If the realisation that Christmas is around eight weeks away does not have you freaking out then finding out we are only five weeks out from summer might.
While plans for a spring health and fitness program could be in full swing for some, for others they may have slipped by the wayside.
Either way, you might benefit from a five-week exercise goal to have you feeling fitter by summer.
Walking is always a great place to start but this is also a great time of year to get back in the pool. I made my return to lap swimming two weeks ago and it was delightful to be back in the water after a lengthy spell. Swimming is a good option for those seeking low-impact exercise or for on a hotter day.
While local fitness events have been abandoned left, right and centre this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a few have started to appear on the calendar for 2021. These include triathlons, ocean swims, running and cycling events and you might be able to find one that will provide a goal to start working towards.
If you are looking for motivation, here are a few session ideas to get you moving over the next five weeks:
30 minutes. Depending on your ability, this could be a mixture of strokes, it could be alternating faster laps with slower laps, a steady 30-minute effort or interspersing some walking laps with swimming. An aqua aerobics class is an alternative non-swimming water workout.
Lower body focus
Squats, dead lifts, lunges, bear crawls, step-ups, squat jumps. Option 1: Perform each exercise for 40 seconds with a 20-second rest. Do three to four sets. Option 2: Pair two exercises together and alternate 20 of each for six minutes. Rest before moving on to the next pair. Add in some running to make it harder, such as one minute of short shuttle runs at the end of each set.
Upper body focus
Push-ups, pull-ups/rows, biceps curl with shoulder press, lateral raises, triceps extension. Option 1: Three to five sets through, performing 10 repetitions of each. Option 2: Add in some plank jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, walking or running for a harder workout.
Crunches, Russian twist, side plank right, side plank left, plank. Option 1: Three sets through of 30 seconds for each. Option 2: 40 seconds of each with a 20-second rest, three times through either doing three sets of one exercise before moving on to the next or doing each of them as one set then repeating twice.
Mix cardio with strength or add some swimming, cycling and running together for your own mini triathlon. If you are at the gym, swap swimming for rowing. You could do 10 minutes of each or five-minute sets, working 30 seconds harder, 30 seconds easier.
A lot of gyms will be offering get fit for summer deals at the moment as well, which could be one place to find motivation.
Summer, and Christmas, will be here before we know and what you do now will put you in good stead for both.
Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.