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ABC’s Autumn Check List

By 9th October 2016Exercise, Nutrition, Recovery

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. The trees transform and display deep orange and red leaves, its home to Halloween and bonfire night, the mornings are fresh and the countdown to Christmas begins. Yes, Autumn is here! I think the temptation by many is to just coast for the rest of the year and refocus again come the 1st of January. I urge you – Don’t wait until the new year and put your health, fitness and body composition goals on the back burner for the last couple of months of 2016. Let’s all have a strong finish to the year with this ABC fit Autumn check list (by the way, I’m going to work my way through the list too. I’ll keep you all posted as to how I get on!).

autumn

Set A SMART Goal
The first thing to tick off your list is to evaluate current goals and set some new ones going forward with a time cap of December 31st. What do you want to achieve between now and the end of the year? Remember to make sure it’s SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).

Try Out A New Exercise Mode At Least Once
With the last few months of the year, why don’t you mix things up and try something different just once. Don’t worry, literally all I mean is just one time so it’s not a long term commitment. For example, if your main goal is hypertrophy and all you do is resistance work, book a session in to try something different like rock climbing. You might be an avid runner, so mix it up and try some resistance work for a session. You can really start to think outside the box. You could try things like a dance class, swimming, mountain biking, horse riding, sprinting, callisthenics, weight training, football, rugby, surfing and kayaking. I bet it will challenge muscles you didn’t even know you had. You never know you may end up loving it so much it becomes part of your normal routine.

Add One New Food To Your Diet
Adding and consuming some different foods in your diet is a great way to freshen things up and create some meals you might not normally have. Different foods will also bring a different variety of macronutrients and micronutrients. So your body will thank you for a vitamin and mineral boost it’s not used to. Below you’ll find a list of fruits and veggies that are in season during the Autumn, so why not put some of them on your shopping list next time you go.

– Apple
– Blackberry
– Butternut squash
– Brussels sprouts
– Cabbage (savoy and spring green)
– Carrot
– Cauliflower
– Celery
– Kale
– Leek
– Onion
– Parsnip
– Pea
– Potato
– Pumpkin (pumpkin seeds make a great snack)
– Purple sprouting broccoli
– Spinach
– Turnip

Read A Book
Staying self motivated with your goals can be a challenge. One of the best ways I stay self motivated is by reading a book related to my goals and actioning the things I’ve taken from it. As a follower of ABC fit, I know you’re interested in self development, personal growth and success. So why not read a book related to your goals this Autumn? If you know your downfall is bad habits, look for a book relating to habits. If you want to learn more about the paleo diet, read a book on the paleo diet. If you need some inspiration of books to read, don’t forget to follow my ABC fit social media accounts. I post a “book of the week” up each week and there’s all sorts of subjects covered including training, nutrition, active recovery, motivation, success and self-help. I’ve personally read them all myself, so I know you wouldn’t be wasting your time and money.

Schedule “C” Time
Remember in the ABC fit success formula C = Recovery. To secure yourself a tick with this point I want you to schedule a 30-60 minute slot in your diary once per week for recovery time. My preferred time to do it is a Sunday evening. We’re coming to the end of the year now and everyone is feeling a little tired physically and mentally so extra time to relax and recover is very important. Recovery time can be a multitude of things, but the only rule is that is has to be active (you have to do something). So watching TV for an hour doesn’t count. Below is an example of the various techniques you can use:

Stretching – The benefits of stretching should not be overlooked and include increased flexibility, increased joint range of motion, increased blood flow to the muscles bringing nourishment and flushing waste products and it helps beat stress by relaxing tight muscles.

Self-myofascial release – This technique is similar to getting a sports massage, but only at a fraction of the price. You simply roll various muscles over a tool (foam roller, lacrosse ball etc.) breathe deep and relax. It works by relieving trigger points due to the principle of autogenic inhibition. It can also encourage fresh blood to the area, which will bring nutrients for a faster recovery. To see a result from this technique spend at least 2 minutes per muscle, and longer if its a particular hot spot for you.

Contrast baths – By contrasting between cold and warm water you take advantage of vasodilatation (from warm water) and vasoconstriction (from cold water). Breaking this down a step further, the warm water causes lymph vessels to relax, the cold water causes lymph vessels to contract. This constant stimulation will help flush out any post-exercise waste products. A 2007 study published in The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport showed contrast water immersion to be a valid method of accelerating plasma lactate decrease during recovery from anaerobic exercise in both males and females.

Epsom salt baths – Contradictory to the previous bathing technique, this is by far the most enjoyable. Your diarised recovery slot could be a hot bath with 200-400 grams of Epsom salts. They are high in magnesium, so it’s a great way to get a boost if you’re deficient. Amongst many other processes, magnesium is necessary for the body to bind serotonin, a mood enhancing chemical within the brain creating a relaxed feeling of well-being. This is great for improving the quality of sleep we get. Epsom salt baths can also help flush out toxins, easing muscle aches and pains.

Subscribe To The ABC fit Mailing List
In my opinion, those that keep up to date with all of my content stay motivated and achieve their goals faster than those that don’t. So if you haven’t done so already, I’d highly recommend you to subscribe to the ABC fit mailing list! Each month you’ll receive high quality articles, workouts and recipes straight into your inbox for free. It’s very simple to subscribe – head to the ABC fit homepage here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a data capture form for my mailing list. Fill it out and then click “join”. It’s that simple.

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