Summer is receding across the country and so too is the beach season that motivates millions to get their bodies in shape.
Fear not, however, as the cool temperatures of fall can provide a refreshing opportunity to reach fitness goals without having to fight the debilitating Florida heat.
Take it from Giorgio Trane, a personal trainer at the Bear Levin Studer YMCA. There may be no better time to create good habits that can carry over into the winter and the new year.
“You won’t have to stress that when summer is coming you only have three months to prepare,” Trane said. “You don’t have to start from rock bottom, but you actually have a head start.
“Your body is already is used to a routine so you don’t have to get the mindset that you need to go work out.”
1. Take advantage of PR weather
With temperatures dropping, but still not quite the frigid of winter, running or walking outdoors will likely never be more refreshing than it is during the fall.
Your neighborhood is as good a place as any, but Pensacola also features a number of outdoor running and walking trails which can also help you take in the season’s beauty.
Whether at Bayview Park or along the Jones Swamp Wetland Preserve, there’s plenty of ways to be get fit in nature in Pensacola.
2. Keep your start simple
There’s little reason to jump straight into bodybuilding or 5K prep workouts unless you’ve already put in the work to reach those levels.
Cardio workouts can start with short distances and intervals of running and walking. Gym workouts can start with a simple plan such as the 5×5, which includes five sets of five reps on basic workouts like bench press and squat.
The key, according to longtime Running Wild owner Paul Epstein, is to remain healthy early in your fitness journey.
“We start off with something really simple like walking,” Epstein said. “… You build up over maybe a three-month period to build up to running a 5K … The longer you take to get there, the healthier you are in getting there.”
3. Track your progress
Don’t let what you see in the mirror be the only indication of how your journey is going.
Keep a log of your workouts, good and bad, on your phone or on paper in order to help yourself see how far you’ve come.
Apps like 5K Runner, Couch Potato to 5K and Nike Training Club have a proven track record while the creator of the 5×5 workout also has a simple app for those hitting the gym. For those who attend the YMCA, the organization has its own fitness app for personal use.
Trane said he urges his clients to notice their progress and not compare themselves to others that have been working on fitness for much longer.
“You have to embrace the way you look right now because, one, it will take time and the second most important thing is consistency,” Trane said. “What I tell my clients is that the most important thing is consistency.
“It might take a while, but remember where you started. You see yourself everyday so you might not see the transformation, but a month or two months difference, you’ll notice a difference.”
4. Don’t let your kids have all the fun
Children’s sports take on a priority during the fall months, but they can also be an opportunity for parents to get moving.
Find other parents looking to get on the move and take a walk during practices or games. If attendance isn’t mandatory, it can also be a time for parents to hit the gym or try out their own sports or activities while kids are under the supervision of others.
5. Stay active in your home
Postseason baseball, college and NFL football and other prime time shows create an enticing television lineup in the fall, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be an active activity.
Plank workouts provide a body-weight workout that can help build core strength as well as toning while watching television. Thirty seconds while planking on elbows, hands and on each side can get the blood flowing without ever taking one’s eyes off the screen.
Pushups have always been a staple of fitness lovers and that hasn’t changed. Try to hit 100 in a session, whether that’s busting them all out at once or taking it in 10-rep increments.
“Just having small activity on your off day will give you the motivation that even though you didn’t work out, you were active,” Trane said. “So tomorrow you’ll keep being active. You have that day where you don’t do anything, you can give your body an excuse to keep doing things.”
Stay consistent and you’ll not only see progress but have a head start on everyone who chooses to wait and start their fitness program with a resolution on Jan. 1.
Eric J. Wallace can be reached at email@example.com or 850-525-5087.