Summer of Love(ing) Yourself
We love sports: The competition, the play, the camaraderie, the relaxation, and the feeling of fitness. All of these compel our summer sports. This summer, during this time of social distancing, is a great opportunity to develop our inner athletic skills.
Take inventory of yourself. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing the most? What are your strengths and weakness in the fitness area that, if improved, would make you a better athlete, a fitter person, and nicer to be around?
This is the summer to refine you—and here is how to do it.
To start, objectively collect your personal inventory of good and weak traits. You can do this by signing up for an online, one-on-one personal fitness session. If done well, this “fit check” will be incredibly valuable to you. Think about it as showing up for pre-season training camp—except that no one is judging you except yourself and your trainer.
Assess all your skills. These should include strength, power, stamina, flexibility, speed, balance, accuracy, agility, coordination, and cardiovascular conditioning. Make a checklist, and score yourself. Have your online trainer score you, too. Set goals for the parts of yourself you really want to improve, along with the strength and agility goals that will return you (when possible) to more social sports, better than ever, with increased skills.
Then go after it. Either on your own or with online guidance. Clear out a space where you live for a home gym. Only a few inexpensive rehab tools are required: a mat, an exercise ball, and a few hand weights will be enough. If you have space, a Peloton, chin-up bar, and rowing machine are awesome additions. The Peloton and its competitors include online instructions for the bike, as well as for mat exercises, warm-ups, and stretching.
And get outside. Walking, hiking, kayaking, paddling, surfing, swimming, and biking are all safe. So set goals for this coming summer. Where are you today in your endurance in these sports, and where do you want to be? If you do not measure yourself in some fashion, it is awfully easy to convince yourself that you are good enough. You’re not. No one is. We are all aging. Yet the process can be enjoyable and healthy if the muscles and bones of our body are stimulated to counterbalance the process of decay with the enhancement of fitness training.
When we are moving we are improving, when we are sitting, we are rotting. The beauty of not having TV sports to watch this summer is that the break may help us realize something: We are our own best entertainment, and our own progression as athletes may be just as exciting as watching others perform.
It is well past time that we recognize that what we eat also determines how we feel and who we are. During this summer of fitness and self-love, treating yourself to a healthy diet at every meal is a gift that keeps on giving—to yourself and to everyone around you. Focus this summer on water as your primary beverage, and on lean protein as the primary nutrient. Supplement these with fresh fruits and vegetables. Measure your weight, and set goals to optimize it by summer’s end. Fuel yourself so that you are titrated to your energy output.
We are all making life choices, multiple times each day: when to wear a mask, how far to distance from others, how often to wash our hands. Let’s make fitness choices just as often, within every day, during this summer of loving ourselves.