Summer Fitness, Bikini Bodies and Motivation

As the days warm up and we start to look towards Christmas and the holiday season, you can feel the panic setting in all around you – suddenly everyone is joining the gym (or finally going to the gym), running and walking at lunchtime or getting into summer sports teams as they all strive to find their summer bikini bodies (or alternatively, they could just be getting out and enjoying the warmer weather and I really can’t blame them for making the most of it).

Being active is great and if summer looming provides you with motivation to get off your butt, that’s great too.

However, if you typically exercise like crazy at this time of the year, every year, and find yourself making excuses or ‘getting out of the habit’ sometime soon after the new year, and if it’s a pattern you’d like to change, if you’d really just like to be one of those people that exercises right through the year, making it a part of your lifestyle forever then it’s time to examine what drives you and make some changes that will stick.

The focus to ‘get our bikini bodies’ or ‘lose the winter weight’ is such a good one for getting started but stuff always seems to get in the way – Christmas parties and social events, the holidays and lack of routine – or we go all out and get to a happy place only to relax the rules and let old habits resurface.

I don’t think it has to be an all or nothing approach, we just need to find a balance where we don’t feel like we’re punishing ourselves, we can enjoy our exercise as well as our food without guilt, and make choices that get us closer to where we want to be.  How hard can that be?

It seems that it is quite hard, given the number of people I come across that are regularly ‘getting back on track’.

Let’s break it down into 3 simple concepts:

Small changes

To be sustainable in our approach to a healthy lifestyle make small changes and let them embed themselves in your life before taking the next step.  I know it’s not as exciting as throwing yourself into a 4 day a week transformation bootcamp and going vegan-paleo but you’ll save yourself from healthy living burnout and you’ll have a better chance of long term success.

Freedom from guilt

So you skipped a workout, or ate a chocolate biscuit.  It isn’t going to undo all your groundwork unless you’re skipping every workout everyday or eating all the biscuits all the time.  Let go of the guilt, enjoy the time off you’ve just given yourself permission to take or the food you’ve indulged in and move on.

Enjoy exercise

If you don’t like the gym, find something you do like or else you’re simply not going to do it.  If rock climbing, horse riding or stand up paddleboarding is your thing, then do those.  You may find building strength in the gym is useful for getting you better at the things you like to do and suddenly the gym isn’t so bad, now that you’ve changed your perspective.

We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be (in the words of Getchin Rubin) Better than Before.summer