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As the summer months quickly approach, now is a great time to refocus on your training. It is easy to put your health and fitness on the back burner while spending more time on other summertime activities (i.e. yard work, vacations, kids’ activities, etc.). For this week’s Focus Point, we are going to discuss potential roadblocks and establish strategies to help maintain your training focus for summer.

Make exercise a priority.

Time is often reported as the number one roadblock to engaging in structured exercise, and prioritization is the answer to this dilemma. By prioritizing what is most important, you will make the time. Let’s think back to the “Race to the North Pole”* during the holiday season. The holidays are a notoriously busy time of year, but many of you met and even exceeded your prescribed training frequency. Why is that?  Because you made the time to exercise.  It was important so you made it a priority.  As we move into the summer months, let’s all have a “Race to the North Pole” mentality and continue to make structured exercise a top priority in our lives.

Formal Exercise vs NEAT

Staying active over the summer generally isn’t too tough, but motivating yourself to go to the gym on a beautiful summer day might be. It is important to remember that, while good for you, outdoor activities like yard work, walking the dog, golfing, etc. do not count as formal exercise and will not improve your fitness in the same comprehensive way. In order to maintain your strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, you must engage in formal exercise a minimum of twice per week (improvement requires 3-5 times per week).

Stay focused on vacation.

One of the best parts of summertime is taking those nice, relaxing vacations. Vacationing provides us an opportunity to step back from the daily grind and break away from our usual workout routines. Activities such as power walks on the beach, swimming, hiking, and bike riding are all great ways to exercise while on vacation. Be sure to talk with your trainer about developing a “To-Go!” program and your strategies for maintaining your exercise frequency while on vacation.

The bottom line: stay focused on your goals.

Remember to connect the short term with the long term; your daily decisions and actions need to line up with your big-picture vision. If you feel your motivation to exercise beginning to dwindle, consider why you are exercising in the first place. Keeping your goals front of mind will help keep you focused for the summer.