Summer’s over, school is back and the beach you worked so hard to get a body worthy of is back in vacation land. In other words: Back to the grind.
Fall can be a funny time of year for establishing or maintaining fitness goals, and if you’re a student (or a parent), that applies double. Between class, extracurricular activities, work, homework, and all the added stress and reduced time that come with them, squeezing in workouts and paying good attention to your diet can be tough. Plus, the weather cools down, the bathing suits get put away and the motivation for having a flaunt-worthy body isn’t as strong as it might be at the beginning of “beach season.”
This week, we’re focusing on how to set up and follow fitness goals in the fall — how to put together a workout plan that fits your schedule, a diet that maximizes your nutrition and supplements that make sure none of your hard work is going to waste. On top of that, we’ll go over some of the most common colder-weather goals and how this is actually a great time to perhaps change up your routine.
Bookmark this post, because we’ll be updating it all week. Just because the boat trips, bikinis and bathing suits are coming to an end for the year doesn’t mean your fitness has to!
A popular choice for many who strive for leanness over the summer is to actually bulk during the colder months — why not? You’ll be hiding under sweatshirts and jeans anyway, right? Whether you do this, or want to keep your lean diet going is up to you; the important thing is that you maintain or establish SOME goal as fall approaches. It can be far too easy to just let your hard work fall by the wayside when the calendar turns to September. Make your goals a priority — yes, you have other obligations. But your health and fitness should be at the top of your list.
Get a calendar, or a planner, or write a schedule down and slap it on your fridge: Do something to make sure you have clearly established windows of opportunity to get your workouts in, and then don’t miss them.
Decide what you want to do, NOW — write down the results you want to see by, say, New Year’s, or next spring or summer, and keep it in plain sight, then make sure you’re putting in the effort you’ll need to make those results reality. Be specific. Don’t just write down “bulk up”; write down, “Gain 8 pounds of muscle,” or “Drop 4 percent body fat.” Then visualize what your goals will look like. This will help you in your busiest times, when you are debating whether or not to go to the gym when you have that spare hour at lunch.
MAKING TIME TO EAT RIGHT
We sell supplements, but at the end of the day, our focus is what our name implies: nutrition. You’ve simply got to eat right if you want to achieve any level of fitness; it might be as big as about 75 percent of the battle when it comes to low body fat and a healthy physique. Professional bodybuilders and other pro athletes have the luxury of being able to dedicate most of their time to training and dieting. You don’t. So how do you get the right nutrition when you’re away from your kitchen all day long?
1. Pre-cook your meals. Use a good chunk of spare time on the weekend to cook up a dozen chicken breasts and throw them in some Tupperware. Do the same with some hearty vegetables, like broccoli, or good, slow-burning carbs, like brown rice and sweet potatoes. The more healthy food you have on hand, the more likely you are to eat it.
2. Eat breakfast. Sleep is important, but you can sacrifice 20-30 minutes to make and eat a healthy meal that will be your metabolism-boosting, energy-sustaining fuel for the morning. Just do it. A few eggs, some oatmeal, a glass of real orange juice and coffee … why are we having to talk you into this, again?
3. Snack-pack. Or pack snacks. Whatever. The point is, you need some dry goods on hand with you, whether it’s cans of mixed nuts in your desk drawer, some packages of trail mix in the car, a protein shake or bar in your gym bag — be ready to fight off hunger with healthy foods at all times during your day. Do that, and the drive-through won’t have the same allure.
4. Get a meal plan. What to eat, of course, is the most important thing of all, and it’s specific to YOUR body and YOUR goals. Come in to NUTRISHOP and let us craft a meal plan for you, a FREE service we provide for all customers. No guesswork, no mistakes, no impeding your progress!
MAKING TIME TO EXERCISE
One of the most common excuses to not train — in fact, it might even be No. 1 — is that “I don’t have the time.” To that, we offer you some figures: 24 hours in a day, 8 at work, 8 in bed. You’ve still got a third of the day left. One of those eight hours most likely can be spent in the gym, no? Over the course of a week, an athlete in great shape might work out 3-4 times — at the most, that’s 2 percent of your time. Did you watch an hour of TV? Then you can fit in exercise.
The key for most people is finding workouts that can be done quickly but that are still effective enough to make it worthh your while. Inefficient, two-hour long workouts do not fit most people’s schedules. Check out our Workouts section of the page — you’ll find tons of routines you can do in an hour or less, some even as brief as 30 minutes. Only want to do cardio? You can do major damage to those body fat stores in 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training, way more than you could in 30 or 40 minutes of paced running. We understand that time is money, and with exercise, it’s all about getting the most bang for your buck.
FILL IN THE BLANKS
A busy schedule will simply not give you all the time necessary to craft the perfect diet plan, 100 percent of the time. For those early mornings where you have to skip breakfast because the kids are running late, or that lunch period where you have to study instead of focusing on eating, you need quick and easy replacements that are going to benefit your nutrition without having you turning toward the vending machines or drive-thrus.
That’s where high-quality supplements come in. Having several protein shakes on hand throughout the day is a key! Whether it’s FORZA PRO or PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS (or even GAINER7 if you’re trying to add more calories), stash a couple scoops in Tupperware or NUTRISHOP’s own canisters and carry a shaker bottle with you. All you’ll need to get is water, which is much easier than needing to find a microwave or fridge. There used to be a time where protein shakes had to be forced down because of the taste when mixed with water — those days are gone, especially with the brands mentioned above. Now, many protein supplements tast more like dessert than nutritious meal replacements!
Remember, fall nutrition and fitness isn’t just about dedication, it’s about being wise with your time. Sure, during the summer months, when many of us have extra vacation time and some additional daylight hours, it’s easier to find an extra hour here and there to get a workout in, plus the great weather makes it more likely that you’ll get out and do some exercise. But the fall signals the start of shorter days, a busier schedule and, with it, a premium on quality food and workouts. On top of that, you really need to be protecting the muscle gains you ARE making during this time, and preventing body fat stores from coming back. This can be achieved by making sure you are consuming enough protein and BCAAs throughout the day — mix BCAAs in to a bottle of water and sip it continuously — and being diligent about having a shake or a pre-packed meal every few hours.