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Planning for Summer: How to Stay Healthy, Fit, and Active During the Summer Season

By Erin McPherson, Assistant General Manager at Inner Element Fitness, B.S. Exercise Sports Science

Although many people think holidays are times of overindulging, summer has its own weight gain pitfalls. We eat out more, travel and forget about workout routines, or go to amusement parks and grab an ice cream or soda to cool off on the way to the next ride. Parents adapt schedules so the children have a fun summer, and spend more time sitting in cars and bleachers.

Some clients at Inner Element Fitness come in at the end of the summer with a few extra pounds or, even worse, don’t come back at all. But it does not have to be that way. Here are my tips for staying healthy, fit and active during the summer and beyond!

What Are the Best Ways to Stay Healthy During the Summer?

Plan ahead! Get a handle on everyone’s activity schedule, and mark down family vacation days. Then get out the gym schedule and fill in your workout times for days when you are home. You might have to train earlier or later than usual, on different days, or with a different trainer. You may have to cut back a little, but if the schedule is right in front of you, you are more likely to stick to it.

Look for activity opportunities whenever possible on vacation. Many hotels, resorts and cruise ships have a workout room, and most have water aerobics or exercise classes. If you usually have four or five workout sessions per week, try to fit in at least two when you are away. Think about other ways of getting exercise. Take a run on the beach, do laps in the pool, use stairs instead of elevators, and walk as much as possible. Don’t spoil your family’s fun by isolating yourself and exercising, but get them to join you in activities everyone will enjoy.

What Are Unhealthy Pitfalls to Avoid During the Summer Season?

Without an action plan in mind, you might get to the end of August and realize you have not been to the gym all summer. While it is important to take advantage of family time, it is also important to take care of yourself. A big summer pitfall is losing our nutrition focus. The kids are home, so it is easier to just eat what they eat or to finish their mac and cheese instead of following a nutrition plan. Time with family and friends often means unhealthy food choices. And those all-you-can-eat buffets can kill the best of intentions.

Sit down whenever you eat and think about what you are putting into your body. If you are home, plan menus for the coming week so you do not get completely derailed from your nutrition routine. Take smaller portions, drink more water and less alcohol, and avoid the sugared beverages that just provide empty calories.

How do you Balance Summer Relaxation with Staying Fit?

Most people feel like vacation is their relaxation opportunity, but staying fit can be relaxing, too. Keep a solid balance with movement and fitness, and counter missed workouts by paying more attention to nutrition. Be someone who is fun to be around, and that will do more for your mental well-being than fretting over a few missed workouts.

Are There Quick Exercises to Bridge the Gap from Missed Workout Time?

Do some exercise research before you leave to find cardio, resistance, body weight and multiple muscle group exercises you can do without any equipment. Move instead of sitting – even if you simply take a brisk walk or jog to get your heart rate pumping quickly. There are some apps that have quick body weight workouts but be careful if you do something unfamiliar because you don’t have a coach or trainer there to make sure you perform the movements properly.

What About Fitness After the Summer?

Another de-motivator is when you set a goal for the summer and don’t achieve it. You did not hit your exercise goals, wanted to lose twenty pounds and only lost ten, or you gained weight. Once fall hits, school starts again, and a lot of eating activities come up from Halloween through New Year’s Eve. You might feel you lost the opportunity to get in shape and decide to just put it off until next summer.

Get your mental game in gear by getting back on the fitness horse, but don’t expect to start where you left off. Set realistic goals that are achievable. Start with two workouts during the week and work your way back up again. Get an accountability partner such as a friend, trainer or nutrition coach who will give your support and guidance. It is okay to admit you need some help to get back on track, but it is not okay to put off getting back on track. Embrace the positives of what you achieved and be excited about the process of accomplishing things again.

Planning a vacation? Ask me for help on how you can stay fit over your vacation or summer schedule.

Ready to get on track? Ask me for help defining realistic fitness and/or nutrition goals and designing the plans to achieve them.

DISCLAIMER Please recognize the fact that it is your responsibility to work directly with your physician before, during, and after seeking fitness consultation. As such, any information provided is not to be followed without the prior approval of your physician. If you choose to use this information without the prior consent of your physician, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for your decision. 

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