It’s only once the exams are over that I really get into the season that is summer (the best time of the year without a doubt). This time around is especially significant for myself because GCSEs will be over.
(Pause for thought because this is huge. We’ve only been revising since…ummm, Christmas.)
At 10.30am tomorrow I’ll be putting down my pen, walking out of the exam room and into 11 weeks of holiday time. For almost 3 months there’ll be no more desk-sitting, late night cramming and time schedules. And I guess that’s more or less the same for everyone over the age of 12…however the downside of these good grades that you’ll hopefully be achieving is that your fitness is likely to have dropped a little if you stopped exercise all together. But that’s okay. Completely understandable. We can work with it (if you’re willing to work too)!
Summer can easily slip into a long and lounging affair, joined by that un-welcomed boredom tainted fortnight before school starts because you’ve exhausted both the fun and the mildly entertaining options to fill the time. But we can change (some of) that. Hopefully.
For those that train and do sport regularly, summer is extra special because it provides time to put in a bout of focused work towards your goal. However if you aren’t able to train as regularly, I always feel that having a small task or little job to complete each day really can be the make or break between one of those days where you’re completely happy to stay on the sofa but feel slightly regretful towards the end of the afternoon, or one of those days where you just generally feel really positive and ready to give things a go. So here are three challenges that you can all try…whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a gym-goer.
Goal 1: Planks
I’m slightly worried that most of you readers are going to completely skip this section because I know that the vast majority of just about everyone on the entire planet would happily miss out this exercise should they be given the chance. And that was definitely me when I first started! I couldn’t stand them. All the supposedly easier variations seemed just as impossible as the others. But I did stick with it…and now I actually enjoy a good old plank. It’s strange because on some days I’ll pass two minutes without breaking a sweat, but on others I’ll be counting every single millisecond from about 20 seconds onwards. The plank is beneficial for a whole host of muscles, but the thing I like most about it is the challenge. It’s perfect because there’s always another 30 seconds to squeeze for, and it really doesn’t take very long at all so you can pretty much do anytime and anywhere.
So here is the challenge. I completed it last summer in double the time that it suggests- for example instead of doing one day of the 70second I would take two days to get used to this amount of time. For myself, I always did it in the evening- I found that the best time was in that 10 minutes before dinner is served (which I would have otherwise spent hovering around the kitchen waiting)! Once school started this routine was disrupted (well let’s be honest, just forgotten about), but I’m planning on starting again this Tuesday with the plan below that will take me up to 5 minutes. Although I didn’t keep up the routine, I still continued to use planks as part of core workouts so I still have a basic level of planking-fitness so I think I’m now ready for the next step up!
Goal 2: The Event
What really motivates me is training for a competition or an event (no need for it to even be competitive). What I’m suggesting that you guys could try is to find something that you think you might like to give a go, and start working towards that. Of course, it doesn’t actually have to be fitness related (because surprisingly enough the world doesn’t completely revolve around sport along), but if it is that’s also fab.
Once my foot is eventually back to full capacity I’m going to start properly training for the Brighton and Hove Triathlon that I’m planning (well more accurately attempting) to do in September. But there are loads of other things.
If you’ve never really given much though to swimming, why don’t you set yourself a challenge of completing 10 lengths, and then gradually increase it? Once you’re more confidant you could then try a sea/ lake swim which is meant to an amazing experience (if you choose a clear and clean one!). You would be surprised to find out (by googling it) how many open water swims are available in your area. And if you’re a runner, swimming is always a great addition to the training. Maybe you could try one of the GO TRI Aquathlon events which can almost be used as a training session due to them having a well organised but non-competitive nature. Don’t worry though, you can very easily make it competitive if you want to!!! I swam and ran at Ashford two years ago. And then last year I went to Pells Pools in Lewes.
If you’ve always detested swimming that’s okay too! You could start thinking about a colour run, a bootcamp, or even joining a new club (which still counts as an event don’t worry!). Maybe you have a super long charity walk planned? This ‘thing’ that you’re working for can be as little or as big as you like, but as long as you’ve got something to work towards, you’ll always have a reason to get out there and work hard.
Goal 3: The Bucket List
This is my favourite thing to create at the start of the summer. It’s always best not to put pressureo n yourself to complete absolutely everything, but always having something to think about trying make everything more interesting. Two years ago I made this overly ambitious list, but this year I’m being more liberal. It’s the little and random things that are the best things…for example one bullet on 2017’s list is to work out how to make iced coffee that tastes exactly like the little Starbucks drinks you can buy.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, I’ve linked 3 of my favourite Instagram accounts from a range of categories. Choosing just three was exceptionally hard by the way- if you know where to look, Instagram is one of the best places to find inspiring people to follow!
@lydsberrypie If you’re looking for photos of astonishing quality, inventive captions and teenage fitness travels, this is your girl. I’m also very much a fan of this post from her blog: Inside the Mind of a 1500m Runner.
@food_fitness_flora A really lovely lady living the London life to the full (aaaand could I have put any more l’s in that sentence…!).
@chessieking For being the bestest person ever to talk about body confidence. She also creates some killer (and fun) workouts.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas for the summer! I have honestly loved talking about the Girls Active campaign and also just being an ambassador for a great cause: anything that promotes sport has all the support from me! If you want to find out more about this Youth Sports Trust campaign, you can head over to the website or read my first blog here.
Have a lovely (and extremely sunny) Sunday everyone. I’m now setting off to complete today’s challenge: to become as tanned as possible without burning…but that’s something I really shouldn’t be promoting. Remember to stay safe in the sun people!