It warms my heart when clients tell me, as they prepare for their summer vacations, they have their "Away Programs" printed, their runners and workout gear packed, and our YouTube channel saved on their phones. That is precisely what every personal trainer wants to hear: their people get it.
They understand that a trip is no excuse to stop respecting their bodies; they will keep moving no matter the circumstances or time of year.
So, it baffles me when I read tweets or blogs, or eavesdrop into conversations at the local Starbucks, and hear people proclaim they have taken a break from their fitness for the summer.
While I will give them some credit because they always back it up with an, "I'll get back to it in the fall," I still don't get it.
Why would you purposely lose the strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity that you have just spent the last nine to 10 months working towards? You will lose it. In fact, the more "deconditioned" you were before your summer hiatus, the more you are going to lose.
Studies have followed new exercisers as they began an exercise program
and then stopped it, and found that two months after quitting their new found fitness program, they had lost all their original gains. They were back at square one.
Fit people, your outcome is not as bad, but it is still worrisome.
After two months off, it's estimated you will lose about 30 per cent of your gains.
The question then begs to be asked: How long will it take to get it all back? Researchers say that is hard to predict, but for athletes, it could take as much as three months to regain your previous fitness level. For new exercisers, it might be as much as eight to 10 months.
If you allow me to do the math, a new exerciser who stops exercising for the summer and then starts up again after the kids go back to school in September, will just be getting their original fitness back by the beginning of December. And then guess what? It's Christmas.
Now there are parties to go to, schedules that are busy and, well, what the heck, "I will start up again in January."
After Christmas comes winter holidays, because most people I know take off sometime in early in the year. Then there is spring break and then guess what? It's summer again.
It's a vicious cycle, with no end in sight and no gains to be seen.
That is, unless you decide to break the habit of thinking that exercise is something that can be dropped from the schedule and put back in again when it suits you better.
Exercise is a necessity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is our only proven fountain of youth, disease-fighter and "I-feel-awesome" medicine all rolled into one. Why would you give all that up? Try these easy tips to keep exercising through the summer: Try a new class Quite often fitness studios will run specials through the summer months because it is their slow time. Use these savings to try something you have never done before.
Use the great outdoors Go for a hike, do a miniworkout outside, play tag with the family. Get outside and enjoy both moving your body and the great outdoors all at the same time.
When travelling, pack your fitness gear Always have a workout outfit and runners packed -no matter where you go.
Your phone If you go away, and have access to Wi-Fi, check out all the free workouts available to you on YouTube (including our channel, www.youtube.com/gofitgals). You can also use apps to keep moving. I love the Nike Training Club and Pocket Yoga apps. Both will guide you through workouts and moves safely and effectively.
P.J. Wren is the fitness half of the Go Fit Gal team. You can reach her at www.gofitgals.com.