How to Keep up Your Fitness Motivation this Fall
Kala Duncan, owner of The OMNI FIT, shares her tips on living a fit and healthy lifestyle
Kala Duncan, owner of The OMNI FIT. Photo by Lauren Bodwell Photography
You know the drill. We emerge from winter hibernation and get thrown into the season of TV ads and local gyms reminding us to get in shape before warmer weather arrives. We spend all spring and summer working out to get that perfect beach body, but then fall arrives and motivation plummets. As the days get shorter we trade our weights for holiday treats, and an hour on the treadmill for an episode of “Stranger Things.” But what if we could keep up our momentum all the way through winter? We spoke with Kala Duncan, personal trainer, nutrition coach and owner of The OMNI FIT, and asked her for a few manageable tips on how to enjoy a fit and healthy lifestyle, not just a healthy summer. Her first suggestion – ask yourself what made you want to start your fitness journey.
If you’re hitting a plateau in your progress, or are finding it progressively more difficult to go to the gym, take a step back and ask yourself why you started in the first place. Revisit your initial goals or take a moment to create new ones. “You aren’t the same as someone else. Make sure that your fitness journey is just that, yours,” says Duncan. “At the end of the day, fitness is more than getting that perfect six-pack and looking good, it is about the quality of your life. If you want to have long-term success, you have to transform more than your body; you have to develop a healthy lifestyle that is successful, realistic and sustainable,” she adds.
Once you define your goals, keep yourself motivated to work out by constantly switching up your routine. Whether that entails trying a hot yoga class with a friend, taking long walks with a coworker every Friday or making yourself a new workout playlist, committing yourself to trying something new helps you achieve your goals.
“We are only human, and we need variety and change to stay motivated,” says Duncan. “Design your routine around a variety of fun exercise methods, and make sure that you look forward to what you are doing. Playing sports with family and friends or trying a spin class might even make you forget that you are working out.”
You can also work to your strengths. Instead of using your busy life as an excuse to not exercise, go for a walk during your son’s soccer practice. If you are most productive at night, prioritize a workout then. If you know that you have a half-hour break before you go grocery shopping, do a quick Beachbody On Demand workout in your living room. Any movement is better than no movement.
“If you have a mindset of gratitude, give yourself grace, and think of fitness as an adaptive lifestyle, you will start hitting goals that you didn’t even set for yourself,” says Duncan. Another tip? Find an accountability partner and build a community around you that holds you to your goals.
When it comes to managing stress levels, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Slowing down throughout your day and taking a couple of minutes to breathe will pay off in the short- and long-term. “We live in a society where we resist the simple things,” says Duncan. “Taking the time to develop daily habits, like journaling for 10 minutes in the morning before you start your day or pausing the noise for a minute while you meditate in complete silence will help your mind and body stay connected to each other.”
Journaling and keeping track of your goals is a great way to manage stress. Photo by Lauren Bodwell Photography
If you’re overly critical of yourself, then it will be harder to reach your fitness goals. Instead of going to the gym for an hour, go on a hike. Develop healthy daily practices, and don’t worry if you find that it is hard to relax during a new meditation — everything takes time. Relaxation and finding ways to manage stress is just as much of a learned skill as lifting weights or yoga.
Stress can also be a result of a lack of control and time management. Make “to do” lists for tasks such as meal planning, but also accept that you might not be able to do everything some days — and that’s OK.
Duncan’s biggest tip when it comes to controlling your cravings? Make a plan. Planning out meals at the beginning of the week and making sure you have protein with every meal will help suppress the urge to overindulge. By having defined mealtimes and eating more frequently throughout the day, you will be able to catch yourself before you start craving a slice of birthday cake that a coworker left in the break room. “At The OMNI FIT, we always suggest sticking to the three-bite rule,” says Duncan. “Whether you’re at home with your kids or at a holiday party, take three bites of whatever you want before you decide if you want to eat the whole thing or toss it.” As long as you are mindful, you won’t have to restrict what you eat and you can instead focus on what fuels it. Commit to your goals, and if you want that cider donut while apple-picking, go for it. Get out of the dangerous “diet mindset” and have that be your treat for the week.
While it may seem daunting at the time, it is possible to keep up your fitness momentum well after your summer tan lines start to fade. Define your personal goals, work to your own strengths, build a community around you, develop healthy daily practices and be intentional in everything that you do. Before you know it, you will be on your way to a healthy life, and not just a seasonal healthy summer.
For more information about how to transform your body and life with The OMNI FIT, visit theomnifit.com to see their list of programs, resources, coaching memberships and mentorships.