7 Pro Tips On How To Re-Establish A Workout Routine Post-Summer
BY HANNAH COATES
Between all the margaritas, al fresco dining and spontaneous weekends away – was there even any time for exercise over the summer? After a couple of years of Covid-induced restrictions, this summer was all about enjoying ourselves, saying yes, and living life to its fullest. Naturally, consistent workout routines fell by the wayside. How to re-establish healthy habits in time for autumn and winter? Vogue spoke to personal trainer, Luke Worthington, to find out.
Make it sustainable
While you might have heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit, the reality is that when you start nailing positive or productive tasks, you’re far more likely to go on to accomplish another, and then another after that. “For example, if we get a good exercise schedule in place, we are more likely to make better food choices, consume less alcohol and be more aware of our sleep patterns. Similarly, if we get our nutrition in check, we are far more likely to make the effort to be consistent with our workouts,” says Worthington. “Healthy habits feed each other.”
His advice is to play to your strengths, and start by establishing one healthy habit. Take the path of least resistance, and it will make other healthy habits much easier to implement thereafter. “If you enjoy cooking, then start with home-cooked meals and preparing your lunches – eating well will encourage you to aim for progress with exercise,” says Worthington. Throw yourself into a consistent pattern of exercise, and you’ll find it easier to switch to a healthier diet, too.
Swap progress goals for process goals
So many of us start a workout or health routine in a bid to achieve a goal, whether that is lifting a certain weight or shedding a few pounds. But Worthington says that when the focus is entirely on the outcome of what we want to achieve, we can drift into a mindset of not actually enjoying the process – we then reach our goal and end up doing nothing afterwards. Finding enjoyment in the process, rather than the outcome, is key.
“We can do this by breaking a progress (or outcome-based) goal into a more digestive process goal. A process goal is not a destination, but the path you take to get there,” says Worthington. “Finding enjoyment, fulfillment and satisfaction from the process is an important part of adhering to healthy habits.” A process goal might be accumulating 60 minutes of walking throughout the whole day, or eating a home-cooked dinner, as opposed to a progress goal of being able to run 10K.
“However tangible and achievable a progress goal may be, sometimes they can appear too big or reduce our satisfaction throughout the day to day,” he says. “And satisfaction in the day to day is really what gives us happiness in life.” Read this Alpine ice hack.
Avoid quick fixes
“September, much like January, can see an influx of fitness challenges or bootcamps that promise quick-fix, dramatic results after working out every day in a usually brief period of time,” says Worthington. “And whilst there can be some benefit in being part of a cohort of people starting something together, unfortunately health and fitness isn’t something that allows for any shortcuts.”
If you’ve had an exercise break over summer, then the last thing you should do is jump headfirst into an intensive challenge, because as well as not being sustainable, you’ll also be more much susceptible to injury. “When something isn’t sustainable and doesn’t really fit into our day-to-day lifestyle, we tend to take an all or nothing approach. If we can’t complete it for some reason, the tendency is to give up altogether.”
Additionally, all five components of health and fitness – strength, cardiovascular fitness, mobility, body composition and emotional wellbeing – respond to gradual incremental changes over time. None of them respond to sudden, intensive bursts of stimulation.
Find a way to move that works for you
Consistency is the key to success, so it makes sense to find a form of exercise that you truly enjoy. “Cardiovascular exercise is an essential part of any exercise programme, but it can take a number of forms, so if you hate the treadmill or spin bike, then maybe you’ll enjoy a boxing or dance class,” says Worthington. “Strength training is also a non-negotiable, but that doesn’t have to mean lifting weights; kettlebells, resistance bands, suspension trainers and even our body weight can all be used and adapted to help us get stronger, improve hormonal health and bone density, and retain lean tissue.” Learn more about the best weight loss pills.
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress
There is no such thing as a perfect health and fitness programme, nor is there a perfect time to start it. “A common trap people can fall into is trying to fine-tune their program or class schedule too much before they actually start it,” says Worthington. “Actually, the most important factor in any activity is showing up – it is far better to start and then modify and improve as you go, than to keep putting off the start date.”