September is one of the toughest months for staying fit. In fact, research suggests it’s beaten only by ‘party month’ December for weight gain, with people gaining an average of 5lbs as soon as the summer holidays end.
We still have a busy time in September at Northern Bootcamp, but it’s clear that, generally, people’s minds are on other things at this time of year and, it seems, plenty of people are falling off the fitness wagon.
So, why is it so tough to stay fit in September, and what can you do about it to make sure you don’t fall foul of the ‘September 5lb gain’?
Unwinding after the summer holiday season
So many people use their summer holidays as a target to get in shape, because they want to feel and look good when they go away. It’s completely understandable, but can lead to a boom/bust approach, instead of a consistent, sustainable level of fitness.
The colder weather
Cold weather has two main effects on our exercise habits: it makes us want to put weight on, and it stops us wanting to go outside to exercise. It means we’re fighting on two fronts, against our natural instincts to stay warm and to build up our fat stores in the winter. The weather is still pretty mild, but by the time September draws to an end, the evenings will be dark, it will be colder and wetter.
Schools going back
September is just busier, isn’t it? With the kids back at school, more traffic on the roads leading to longer commuting time, it can be harder to find the time to exercise.
The problem is, winter is miserable enough, and if you’ve got yourself in good shape, and then gain weight again, your ‘feel good’ factor will erode, too. So it’s well worth doing whatever you can to maintain your momentum in September and
So, how can you achieve this?
1. Don’t see September as a chance to relax and put on the weight you worked so hard to lose before you went away. It’s far healthier to find a good level of fitness that you can live with, and which makes you happy and confident, all year round.
2. We don’t need to put weight on in the winter any more – we don’t live in caves, and food supplies aren’t scarcer in the winter. So get the idea of ‘winter weight’ out your head. As for the weather, well, it’s actually more pleasant to exercise when it’s a little cooler. Invest in some nice thin layers/technical clothing, and just get out there. You’ll sweat less, and every session you do in weather that would normally put you off is a MILLION times more satisfying than being a fair-weather athlete.
3. Squeeze in exercise whenever you can. We are always preaching the value of high-intensity interval training at Northern Bootcamp: in a nutshell, the results you can achieve by exercising hard, for short periods, are absolutely fantastic. Remember, five or ten minutes’ worth of exercise is always, always better than doing nothing.