Here we are in the middle of the season we tend to focus our training around. That's right "Summer Body" training has been a trend in the fitness community for as long as I can remember then longer, for I'm not that old. However, I'm noticing that the usual motivation to be in a bikini or show off abs has dissipated.
Perhaps my social media timeline is over saturated with nihilists, people who have an overly negative out look on life. I'm seeing memes relaying the message "People gone get the summer body I got" or "I've gotten play in this fat body so I'm not worried about changing anything." Even, "I'm in shape enough to do these 12oz curls" The joke being all they plan to do is drink beer.
While these things are true, notice the underlying message being communicated. People are too extrinsically motivated to the point they simply aren't motivated at all. I love all body types. To know me intimately is to know I would love to be about 6 inches shorter and 30lbs heavier with T&A out the wazhoo. The thing is, I like what I am capable of more than what I look like, so I look like the activities I can do.
The body is the benefit and never the goal. People on January 2nd are focusing on undoing a year's worth of neglect in 3 months. That's why the increase in gym goers in January usually goes back to normal by Superbowl Sunday. Personally, I find it interesting that people grasp that it takes their brain 4 years to absorb all the information needed to earn a degree; yet think their muscle tissue can grow in 30 days. The brain is made of fat by the way.
Time for a F^K F@T moment:
Working out with the sole focus of losing weight is only going to result in yo-yoing and frustration. I have plenty of empathy for those looking in the mirror that dislike what they see. Yet my empathy is only going to question their habits. "Don't pray and worry." or in our community, "Don't lift and bitch."
Here are to 4 things to focus on to ensure the "Summer Body" is obtainable.
1. What activities do you want to do on vacation? Train for the movements you'll do on vacation like kayaking and hiking. These movements depend greatly on endurance, stability and upper body strength. Sitting poolside is fun, but can you swim? No?! Don't worry about being comfortable in a bathing suit, work on being comfortable in a body of water.
2. How much does your dream vacation cost? Saving to go abroad is a great motivation to limit spending eating out and drinking every weekend. Discretionary calories often go hand in hand with discretionary spending. Don't diet but budget. Restaurant going and binge drinking add up; so establishing discipline in this area will not only increase the bank account, it will reduce the waistline
3. Learn about the culture you're about to experience. Learning a new language or listening to podcasts not only prepare us to be immersed in new cultures, but are also great activities to do on a cardio machine. I can't stand being on a stationary cardio machine, so I have to make it an even more productive by multi tasking. 60 minutes flies by when you're having fun.
4. Be prepared to protect yourself. Unfortunately, living in the USA means we are susceptible to gun violence anywhere and anytime. Take a self-defense course to prepare for vacation in a new city or new country to not fall prey to a mugger. Go to an open field and train running in zigzag patterns to increase agility. Work the bench press and transverse cable fly movements to prepare to fling objects at an active shooter. Traveling with children? Well being able to pick up your kid/s and run is more important than fitting into a certain pair of jeans for a concert.
These things are simple and take the focus off the mirror and scale. It also means every year there is a reason to keep up healthy habits. Life is full of fun and opportunity. Do you really want to miss out by being out of shape?