If you want to make a new fitness routine stick, September is ‘the’ month to do it. Sports physiologist Dr Steve Ingham, life coach Karen Perkins and Intuitive coach, Caroline Britton, explain why...
If you’ve found it difficult to stick to a fitness routine amidst the chaos of summer holidays, work, lockdown, isolations and catching up on socialising, don’t worry – September is here and it's scientifically proven to be the perfect time to reset your fitness routines, set new goals and reclaim your motivation.
For most people, it’s New Year’s resolutions and January 1st that act as a marker for a whole new fitness focus, but September is more effective if you want to start a whole new fitness regime, says life coach Karen Perkins .
“The mornings and evenings are lighter, giving you time at the start and end of each day to exercise outdoors,” she says. “It’s likely to feel warmer in September than in January, and the weather is usually better, too.
“As an added bonus, without the public pressure of sticking to New Year’s resolutions, you can quietly build up your resilience to exercise, which in turn means that you’re much more likely to stick to your workouts as the weather turns chillier.”
Even during Covid?
Naturally, the above stands true for a ‘normal’ year, but the last two years have been like no other in recent history. So, can the claim that a September fitness resolution is more likely to stick still ring true?
Quite simply: yes. This year of all years, we reckon it’s more important than ever that we Reclaim September – physically, mentally and emotionally. “Now that the summer holidays are over, more people are returning to their work (whether physically or virtually), the kids are going back to school and there’s a revised element of new normal, it’s a great time to take those reflections and think about what we want our lives to look like,” says Caroline Britton , intuitive coach and healer.
Jennis CycleMapping founder, Jess Ennis-Hill, agrees. “For me, the past six weeks of juggling childcare, work on the Olympics, squeezing in staycations and creating workouts for Jennis have felt really full-on, so I'm embracing September as an opportunity to take back some control, have some more time for me, set goals and create healthy routines.”
So, that’s why September is a good month to reset and refocus, but how can you ensure you stick with it?
Plot your workouts into your schedule
“Don’t be vague about when you’ll do your workouts as you’re less likely to do them,” says Dr Steve Ingham , sports physiologist and performance scientist. “Instead, plan a specific time into your calendar that will actually work for your timetable and also your body clock.” So if you’re a morning person, early workouts are probably key, while for evening people, lunchtime or teatime slots might work better.
Put your kit out the day before
“The day before, get your kit out ready for your next day’s workout and leave it somewhere prominent so that it reminds you that you are committed to that decision to exercise,” says Steve.
"It's also a good idea to look at what's coming up in your CycleMap the night before," says Jess, "so that you're menstally prepared. This also helps you make a silent promise to yourself to complete it."
Join up with a friend for at least one of your workouts a week. “By committing to exercise with a friend, you add a slight social pressure, so can hold each other accountable if one of you doesn’t turn up,” says Steve. “It’s also more fun! Time flies when you’re doing an ab workout with a friend.” Find out more about why working out with a friend is scientifically proven to help you get fitter .
It’s an opportunity to take back some control in areas where we have all felt a bit powerless, set goals and create healthy routines that are focused on ourselves
Celebrate your wins
"Another good tip is to give yourself a mental clap on the back," says Caroline, "if you've had a particularly good session or went ahead and completed it when you weren't feeling motivated."
"After I’ve exercised, I often say to myself, ‘I feel really good. Well done for getting up this morning and getting your workout done.’ It’s a positive affirmation and helps to lock it in.”
Jot down your post-workout endorphin highs
Keep making excuses to skip your workout? Then it’s good to remind yourself how positive you feel after a session, rather than focusing on the struggle to start one. To help you do this, after nailing a session, write down how it felt to bask in the after-glow of the endorphin rush in the notes section of your app. “Then, next time you’re making excuses about being too tired, hungry or drained to work out, you can look at your notes and read how you felt,” says Steve. “It’s a positive cue to help you get going.”
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Read what Refinery 29 had to say about the programme