As the season shifts from summer to fall, habits change like autumn leaves – kids are back in school, schedules are jam-packed and work is busy in preparation for the end of the year. While summer was marked by fresh fruit and long days at the pool, fall brings tidings of comfort food and cozying up by the fire.


Spending time with family and enjoying pumpkin spice EVERYTHING makes fall an amazing time of year, don’t get us wrong. But calorie-rich dishes at holiday parties paired with weeks of gloomy weather can wreak havoc on your health and fitness. Worried about the dreaded “fall weight gain?” Have no fear! We have ten tips to celebrate the season without sacrificing your progress or your goals.


1. Eat Seasonally

Many local farmer’s markets close for the fall, which makes it tough to get excited about fresh fruits and veggies. Invigorate your meal plans by including winter squash, apples, pumpkin, broccoli and other seasonal foods. Roasted butternut squash soup, anyone?


2. Give Yourself a Deadline

Having a measurable goal allows you to track your progress and stay motivated. Sign up for a 5K in the spring or dedicate to a month-long fitness challenge. Whatever your goal, make sure it’s SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.


3. Take Advantage of Indoor Fitness Options

If your favorite workouts take place outdoors, bad weather can really mess with your motivation. Take advantage of the indoor fitness options at In-Shape: whether you take a group fitness class or head for the free weights, we promise it won’t be raining.


4. Build Holiday Plates Mindfully

There are some dishes that are a MUST for holiday celebrations. Whether you’re drooling over stuffing, latkes or your mom’s famous tamales, it just wouldn’t feel right to skip them. Instead, start by filling half your plate with vegetables (preferably raw, roasted, baked, stir-fried or steamed). A quarter of your plate (about the size of your hand in a fist) goes to starchy sides like dinner rolls, pasta or potatoes. Save your final quarter for lean protein like turkey or chicken breast, low-sodium ham, fish, etc. Savor the flavor, then focus on spending time with your loved ones.


5. Bring Your Favorite Healthy Dish to the Party

A week before the event, let the host know you’re bringing your favorite dish to share. Bring a healthy dish you love, then put that on your plate first.


6. Multitask During TV Time

Every little bit counts, so try incorporating a stretching routine into your TV time. Stretching keeps you moving, improves flexibility and prevents injury. It’s a crucial part of recovery.


7. Reward Yourself with Warmth

You know what would really warm you up on a bitter fall day? A dip in the hot tub or relaxing in the sauna. Reward yourself after a challenging workout with the cozy amenities offered at your club.


8. Buddy Up & Build Accountability

There’s power in numbers! Find a friend looking to improve their health and set up an accountability system. Ideally, that would mean heading to a group fitness class together (get them hooked with a free 7-day pass to your club), but sometimes the perfect partner doesn’t share your schedule. Figure out what works for both of you, whether that’s wake-up calls, reminder texts or check-in emails.


9. Incentivize

Did you know we offer a new prize every month for checking in at your club 12 times? Check out this month’s Fit Club prize. If you have a different goal in mind, choose a reward that celebrates your fitness journey: those cute leggings you’ve been eyeing, or a pair of running shoes that get you excited to hit the treadmill.


10. Reconnect with Your “Why”

Don’t wait for New Year’s Eve to set new goals if you’ve fallen off the wagon. Grab a sheet of paper and pen and write your health or fitness goals at the top. Next, ask yourself why you want to maintain these goals through the cold months. Do you want to feel stronger and more confident in the new year? Keep up with your kids this summer? Improve your health so you can spend more holidays with your grandchildren? Once you’ve figured out your “Why,” post it somewhere you can see it and keep pushing in that direction.