Note: This was a guest post on A King's Castle, a great blog for…
The 12 Month Cycle And How It Affects YOUR Fitness Life
Certain months of the year are FAR superior to others in terms of fitness progress. I’m sure you have a rough idea of which ones are worse than others generally speaking, but I will talk about each month today, and how some months are terrible for losing weight, but some can be fantastic for bulking.
Most of you are looking to lose weight, so pay attention to this. But keep in mind that in the future that if your goals change and you’re successful with your weight loss, your current nightmare months may become your best friends.
This is also very useful knowledge when it comes to setting your goals with realistic timelines, time management and planning your year in general. Very useful stuff that I’ve not yet talked about.
I’m also making the assumption that you live either in Europe, the States or Canada. It will be different for Australia and New Zealand, for example.
Here we go.
January is a great time for fitness in general. The Christmas holidays are over, everyone is in work mode and it tends to be a bit of a dry month in terms of fun, partying and drinking. Therefore, people tend to default into fitness mode. It’s great – I love it, and I’ve continued to make some great gains this January just gone.
The problem of course is that many people fail to keep it going, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Generally speaking though, January is a great time to get your fitness goals accomplished due to so few distractions. Fantastic for both fat loss and muscle gain.
February tends to be much of the same. Something interesting about February though, is that I was speaking to the owner of the gym that I’m a member of a few weeks ago, and he said that sales are actually higher in February than January. Interesting.
He reckons it’s because people are so obsessed with cutting back spending in January as they spend money they don’t have at Christmas (sign of a declining economy when everyone does this), and would rather hit the gym in February.
February therefore, may actually be even better than January for beginners. I think it’s irrelevant for guys who have been going to the gym for a while, but if you’re a newbie who has severe budget constraints, you may end up making more gains in February purely because you have the financial capacity to do so.
Overall, I would say February is the same for fat loss, but potentially even better for muscle gain for the population as a whole.
March tends to be where everyone starts falling off the bandwagon with their fat loss goals. It’s still a great time of year in general with little distractions or holidays (Easter isn’t exactly a party-fest in the UK at least, maybe Spring break is different in the States?)
It’s still a great time of year for muscle gain, generally speaking, but goals end up being forgotten about, “real life” starts kicking in, and people with excessive levels of boredom or stress start over-eating once again.
Another thing (slight side tangent) I’ve noticed on lifestyle is that if you have a typical corporate office job, it’s THAT much harder to keep control over your diet. I’m amazed at how I managed to get so lean over summer 2016 when I was at a full-time corporate job. Very impressed with myself. But re-visiting that lifestyle recently (and temporarily) gave me another reminder of just how hard it is when you’re bored out of your brains not to eat food.
The fact that I’ve had complete control over my own schedule since September 2016 has been a major factor in maintaining a lean state. It prevents boredom eating (more or less) and my stress levels have been lower too. I have been stressed at times, sure, but it’s not like the externally inflicted stress from a boss or bad traffic. It’s more like stress from putting a little too much pressure on myself at times. For some reason the latter doesn’t cause over-eating, whereas the former does.
Anyway, March is great if you’re already committed to fitness, but many people start to fail here.
April is where the shit really starts to hit the fan for 97% of people who set their arbitrary, poorly planned fitness goals back in January. A lot of people go away for short breaks in April in the UK, which provide the perfect excuses to eat a load of food. It’s a romantic getaway, so we can get fat right?
The weather also starts to brighten up somewhat, and people tend to come out of their closets and build up more of a social life (read: drinking life). Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and BOOM, I’ve been working so hard at work so I deserve a Friday night weekly takeaway, right?
April is a danger month – watch out.
The weather is getting better, but people aren’t usually on their summer holidays yet. Therefore it can still be a good month for making progress. In fact, a lot of people are preparing for the beach season. The smart ones anyway. Loads of people will leave it until June/July and by then it’s too late.
In May a lot of people will beign to start dieting. It can be a motivating month if your friends and work colleagues are on their “Beach Body Super Extreme XOX Fat Loss Extreme P90X Hardcore 30 Day X Badass” diets.
It brings a communal (but often fruitless) attempt at being “healthy”, and for this reason alone can be a good time to lose weight. In terms of bulking, it can often be a tricky month with all the summer thoughts, distractions and desires to look super sexy on the beach for the ladies, especially if you have multiple beach holidays booked.
Same as May.
People are actually beginning to go on their holidays. This means fat gain and muscle loss. The worst of everything. At least with Christmas people can actually gain a lot of muscle if they put the time and volume in in the gym. When you’re drunk day and night for multiple weeks, it’s difficult to maintain anything.
Same as July. Plus there’s often a lot of days trips, summer barbecues etc. which obviously have, you guessed it, alcohol and ice cream. Wohoooooo! Plan this stuff out in advance guys and it’s not a problem. Schedule it into your damn calendar and you can work around it. I will do a detailed post on time management and fitness preparation soon.
By September, people are back to work and their fitness progression tends to pick up again. Having said this it tends to be un-doing the bloated mess they created over the past couple of months. So it’s not really progression. Haha. People do make me laugh 🙂
Same as September, so it’s a good month all round, especially if you’re bulking going into the winter. Cold weather and hibernation tendencies are great for gaining weight slowly, and eating loads of food is always fun.
However the weather starts getting quite cold in October, and the clocks change, and the days are shorter. All of this leads to people’s moods being slightly lower due to less sunshine and vitamin D3 and more darkness. And we all know what happens then…emotional eating. People also start looking to form nicey-nicey cosy winter relationships this time of year, I mean no one wants to be lonely for Christmas, right? Or God forbid Valentines Day (!!!) No no no we can’t have that.
It’s no coincidence that people also start soothing their lonely emotions with food during this month.
October can be a dangerous month due to the switch away from brightness towards darkness.
Same as October, but hopefully people aren’t as depressed as they’ve adjusted a little and are making sure they’re on track with their diet and training as they’re aware of Chistmas fast approaching.
Christmas time – great for bulking, awful for dieting. Literally, it’s probably even worse than the sumer holidays for dieting – don’t even bother thinking about it. Turkeys, roasties and cake staring at you wherever you turn, family pressurising you to scoff chocolates all day…honestly, just hit it hard in January as it’s time and energy better spent.
With all the months, planning ahead and Intermittent Fasting will allow you to be more flexible and have more success at any give month of the year, but some months are objectively better than others, obviously.
To be 100% clear, you can gain muscle or lose fat, or make any kind of fitness progression during any month of the year. But being aware of the challenges with certain months will allow you do so with more ease, less stress, and can help you plan your annual goals better.
If you enjoyed this article and are motivated to lose weight, feel free to check out my coaching services here. Thanks, I appreciate it.