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 lockdown, furloughs, gym closures and staycations, don’t worry – September is calling and is heralded as 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 this year has been like no other in history. So, can this claim that a September fitness resolution is more likely to stick still ring true in a time of Covid?
Quite simply: yes. This year of all years, we reckon it’s more important than ever that we Reclaim September – physically, mentally and emotionally. “I think that during lockdown, we had a lot of time to reflect on how we spend our time and who and what are important to us,” says Caroline Britton, intuitive coach and healer.
“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 normality, it’s a great time to take those reflections and think about what we want our lives to look like after lockdown.”
Jennis founder, Jessica Ennis-Hill, agrees. “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.”
Now that the summer holidays are over, it's a great time to take those reflections and think about what we want our lives to look like after lockdown
So, where do you start?
Once you have decided that September is the month that you want to reset and refocus, you can create a solid foundation of fitness by following one of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s fitness challenges, which you’ll find in the Jennis app.
There are three to choose from (30-day kick-start; 30-day ab challenge; 30-day bum challenge), so you can pick whichever challenge reflects your fitness focus. For each challenge, Jess coaches you through what you need to do each day. She packs in tons of variety and helps you stay motivated by varying the intensities and times of your daily sessions.
So, that’s why September works and the different plans you can follow across the month, 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.
Join up with a friend for at least one of your workouts a week, whether it’s a socially-distanced Jennis session or you’re both doing it at home and connecting virtually. “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
Tick off your workouts as you go
Whether you’re doing the 30-day kickstart plan, 30-day ab challenge or 30-day bum challenge, it really helps to tick off each workout you achieve. “A printed programme of exercise is so important and I use this for all my athletes,” says Steve, who has worked with Jessica Ennis-Hill. “The workouts are laid out for you so they're easy to follow and you can literally tick them off so you see your progress. It’s a great motivator.”
Celebrate your wins
Great Jennis workout? Give yourself a mental clap on the back, says Caroline. “After I’ve exercised, I say to myself, ‘I feel really good. Well done for getting up this morning and doing your workout.’ It’s a positive affirmation and locks 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. “Then, next time you’re making excuses about being too tired, hungry or drained to work out, you can pick up your note and read how you felt,” says Steve. “It’s a positive cue to help you get going.” Find out more about how to make an exercise habit stick.
Over to you
Now that you know why September is perfect for a fitness reset, choose one of the Jennis Fitness 30-day challenges and #ReclaimSeptember.
Want to reclaim September? Find out more about the Jennis 30-day kick-start plan