January 1st. Time for New Years’ resolutions, rekindling your love affair with the gym, counting every calorie and cutting out carbs/fat/gluten, etc. Problem? By Valentine’s Day, you’re over it and killing boxes of chocolate hearts.
Then there’s April, which can bring a whole lot more than April Showers. It also introduces the mad dash to get ready for the hottest months of the year and effectively achieve the coveted “Summer Body”. Problem? By Independence Day, you’re content to just throw on a beach coverup and throw back the burgers and beer.
And then there’s October. I personally like to lose a few pounds before the Holiday Season so that I can indulge and there are plenty of folks that share my seasonal crutch, however there are also a band of people that start their annual binge with Halloween candy and don’t come out of the proverbial Sugar Shack until New Year’s Day, at which time the whole sordid saga begins again.
It’s exhausting just thinking about it.
Nothing should make us want to change our lifestyles more than the vicious cycle of seasonal reasons to get in shape. Having a reason to get in shape will never give us a reason to stay in shape. It’s not about a season or a holiday; it’s about a fundamental change in everyday habits that present a more whole, healthier you all year long.
That said, we’re giving you a great workout for each month of the year that maximizes weather, culture, and yes, celebrations.
The beginning of the year is a great time to get into the gym. Even for those that don’t love the gym, the sheer energy of people pouring in to clean up after the holidays and stay in line with their resolutions can feed some great workout sessions.
The gym is also a great place to meet new people, and there’s no better chance of connecting with someone great than when the gym is packed. No other month of the year sees this many people cross the gym threshold, so go forth and prosper. It’s also a great time to cleanse your palate by focusing on protein-centric salads and decadent cleansing teas with healthy ingredients like fennel and the anti-inflammatory superstar root, turmeric.
The Love Month is a funky time of year because while it’s still primarily cold outside, there are typically a few moderately nicer days. This is a great month to enjoy the winter with some outdoor walks/runs/jogs. You get a great sweat, but it’s still so cold that it’s not uncomfortable!
As an alternative to all the chocolate floating around, make some delicious calorie-conscious pudding using your 310 chocolate shake mix and lite coconut milk. Put a little (really; a little) whole fat whipped cream on top if you’re feeling luxe, or grab a canister of dairy-free coconut milk whipped cream from your local farmer’s market instead.
Hello Spring! Daylight Savings Time towards the end of the month takes an hour from your day, but give you more sunlight. Squeezing in an outdoor workout after work or getting a good morning workout in with the earlier sunrise isn’t a bad idea.
With berries in season, enjoy them on salads as well as cooked with protein and greens. Sautéed chicken, strawberries, and mushrooms over a bed of sautéed kale is a surprisingly delicious treat.
Rainy days can send you back indoors, but instead of the gym, finding some great indoor workouts to do at home is an even better idea. After all, why leave the house if you don’t have to?
There are countless apps, Instagram accounts, television programming, and online video content with options for a good, sweaty indoor session. The Nike iPhone/Android app has some notably good options for a home workout. Try a meatless or plant-based month before the hectic party schedule of the summer begins!
After a bit of Cinco de Mayo fun, enjoy the good weather clear until Memorial Day by not only heading outdoors to enjoy the throes of spring, but jazzing it up by visiting your local outdoor staircase or hiking path.
It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the sunshine–and delicious new salad combinations. Focus on lean proteins and seafood and the plethora of leafy greens. Try some new green combinations for fun: arugula + kale, collard + turnip, chard + bok choy…
With summer in full effect, where else is there to go but to the beach!? Scheduling some weekend beach volleyball games, beach runs, or surfing is a great way to stay active if you live anywhere near the water.
Otherwise, go to your local pool and swim some laps for exercise. Nothing makes you hungrier than the beach and swimming, so indulge in cheese-free, sheep, or goat cheese pizza with a ton of colorful veggies on top or a lean turkey or salmon burger on a heart-healthy sourdough bun.
If you’re not having a blast in July, you’re doing something wrong. Stay in party mode by dancing as much as possible, both publicly and privately. Dance sessions at home or even moving to the beat while cleaning can burn up to 600 calories, so get your favorite playlist going on the iPad and sweat it out to your Top 40.
If you drink, enjoy alcohol responsibly. The best [and least calorically burdensome] way to partake is to drink a clean solid ounce of your favorite spirit with flavored sparkling water and lots of freshly squeeze citrus like lemon, lime, orange, and fat-burning grapefruit.
With the summer winding down, you might be busy getting ready to return to life either by getting kids back to school or returning from vacation. This is a great time to focus on just being active in your everyday life by living the small changes–taking the stairs, parking farther and walking, running instead of walking to your destination.
It’s also a prime time to enjoy the last great batch of nature’s perfect candy–the sweet, filling, diuretic watermelon.
With school back in session and your old television shows coming back, there’s a tendency to forget about fitness, but stay on track with a food and activity journal for the month to keep you accountable.
Make healthy, plant-heavy meals maximizing the last batches of many of the summer’s most delicious produce offerings.
With the weather getting chilly again and the time falling back, there’s a desire to stay in bed longer and little reason to work out, but making time for self-care like sweat lodges, saunas, and steaming will keep you focused on maximizing the potential of your body.
Making hearty winter meals healthy is easy with a slow-cooker. Browse through the millions of recipes on Pinterest for ideas!
Well, there’s no getting around the fact that holiday parties are starting and Thanksgiving is upon us. Staying in the gym fights off the winter blues and powers you through the days you wish could just wrap yourself in your comforter and stay in bed.
Spend November trying all kinds of salad combinations and making two out of three or 4 out of six meals a day salad. The possibilities are endless!
Right at the precipice of the holiday season explosion, there’s plenty of reasons to feel gratitude–chief among them your health. Repositioning your workout mindset from “I have to work out” to “I get to work out” works wonders, and during this merry time of year when we’re all spreading cheer, it’s easier than ever to make exercise a priority.
Take brisk walks or jogs and chow down on hearty, healthy, whole food soups and stews and dairy free lattes.
Not that we need one, but there is always a good “seasonal” reason to work out. But the best reason will always be to maximize our health for ourselves and the people we love. And that’s something that’s true all year round.