It’s a common occurrence, April and May roll around and we find ourselves in the same situation as last year; it’s hot, we want to be at the beach without a cover up, we want to run that race without dying, and we want to wear a cute tank top while doing it. But wait, our inconsistent, half-hearted, workout class that we go to once a week to catch up with our girlfriend and grab coffee (bagel, brunch, mimosa) with afterwards isn’t enough? Sorry, but it just may not be. Then, if you are anything like the majority of folks, there is that one day that you decide to kick it back into high gear; you have two weeks before that beach birthday-BBQ or race you and your friend signed up for in February. There you are: running everyday, going to every free week of yoga-kick boxing-paddle boarding-ultimate lifting you can find.
If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Here are the top 3 mistakes people make when trying to jump back into summer shape and how to avoid them.
1. Trying to pick up your fitness routine where you left off last year.
Sure, you were up to running 8 miles last summer… before you went on vacation and work got too busy and you haven’t put on a pair of sneakers since. But those new shoes and head phones you just purchased won’t magically improve your muscular endurance to last year’s levels, although they may help with the initial boost of inspiration to hit the pavement.
Starting too much, too soon can not only lead to sore muscles but also injury. Without giving your body time to re-learn and adapt to a new activity, like running, can lead to compensations from other muscles or body parts – leading to injury. A gradual increase in mileage or time is necessary for not only improvement, but injury prevention.
- Utilize on-line calendars or schedules for a cheap (free) way to track and build your mileage. There are a multitude of apps for this exact purpose.
- Ask a professional: consult a coach or get a consultation with someone who is an expert in the sport you would like to start. Most private trainers and coaches would love to answer your questions and give you a realistic timeline if you are training for a specific event.
- Don’t put all your fitness-eggs in one basket : it’s important to mix up your routine, not only for your sanity, but also to prevent overuse injury. For example – without proper flexibility in your hips and ankles and core control, when starting a running program, compensations become more apparent and injuries more prevelant as you build in mileage. Build in strength, flexibility and endurance to your weekly schedule from the beginning to prevent an injury that could set back your summer fitness goals.
2. Joining the latest fitness fad.
It’s tempting to jump onto the bandwagon that leads you to cut arms and chiseled abs, but as differently as our bodies look on the outside they are also very different in how they adapt to different forms of physical activity. Some people may need more flexibility before starting an endurance program, some individuals need more core stability before starting to participate in a strength and power class.Just because it is good for some people, doesn’t mean it is going to be good for you…in the long run.
- Take advantage of injury screens or movement analysis at a physical therapy clinic or sports medicine facility to learn what your specific strengths and weaknesses are. Catalyst PT and Wellness offers free 15 minute injury screens and longer, more in depth, movement-consultations and bike fits, by appointment. You will be more likely to target your trouble areas and participate injury-free throughout the summer in an activity that is more suitable for your body.
- Utilize free weeks of classes and groupons, livingsocial deals, and on-line promotions: These deals are a great way to try out a new class, hobby or group without forking over big bucks without knowing if it is what you are looking for. Be sure to try out different teachers and times to get the full-breadth of the experience. Also, ask instructors questions after class to ensure they are knowledgable, not only about your new endeavor, but also that they will be a good support when you are having trouble reaching your goals.
3. Starting strong, maybe too strong and letting your fitness dreams fade into the abyss within the first month. BURNOUT
Don’t let your new fitness routine become an all-consuming, negative stigma on your life. You don’t want to be the person who hasn’t seen their friends in weeks or can no longer afford your Friday evening dinner plans because your commitment to your new goal has become too time consuming and expensive. If you lose other things in your life that make you happy, you will surely give up your fitness goals.
- Make your new fitness routine part of your social life: schedule classes with friends and make it a social occasion in lieu of happy hour or brunch. Studies have shown that our eating and exercise habits are based largely on the support of our family and friends, if those around us are acting in similar ways you will keep up with the healthy habit. Be the catalyst for your social circle to hike, take a yoga class, go for a bike ride or sign up for a race instead of always wining and dining.
- Don’t burn out due to time commitments: schedules change and summer months fill up quickly, be sure to schedule your workouts or fitness outings just like any other commitment and stick to it. You’ll have more energy and an improved mood when spending time with others, if you invest time in yourself, first, through physical activity.
- Don’t let a lack of progress make you want to give up: If you feel like you aren’t seeing improvement either aesthetically or in physical performance, take a step back and really assess where you started. Often we don’t give ourselves enough credit. Start a journal or note your starting point, objectively, before starting a routine and follow-up with that same objective measure every week or month. You will be shocked what consistency can do. And don’t be afraid to reward yourself for improvement; when you reach a goal or milestone have a reward in mind that directly relates to your established goals.
Professionals at Catalyst Physical Therapy and Wellness are there for you, as a resource, as you take on a new fitness goal.
Please reference our website at Catalystptandwellness.com for a full schedule of classes and services offered.