We are almost on the back side of Winter! Some regions in the United States may feel the sting of Winter a few more weeks, but it is getting that time of year in many of the Southern regions.
Regardless of where you live, eventually you will want to be doing Spring and Summer things and end this Winter hibernation (most of us). This may require you to up your fitness level to prepare for new activities or just to feel better when wearing fewer clothes.
Here is a list of common Spring / Summer goals and some tips and links to help with the short term goals:
1 – Getting Ready for Summer Training - Are you a military candidate / active duty / ROTC / Service Academy getting ready for some type of boot camp, basic training, or summer seminar type training? If so, get on a program to start to prepare not just for the service branch PT test you will have to take, but also some of the events you are bound to experience. Group runs, rucking, military style PT (pushups, situps, pullups, squats, lunges, abs) and maybe even swimming depending upon the training you seek, will require time to adequately prepare. See related links for ideas: Summer Seminar, CFA Training, PFT Training, Prepare for Basic Training, Assess Your Fitness.
2 – Racing: Fitness Event Season! As Spring pushes into the Summer and Fall, many competitive athletes like to get ready for the racing season (5km, 10km, half marathons, marathons, triathlons, Obstacle Course Races…etc). Depending upon what you are preparing for, start on a progressive program so you do not start doing too much right out of the gate and get injured. Regardless, the time to start is now. Generally speaking, progress logically with about a 10-15% increase in distance / time training each week. See related links for more idea. Running Plans, Obstacle Course Racing, Triathlon Training.
3 – Summer Sports Leagues – Many teens are now involved in summer sports leagues where their college hopes require a solid performance during their 10-11th grade years, in order for colleges to see them as a viable candidate for recruiting. Start preparing your body for the rigors of sports. Get used to the heat and run, work on speed and agility, and lift weights during the Spring for more durability in your sport. Make sure you are not just practicing the skills of your sport, but focus on elements that will make you better athletes (strength, power, endurance, muscle stamina, flexibility, mobility, speed, agility). Do not get a late start on these elements of fitness and sports skills. Building some work capacity for multiple games in a single day and long weekends is critical for you during the summer tournament leagues that are now so much a part of college athletic recruiting.
4 – Get Outside and Enjoy Nature – If you are like many who enjoy going camping, hiking, mountain climbing, or other nature activities, start getting prepared for the rigors of some of those activities if you have been fairly sedentary during the Winter. If you are in a region where Winter activities like skiing, skating, or cross-country skiing, are the common activity, you may be pretty fit, but might need to start changing things up with your training if you are going to continue your high level of activity outside during the warmer months of the year. Each week will offer you opportunities to train in warmer weather. If you can progress with the temperature increases each week so you will be better able to handle the transition from cold to hot, non-impact to impact cardio, and weight bearing activities better. Get out and walk, run, ruck.
5 – Weight Loss: Feeling Better in Less Clothing – Often the hibernation months can keep us inside, watching too much television and eating comfort foods. Weight gain from Halloween throughout the New Year is not uncommon. Now, after New Year Goals / Resolutions (attempts / failures), the Spring is time to take is seriously again. You may have to start addressing your eating habits and be disciplined with smaller portions, but it is better to combine better diet with more activity. See ideas for more weight loss activities: 1000 Calories of Activity, Weight Loss Tips, Move More Eat Less.
If New Year’s Resolutions did not start you on a path to increased activity, maybe the nicer weather will. Get out and walk and start adding more activity to your day now and the Spring / Summer activities wearing shorts, swim suits, and sleeveless shirts will be much more enjoyable for you. If your summer is based on performance fitness, now is the time to start the progression to your sports / training goals.
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles onMilitary.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.