September: the perfect time of the year for a fitness and health re-start, kick-start or new start:
Family, life, work and health all need balance and routine, and September is a great time to start, re-start or kick-start. As summer fades the mornings start to cool and evenings darken, and I look forward to all autumn will bring. It is an exciting time of year. From childhood we associate September with a new school year and a fresh start.
Summer fitness may have set you up for an autumn event or challenge. You may be rocking into September feeling fit and ready for winter but perhaps summer may have left you lacking your usual fitness because of the madness of the holiday season and a disruption of your routine. Maybe it is somewhere in between with you managing to keep fitness going but looking forward to getting back into a structure again. Wherever you find yourself, September tends to bring back balance to our lives.
For me, September is the time when my clients and classes resume after the summer break. I love to catch up with everyone and can feel the energy and good vibes radiating from those who have had a sunshine boost, plenty of good times with friends and family, and who are ready to get back into a routine.
Personally, I trained quite hard over the summer: I ran a lot and also raced a little. But on top of that, I set myself a goal. I wanted to rediscover my love of a structured strength and conditioning routine; one similar to that I set for others. So, I trained myself, just as I do with clients. I made a plan and, rather just squeezing it in as and when I had the time, stuck to it. At first, it was a case of giving myself a good talking to in order to make sure I got into the gym two or three times a week on top of my usual running and training. At the beginning, the plan played on my mind: it was always in my head as a chore to fit in but after a while the magic switch clicked and my body and brain worked together. This is when the enjoyment of strength conditioning came back.
As a fitness trainer, I still need a plan. If you do one job in September, make it setting up a life plan that helps you achieve your health and fitness goals.
Five Top Tips for setting up that September Routine:
1 – Be realistic
Look at your lifestyle and decide what fitness is realistic for you. Gym, PT, classes, home workouts, sports, clubs – which of these or which combination works best with your life? You don't need an expensive gym to workout. Use social media for inspiration and tips. Follow qualified, certified trainers and professionals who don't just want to show off their glossy bodies but offer advice and workouts to follow.
2 - Be consistent
Nobody ever regrets working out! Even if you don’t feel in the mood before you start exercising, you will love the feeling when you’ve finished. The only regret anybody usually fails is when they DON’T workout after planning on doing so. So, if you've planned to do it then DO IT! The more you get into a fitness plan the more it will become part of your life.
3 - Train with others
Friends, a group, kids, family, club or likeminded people can all provide great motivation and inspiration. I meet fellow runners every Tuesday at 7pm, every Sunday at 8am come rain or shine. I then plan to meet other runners for my runs on the other days of the week. I am a member of an athletics club so use the track at other times. I have a WhatsApp group with my running chums that we use to arrange runs.
4 - Record you progress
Write everything down. Take photos, measurements, times, problems, injuries and keep a food diary. I have always kept a training diary for my running, while my Apple watch keeps track of my pace, heart rate, and so on. I can download it all or just take a quick look and check. There are loads of great fitness aps out there that do similar things. Also keep a log of your other fitness too including details of strength work: reps, sets, weights etc. Use a food diary if you're tracking calories and macros. My recommendation is an app called MyFitnessPal. I use it at various times throughout the year If I need to structure my eating. I encourage all clients to use it if they are wanting to lose weight.
5 - Organise your training time efficiently
Don't waste training time sorting your kit and equipment out. Get organised and ready beforehand with water bottles washed and ready, trainers clean and ready, your watch and phone charged, and snacks prepared in advance.
And your training kit……
My training kit is kept in special drawers so I know exactly where it is and I don't waste time looking for it. I have a massive chest of drawers in which everything is separated into various categories and colours: Lycra shorts, baggy shorts, vests, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, full length leggings and so on. In another set I have my training underwear, again in colour-coordinated order: crop tops, socks (with subdivisions among the socks) and knickers! My trainers are also in different categories: current running trainers including racing and training ones; older running ones for mud and wet days; multi-terrain for off road; gym trainers; fashion trainers. I have about 16 pairs on the go at the moment that all need to be organised so I can grab them to lace up and go.