It’s September and while summer isn’t officially over yet, most of our summer holidays probably are. Many of us are going back to school — or starting at a new school. But even those of us who aren’t in school anymore have routines to settle back into. Summer hours are over. Summer sports seasons are wrapping up. It’s time to dive into our fall plans and fall routines.
This isn’t a bad thing. This time of year can actually be great for refocusing on long-term goals or setting new ones. In fact, many people treat September as the start of their new year and set new resolutions for Labor Day like it’s the new January 1st.
For those of us who had more free time to train over the summer, though, settling into a fall schedule can pose some challenges. If we have less time — and maybe less energy — how do we stick to our martial arts and fitness routines? And how do we keep up our training without burning out?
These five tips will help you stay healthy and motivated through the fall season — and the rest of the year.
1. Be patient with yourself.
We’re not saying that you should relax entirely. Just back off a bit.
It’s not always easy to jump into a new routine. It’s not always easy to return to an old one when you’ve had time off or a break of some sort. The transition from a less structured summer to school (or regular fall routine) won’t necessarily be smooth. But that’s no reason to beat yourself up about any slips or interruptions in your training.
If adapting to a new fall schedule means that you aren’t able to keep up all of the training that you did over the summer, don’t panic! Accept that there might be some fluctuations in your mental and physical energy levels — not to mention the amount of free time you might have — over this period. Then promise yourself that you’ll return to your regular training as soon as you start to feel a little more grounded. Then live up to that promise.
2. Do a little each day.
Just because you don’t have the time or energy to make it to the gym or dojo doesn’t mean that your day has to be a wash. Set aside a small block of time to do something at home. It doesn’t have to be long, either. Even if you only have five minutes to spare, those five minutes can go a long way toward maintaining both your fitness level and your commitment in the long run.
Whether it’s katas, push-ups, a few rounds of shadowboxing, or even some gentle stretching, managing to do at least a little physical activity each day will help you to keep your focus and keep your mind in training mode. Maintaining a level of physical fitness will also keep you better prepared for returning to your more full-fledged workouts and classes when you are able to mange them in your schedule.
3. Use a day planner. Draw up a schedule.
Not only will a day planner remind you of everything that you need to do in a day and in a week, it can also allow you to get a better sense of what your life is shaping up to be in the weeks and months ahead. And, once you have your mind wrapped around that, you can start to better integrate your training time into your school, work, and life schedules.
Scheduling your training time into your day planner will also help you to stick to your fitness and martial arts plans.
4. Set a goals. Chase them.
Exercisers and martial artists tend to stick to their training — and perform better — when they set specific measurable goals for themselves in both the short term and the long term. Having clear and attainable goals in mind (which doesn’t mean easy goals- but goals that you can achieve if you set your mind and body to them and put in the work) can be exactly what you need to keep you going and inspire you to stick to your training during periods of upheaval in your life.
Long term goals will push you forward and remind you that training is a lifelong journey. Shorter term goals will give you smaller road posts that you can achieve along the way, allowing you to feel proud of your accomplishments as you continue to work toward bigger dreams in your future.
5. Try something new.
This might seem counterintuitive at first. If you’re struggling to keep up your training routines because everything else in your life is changing and/or you have too much on your plate already, why would you add to it with a new fitness class or martial arts lesson? But if you’re the type of person who thrives on challenge and change, there might be no better time than now to try something completely different. Have you ever wanted to try Muay Thai or Karate? Wondered if you should add some Judo training to your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu routine? Considered cross-training? Why not start the school year off with another new class and find a whole new level of energy and enthusiasm for your martial arts and/or fitness practice?
Are you starting a new school year? What inspires you to stick to your training routines? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget to check out our online store. We have the fitness and martial arts gear you’ll need to keep training in any season.