Summertime brings with it a surge of outdoor activities: hiking, biking, swimming, and family trips to the beach. With all of these fun things to do and more free time on our hands, healthy eating and exercise habits may come naturally, without too much planning and preparation.
But, what about when fall breezes back into our lives, complete with NFL and college football games to watch and the return of America's favorite pumpkin spice latte? Indulging in high calorie seasonal snacks combined with busier fall schedules may be all the temptation we need to drop our healthy summer habits and hit the sale racks for a bigger pair of jeans.
So, what can you do to avoid gaining weight and losing muscle in the fall and winter?
CrossFit GSP owner Kenny Santucci tells us, staying fit this fall is as easy as getting organized and phoning a friend.
The secret to keeping summertime svelte as the days get shorter includes getting up a little earlier to plan your day, knowing what and when you're going to eat, and finding an accountability partner to keep you on track with fitness and health goals.
Santucci suggests planning meals and snacks in advance and sticking to low calorie, high fiber, unprocessed foods. He also recommends getting the lay of the land around your office so you can make smart lunch choices. "Make sure you check out local restaurants and grocery stores around your work to find the places that serve healthy options."
Kenny's response to the temptation of the Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte? Ask for half the sugar and only drink half of the beverage.
Awareness and a little organization may make it easier to sidestep the bevy of fattening snacks that beckon this fall season. But, for those of you who find yourselves working longer hours and taking on more responsibility this fall, continuing to maintain summer exercise habits may call for help from a supportive friend
"Find an exercise partner that will hold you accountable. So, if you don't show up to the gym, your friend will call you and let you have it," says Santucci.
Studies have shown that friends tend to gain weight with one another. Conversely, setting fitness goals and hitting the gym with a close friend or family member can help you both slim down.
The CrossFit community is famously tight-knit and dedicated. During our time at CrossFit GSP in New Jersey, CBS News met a newly engaged, extremely muscular schoolteacher who spoke about the challenges of her back-to-school schedule and the joys of working out with her fiancée, a CrossFit coach, and her friends at the gym.
"They keep me coming back when I'm tempted to skip my daily workout," she said.
You don't have to be a hardcore CrossFit devotee to benefit from their philosophy of community fitness. Just find someone with similar health goals and work with each other to stay in alignment with these objectives.
And, when you don't have time to make it to the gym, or you need a quick boost of energy, try a simple two-minute exercise with a weighted medicine ball.
Kenny assured me that just two minutes of squatting to pick up a medicine ball and swinging it overhead would work the entire body, revving the heart rate and strengthening the core, back, arms, and legs.
Naturally, I had to verify these big promises.
The dynamic movement had me sweating and panting within sixty seconds. In two minutes, my arms and legs were jelly.
For those of you with knee injuries, try doing the move without the ball and only squatting down halfway.
A word of caution, when doing this move with the medicine ball at home, you may want to take it outside to avoid noise complaints and damaged property.