountains. Now, my priorities are shifting too, and I’m placing a higher emphasis on physique training with more structured cardio. I’ll still hike and explore, but it will likely be of shorter duration and frequency. And yep, you guessed it, schedules are changing too, so all of this gets a little easier to manage without feeling like I’m missing out on anything.

And that’s kind of a key point – part of this whole thing is that we tend to look back and evaluate Summer in a negative way as it relates to our fitness. Many times, we loosen up our program and our diet, we say yes to more social events, we stay up later, take trips, do all the things that light us up. That actually sounds pretty awesome, right? So why is it that September has us looking back at it like, “damn, I’m such a failure”?

Let me be super clear, enjoying your life and letting go of the reins a little bit does not equate to failure.

Point is, reflecting on your rad Summer, there’s really no reason to freak out or be hard on yourself because you loosened up on your fitness goals – your structured fitness goals. Remember, good overall health and fitness involves attention to the soul, and Summer is so, so good for the soul.

But now, if you’re feeling like Summer was so much fun, but maybe a little crazy, and you want to get a little more disciplined – great! I’m sure you can find a way to do that. Maybe it’s setting a new goal, or shifting mindset from exploratory and recreational movement to more structured training, or simply increasing frequency. Maybe it’s incorporating all of those, when you only focused on one during the Summer. It’s all about determining your priorities and then taking action to make them happen.

I think Fall can be just as much of a fresh start as any other season, including the season of the New Year. So take it as such. Keep doing what you’re doing, refocus, change it up completely, whatever. But know that that seasonal shift in your fitness is normal, and instead of getting down about it, embrace it and charge on.

After all, I’m sure they’re going to start stocking pumpkin spice protein for your post-workout recovery shake pretty soon.

For more on fitness routines, and non-routines, throughout any season, you can always sign up for my weekly emails right here.


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