Let’s start this feature with a quiz question. Which two months of the year are traditionally the highest for health club and gym recruitment? (And a clue is that these same two months are also the highest for the onset of divorce proceedings.)
Many of you will have correctly guessed that January is the peak month, but how many of you got September as the other one? The reasons for January are fairly obvious; New Year resolutions and the post-Christmas horror after getting on the scales trigger people to their nearest gym in an attempt to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle. (It’s the same ‘change’ mentality for divorces in January too, but let’s not dwell on that any further).
But why September? Well, it’s a similar story really, except that the riches and indulgences of Christmas are transferred to the summer holidays. While many people now choose to spend their summer break doing something active, others still prefer to do little other than eat, sleep and sunbathe. The outcomes both on body and mind as the season ends prompts a second wave of Mid-Year resolutions which start with health club membership or renewal of a training programme.
In much the same way that people yoyo diet, the effects of yoyo fitness regimes can be equally as unhealthy on both body and mind. The best gym sessions are invariably the ones where it felt easier and more beneficially than the last, or where you have performed better than previously. This rarely, if ever, occurs after a month of over-indulgence and under-exertion. In fact those first few training sessions back after an unhealthy break are usually the hardest on both body and mind.
The simple answer is not to let your training slip over both Christmas and the summer break. And hence the reason for this article, now, in June. As the outside temperature rises and daylight hours get longer, there is a huge temptation to swop the evening or weekend gym sessions or for a glass of wine and hour sat out in the sun. But it’s a slippery slope, as we all know. The odd skipped session turns into weeks, then a month, and then into the summer holiday too. Before you know it you are back to square one in September, and dreading the battle to get back to your desired level of fitness.
So our suggestion to you, before the slide starts, is to make a conscious effort to keep coming to the gym, keep doing the classes, keep that important time for both your body and mind. The wine and sunshine are fine but balance with your gym sessions too. The benefits will be felt when you do go on holiday and pull the swimwear on for the first time and hit the beach. But, more importantly, at the start of September when you are setting new personal bests and feeling great in gym classes while those around you are battling both body and mind in penance for a summer of indulgence and negligence.