Having the kids at home all summer can throw your fitness regime out of whack — but don’t blame them if you choose to stop training altogether

School holidays are pretty much upon us, but it’s not only the children looking forward to their break. As kids are seen running away from the school grounds, their parents are seen abandoning their fitness regimes.

The women’s Mini-Marathon has finished, the holiday abroad may have come and gone and you may have now lost that incentive to get in shape. You think it’s time to put your feet up and bask in the sun eating ice-cream while the kids play in the garden.

This is a difficult situation. Your time is limited, because you have to look after your children, feed them at the times when you were normally training and then drop them off to summer camp. Ah, sure there’s always September, you think, I can get back into it then.

That’s a dangerous thought to have. Fitness is for life — not just until the summer holidays. You don’t want to be one of the people who throws away all the hard work of the previous six months, especially if Ireland gets hit with the sun. Even a month off training could see you opt for the one-piece swimsuit rather than the two-piece you would have reached for earlier in the year.

You won’t feel as toned or as lean, and you think, ‘it won’t look too out of place if I wear my baggy coat in July’.

Weight does not just creep up on you. You don’t suddenly wake up with an extra 20lb. It takes effort and conscious decision-making. You won’t eat anything ‘by accident’ this summer. You are 100pc responsible for the position you find yourself in today and, if you choose to opt out of training for the summer, you have to accept the consequences.

September is not the new January and there is not as much joy getting in shape in December, when you will spend most of the month covered up, as opposed to the summer months.

As Deborah Waterhouse explains, you never lose your fat-burning cells, you just shrink them. Dieting and gaining of fat increase the number of fat-storing cells, so it is recommended to maintain your body shape rather than to attempt to lose weight in September.

Success leaves clues, and all successful people in fitness make it a part of their lives 12 months of the year. In fact, it’s an investment in their future and in their children’s lives.

But how can you continue your fitness regime in the summer when you are pushed for time?

  • There are no better fitness role models for children than their parents. If a child sees their parents train, it will inspire them to make fitness part of their life. You can train and play with your kids at the local park.
  • Train before your spouse goes to work. Gyms open at 6am. You will be home within the hour knowing you did what makes successful people wealthy (ie, paid yourself first).
  • Organise a babysitter or a creche to mind the children while you train. This is an investment rather than an expense. If you do gain weight during the summer, it will cost you more on quick fixes and the heartache and misery of buying clothes you don’t like, as your regular clothes shop no longer stores your size.
  • Train at home. Your exercise selection is only as limited as your imagination. You won’t go far wrong with squats, lunges or press-ups as your staple exercises if you are confined to home.
  • Hire a personal trainer at home to instruct you to use the dumbbells you bought two Christmases ago.
  • Learn to use a Russian kettlebell off a certified kettlebell instructor.
  • If you are stuck for time and limited space, a kettlebell will increase your muscle mass, increase your metabolism and increase your fitness in 20 minutes or less.
  • Online training is becoming more popular. You may be able to gain access to fitness ideas through the internet.
  • This would mean that you don’t need to leave the house to stay in shape, but remember that Jade Goody’s fitness DVD might not be the greatest choice you could make.
  • Join a tag rugby team for the summer, or tennis club that you can go to at night, when your spouse returns home from work.

We are always faced with challenges to our decision making. Our decisions can be life changing, not only to our lives, but the people we love and care about.

The decision to offer up your fitness regime as the sacrificial lamb for summer is yours, but do me a favour and don’t blame the kids.

When there is one finger pointing at someone to blame, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

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