Fall into Fitness with Emily Mailloux

Emily MaillouxWe’ve all been there, that end of summer slump. You spent the summer running all over the place, swimming, hitting the beach, hiking, biking, barbequing, staying up late, drinking too much sangria and eating fried clams. Now the days are getting shorter and the summer excitement has faded away into crazy schedules and busy holidays. Your fitness routine was all over the place this summer, and you’re thinking, now what?

Here are my top 5 tips for getting back into your (or starting a brand new) fitness routine this fall.

Pick a goal. Your training will always be more successful if you have a specific mission. Pick something — it doesn’t matter what it is –and focus on it. If you don’t have a long-term goal in mind, pick something you’ve always wanted to get good at and spend some time really working towards it. Maybe October is the month that you finally complete 5 consecutive pull-ups!

Be realistic with your nutrition plans. Many people dive headfirst into the fall determined to complete highly-restrictive diets or cleanses. Going from a summer of hamburgers and cocktails and ice cream to an all-greens and juice cleanse is going to be really, really tough, and most likely won’t lead to sustainable results or fat loss. Instead, pick a few small habits to change, and incorporate one or two new ones each month. By the time the holidays arrive, you’ll have made gradual but effective lifestyle changes that won’t lead to binging on cookies over the holidays.

Try something new. For a lot of people, the end of summer means the end of fun. The kids are back to school and homework, the weather isn’t as nice, and the days are shorter. Picking something new to try this fall will give you something to look forward to and keep you engaged. If you’ve never tried boxing or powerlifting or hip hop dancing, this fall could be your time to try it out!

Cook, cook, cook! The more you cook, the better you look! Lots of amazing ingredients are in season in New England in the fall, including squash, apples, pears, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables. Bonus tip: root vegetables like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes are some of the best sources of healthy carbohydrates in your daily diet. If you’ve never tried it, spaghetti squash is an awesome pasta alternative, or check out my recipe for butternut squash tortilla pizza below!

Get outside! Take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather, and get moving! Fall is the perfect weather for outdoor runs now that the humidity has dropped. Go for hikes to enjoy the fall foliage (check out Blue Hills in Milton or Breakheart Reservation in Saugus for a couple of local options). Take a bike ride on the bike path, go for a walk by the pond, or play a pickup soccer game with your friends. Get out and get active!

Chicken and Squash Tortilla Pizza:untitled

1 whole wheat tortilla
 4oz chicken breast, cubed
 3/4 cup broccoli florets
 1 cup butternut squash, cubed and lightly roasted
 ¼ cup skim milk ricotta cheese
 ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes

Chop 1 cup butternut squash, toss lightly with olive oil, and roast on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees until soft. Take ½ cup and mash it, but keep the other 1/2 cup cubed. While the squash is roasting, saute the chicken breast.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the tortilla on it. Spread the mashed squash onto the tortilla (don’t go too close to the edges!). Top the squash with the chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, and the remaining squash cubes. Top with a few dollops of ricotta and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and tortilla starts to crisp. Cut into slices and enjoy!

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