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6 Tips to Help You Fall into Fitness

Almost everyone looks forward to and plans ahead for summer. For example, you plan to get in shape for summer, and you might plan special vacations and weekend getaways. Summer is, and has always been, the prom king (or queen) of seasons.

But as the days get shorter, you know the end of the hot summer days is approaching. And perhaps some of your healthier eating habits and determination to work out might have even gone out the window with the warm summer breezes.

But c'mon guys and gals, there is no reason why all of your determination, hard work and great results should only last one season of the year! I'll share my tips that will help you stay fit, healthy and ready to face fall with newfound energy!

1. Get Packing! (Snack-Packing...)
Don't wait until you're overly famished at work, or on-the-go, so you dive at the first edible thing you see. Instead, take time the night before to put some healthy and tasty snacks in your bag. This may seem like a chore, but once you get in the groove, not only will you save time (and money), but you'll also save your waistline! And no, healthy snacks don't have to be as boring as carrots in a baggie, there are so many yummy options out there now - Greek yogurt is a personal favorite of mine. (Read my blog post on "Is Greek yogurt Really Better Than Regular Yogurt?")

2. Define an Action Plan
It's easy to say you are going to exercise before work and start eating healthier, but these goals are vague. Define exactly what your schedule is going to look like. For example: Block out 6-7 a.m. every morning for your exercise, and make a plan around what you are going to do. Simply walking into a gym without a plan doesn't work so well. If you need help, I definitely recommend starting a plan or program. Whether this means hiring a trainer, signing up for a class, finding a great DVD workout or choosing an online program — having an action plan is often more than half the battle.

3. Get Organized
Once all your summer clothes are put away in storage or moved to the back of your closet and sweaters are now near the front, get your kitchen and workspace organized as well. Grocery shop and stock your kitchen with healthy staples, search online for healthy recipes and ways to prepare your favorite fall foods, and clean up your home office and desk. A healthy mind and body needs an organized life backing it up. Getting and feeling organized will prepare you for success.

4. It's All in the Prep-Work
When you're planning to work out in the morning, be sure to make getting up as easy as possible. Lay out your workout clothes, have your gym bag packed and ready to go, and even have a quick and handy post-workout snack or breakfast pre-packed and ready. That way, you can be up and working out (or out the door to the gym) in a dash! Working out first thing in the morning — if you can do it — is ideal.  You get your workout done and put yourself on track for a high-energy day, making you more productive at work. Plus, you won't have to worry about your day getting "too busy" to squeeze in that sweat session. Not a morning exerciser? Schedule your workout on your calendar like a meeting, and hold yourself accountable to it, so nothing gets in the way. Make it the most important meeting of your day.

5. Get to Bed
Skimping on sleep is one of the worst health and fitness mistakes that the majority of people are guilty of. Fitness-wise inadequate sleep time slows muscle repair and growth and will leave you feeling drained. It also isn't doing your mental clarity any favors. I understand that it's easy to get sucked into distractions, but you need to get yourself to bed. Set a "bedtime alarm" that reminds you that it's time to tuck yourself in and recharge your batteries (and body) for the next day. I recommend powering down all and putting away all electronic and work-related items at least an hour before bedtime. Use that time to establish a relaxing routine, prep for the following day and wind down. Here are 10 science backed-up steps to get a goof night's sleep.

6. Be Realistic
Accept that yes, it might be rough those first couple of days. Yes, you might have to force yourself to get up and get that sweat session in, but once you get a week or two in, you'll officially have your healthy, fit, and set-for-success routine down. Soon enough that alarm won't feel as early, the workday won't feel as grueling, and your fitness regimen will not seem not so daunting. It might even be enjoyable!

Don't overwhelm yourself. Choose one of the steps above to incorporate it as part of your routine first. Once you've managed it, move onto the next one. Set yourself up for success!

Readers - How do you get ready for fall? Will you try any of these tips? Do you have other helpful ideas to share? Leave a comment below, and let us know. 

Amanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, model, spokeswoman, founder of FitStrongandSexy.com and one of the industry’s leading experts in fitness, wellness and change.  Amanda has her own professional online workout channel and talk show. She can be found writing about life, fitness, wellness and change on her website: www.amanda-russell.com. To watch Amanda's show, visit AmandaRussell.TV. She was recently named as one of Google’s “Next Top Fitness Trainer’s in 2012.”

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