The search for the perfect diet and workout plan often ignores the cyclical nature of Nature. In the distant past, when our lives as humans were more greatly affected by the seasons, diets naturally varied according to the weather conditions.
Although we have progressed as a species, and now have access to modern conveniences year-round, our bodies are the same. They need variety.
The best diet is a non-diet. It’s an eating plan that you can sustain year-round. It does not involve eating the same foods every week, every month, every year. It involves eating mindfully, stopping at the first signs of fullness, adding seasonal fruits and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water.
Similarly, we should modify our exercise plans depending on the time of the year. The body naturally adapts to the demands we throw at it. That’s why it’s good to switch it up every few months. For example, in the Fall, I tend to lift heavier weights more often. I also reduce my cardio to about 15-20 minutes each session. I do two days of upper body, and two days of lower body, with cardio at the end of each workout and longer sessions on non-weight-lifting days. I take at least one day of full rest per week.
In the warmer months, starting around March, I put more emphasis on cardio. I do longer sessions several times a week. I still lift weights, but I focus more on moderate to lighter weights. This is just my example. You can modify your workouts in any way that feels motivating. Some people drop the gym during the summer, and play sports instead, enjoying activities such as surfing and beach volleyball. Others might start training for a marathon in the Fall, run the race in Spring, then switch to swimming over the summer.
This not only keeps workouts fun, it ensures that the body is always adapting to new stimuli. Likewise, switching up the diet also prevents boredom and binge eating in rebellion against a too-strict diet. I allow more cheat meals in the Fall and Winter, and tighten up my regimen in the Spring and Summer. I’m less hungry during the warmer months, so this program works well for me.
So, feel free to experiment. Sometimes we become so goal-oriented that we forget to have fun. The body will naturally evolve, becoming healthier and fitter, when we give it high-quality food and regular exercise.
Be patient, and the results will come. More importantly, if you’re patient, and you adjust your habits gradually over time, the results will last a lifetime!!
Peace and love,