How do we know when to intensify our workouts? How do we know when to spend less time in the gym? Or, relax a bit with our meals? Have more treats?! We all strive for balance, but can we really “have it all?!” Can we get fit and lose fat while enjoying drinks on the weekends and working out less?
The concept of what I am calling “pace modes” will help answer those questions. I am confident that the strategy I’ve devised will allow us to achieve both. AND, hopefully, we will begin to feel an even more balanced, healthy lifestyle. Let’s dive in.
One of the most popular blog posts I ever wrote was on “embracing life’s seasons.” HERE is the full post if you want to read it. Otherwise, I will quickly summarize it here…
Basically, we have to recognize that, just like the weather, our lives have seasons.
During those different seasons, our priorities shift as do our goals. We live our lives according to each season’s priorities and goals.
Balanced is reached when we embrace these ever-changing seasons and allow our priorities, goals and daily tasks to change as well.
Here are some seasons you may be able to relate to:
- college finals: the priority is schoolwork & studying; everything else takes a backseat
- bringing home your new baby: the priority is the baby & family; everything else is secondary
- summer: the priority may shift more towards having fun, traveling, weekend plans; the gym, work, a clean home may not matter as much
- the weeks before a spring break beach vacation: your priority may be getting in shape; treats and drinks may be less important to you now (until you’re on that vacation ;))
During some seasons, the gym and healthy eating may be one of your top priorities. During other seasons, it may fall lower on your list. BOTH are okay!
THE UPCOMING HOLIDAY SEASON
Right now, we are on the brink of the holiday season… and in my opinion, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. The happiness in our lives seems to be higher. We are seeing friends and family more often. We get to dress up, dine out and bake. Cookies… oh, the cookies and treats haha. Celebrations! It’s just such a fun time of the year but it gets busy. There is often less time for the gym.
Still, so many of us find that looking our bests equates to feeling our bests. Honestly, I can feel lazy and crummy when I miss too many workouts. Or, if I notice myself a little fluffier than usual and my clothing doesn’t fit, I get frustrated. Health is happiness to me, so my goals in the gym and kitchen are very important. You know what I mean?
Can we have both? I know so!
THE CONCEPT OF PACE MODES
You know I am all about a system and strategy. When I look at a calendar year and plan workouts, programs and challenges, I also look for the times when life’s seasons are less about health and fitness. For example, the holidays.
The idea is that we up our training and intensity before these seasons so that we can moreso coast and maintain during times when the gym isn’t so much of a focus.
We have a few weeks remaining until the holiday festivities kick off = time to intensify
During the holidays = slow our pace… maybe workout a day or two less each week and enjoy a few more treats.
Come January 1st, the motivation and buzz is there. Turn back up the pace!
You see what I mean?? It just takes a bit of a strategic system to both see results and be able to take some time off.
LEVELS OF PACE MODES:
There are basically three pace modes…
INTENSIFY: this is when you up your training and nutrition. I normally workout 5 days per week, so during the intensified pace, I am working out 6 days per week. I normally do 30 minutes workouts but now I may add in 10-15 minutes of cardio, working out for 45 minutes. If I have a small treat every other day, I may cut back to just have 2-3 treat meals per week.
This is a season in which health & fitness are a top priority
LIGHTEN UP: this is the polar opposite to the above pace mode. If I normally workout 5 days per week, I may be working out 3-4 days per week. Or, my workouts may be a little shorter or less intense. I may get creative… instead of a traditional workout, I may go for a walk with family who are in town visiting or go kayaking while on a vacation. There are definitely more treats and less strict portions during this pace mode.
This is a season in which health & fitness are not on the top of the priority list
STANDARD/TYPICAL: this is your normal pace and it looks different for everyone. For me, this is a 30 minute workout, 5 days per week. It’s semi-strict portions. It’s some treats but it’s also saying no to some cravings. You know what I mean.
During this season, health & fitness is a priority but it’s certainly not the only priority
WHAT PACE WE ARE CURRENTLY FOLLOWING:
The holiday season is approaching, so my strategy is to increase the pace right now…. to go from standard to more intense.
It’s a strategy that will then allow us to then settle into a lightened up pace when the holiday season rolls around.
AND, all of this is designed so that we are continuing to make progress with our workouts… we are keeping our body fat low (and losing more)… we are making muscle gains… seeing that definition… enjoying our workouts… enjoying our meals… enjoying life.
What do you think about all of this? Honestly, I think it’s genius. I know that this strategy is what will help us feel that balance while feeling so damn proud of ourselves. No getting off track. No losing progress. Just enjoying life… intensifying and lightening up based on the season.
If you haven’t already, be sure you’re following THIS calendar because it’s how we are training for the next few weeks before the Fitmas Challenge kicks off!