Holy hotness, we are in the peak of summer!
Knowing that the morning temps are steamy makes a girl think twice about lacing up her sneakers to go for a run, let alone much else. Besides it being HOT HOT HOT, it’s also the season for vacations, weekends filled with parties & pool days, and evenings spent outside with cocktails and the grill. We are talking full swing, relaxation and celebration - am I right?
Summer is undoubtedly a season that (almost) everyone craves, especially if you live in an area of the country where the winters are harsh, the sun hibernates, and spring is unpredictable. But along with summer comes distraction, which can often reek havoc on personal health goals.
A break in routine is inevitable, which means most people find themselves struggling to balance all that summer offers with their desire to maintain healthy habits. For those who are trying to fit in a fitness regimen, the hot months can make thinking about working out a little daunting. My clients regularly confess that the trips and the parties alone create anxiety when they are trying to stay on track with their nutrition & fitness goals – most often rather than find balance, they overindulge and then feel tremendous guilt afterwards.
I’m here to tell you, you can do both. Yes, summer should be celebrated and a few rules ought to be broken – but it isn’t an excuse to derail the progress you started in the previous months. Health isn’t a seasonal thing, it’s a yearlong – lifetime – thing. It starts with setting your intentions, but it should be something that is sustainable, realistic, and works with your lifestyle. So, while you may have worked your booty off so you could slay in your bikini this summer, let's discuss how you can continue (or start) to rewrite you health story even in the summertime.
Here are 5 tips for maintaining your health during the summer months:
Try something new. The summer season is definitely a time of year that gets people outdoors more (unless of course you live in Vegas), especially if where you live has some pretty nasty winters. There’s no shortage of pool parties, trips to the beach and other activities under the sun, so why not take your fitness outdoors too? Instead of hitting the gym after work, hit the streets with a walk or run or head to the park for a workout. If it’s too hot, maybe go for a swim? It’s also a great time of year to try new things that work your body, like trail running, outdoor yoga (preferably at a beer garden), or a team sport. If you are taking a trip, do some exploring. Hit the trails, run along the beach or give stand-up paddle boarding a try. Trying something new and getting out into the fresh air shifts our perspective around exercise and movement - because it doesn’t necessarily “feel” like exercise.
Stay hydrated - In most areas of the country the summer months mean a serious increase in heat and humidity. We tend to be outdoors more - vacationing, sitting by the pool, cutting grass – so we also move more as a result. Water is so important for your health, especially during this time of year. If you want to make sure that when you do workout your body is primed for action, be sure to monitor your fluid intake - especially if you are spending a lot of time outside. Dehydration can happen fast during the summer, especially if you aren’t paying attention, so be mindful and drink when you are thirsty. Water has many healing properties; it cleanses the body and aids in weight loss as well as helps with energy & digestion.
Seek motivation - Motivation to workout during the summer months can sometimes be tricky for people. Distracted by the aforementioned - it’s easy to get caught up in the ease and lightness the season brings, and to put health on the back burner. That’s why it is so important to find ways to keep yourself motivated - because while it can sometimes be a challenge, it is absolutely possible. If you are a book reader or a podcast listener, these are great tools to keep you motivated, as well as things you can actually do while working out or cooking. Throw on a podcast, stick your headphones on and get to work! Some people find motivation by following certain public figures or getting involved with a group for additional inspiration and accountability. If you have a friend with similar goals or someone you enjoy spending time with, buddy up with them for accountability and motivation.
Break a few rules - Eat indulgent food and give yourself permission to drink alcohol - without criticizing yourself later. The key here is to set personal boundaries and stick to them. Decide what you believe to be reasonable, and what rules are truly worth breaking to you. Then, if/when you break them – let it go and move on. Some people could care less about dessert but really want a few extra glasses of wine; on the flip side, some people would rather indulge in all the summer treats and skip the beverages. Figure out what works for you and don’t feel guilty for something you’ve given yourself permission to indulge in. And, if you overdue it – learn from it and try to take that into account the next time around.
Seasonal foods: Every season brings new, fresh foods that can be found at the farmers markets or in grocery stores. Eating seasonally is not only less expensive, but it provides better nutrition too. The food is harvested at the peak of its season and typically sold before it spoils which usually means that your vegetables and fruits have less chance of losing their health benefits and their flavor. If you are fortunate enough to live near a farmers market or co-op, you have an even better chance of getting fresh, seasonal foods because they don’t have to travel as far to get to you. Check this site to see what your own community offers. As an aside, it’s always tempting in the summer to eat a lot of fruit because so much of it is in season - but pay attention to your fruit intake due to their high fructose content. Excess sugar gets turned into triglycerides that get stored in the fat cells, which can lead to a buildup of that visceral belly fat. My tip? Whenever we eat fruit I always make sure it is combined with a protein or fat to balance out the sugars – a perfect combo!
What’s your state of mind this summer?