By Drew Manning, author of Fit2Fat2Fit
Summer…the perfect time to get fit. No seriously, it is! With the right guidance and tools you’ll have more success starting in the summer than any other time, in my opinion. The weather invites everyone to hit the outdoors and become more active, the extra Vitamin D boosts people’s moods and convictions to create a healthier lifestyle. Because it takes around 30 days for habits to start forming it gives you months to prepare and create these habits before all the holidays bombard you with food that will make you feel (and look) like you could double for Santa himself.
Now that we’ve established it’s the perfect time, let me outline five tips that will help you get fit this summer and stay fit, year-round.
- Get Outdoors: Many people dread the gym, so start outdoors! Pick outdoor activities such as a hike, playing tag with your kids, swimming, biking, or rollerblading. Physical activities such as these burn a lot of calories and because they are fun they don’t feel like traditional exercise. It will help build up your endurance and your desire to finally get to the gym!
- Plan Ahead: The key to making a positive lifestyle change is preparation. Get into a routine that seems easy and convenient (and I’m not talking about ordering pizza or going through the drive thru). As I outline in my fitness program, you should know when you’re going to eat and what you’re going to eat. With an outlined food plan, it becomes easier to have healthy food on hand and resist the temptation of fast food! (My wife and I believe in bulk cooking—cooking large portions to have leftovers for several days.)
- Don’t Drink your Calories: It’s common when the weather heats up for people to reach for a soda, juice, or other high-sugar beverage to cool off. The biggest mistake you can make this summer is to drink those unhealthy calories. Studies have shown that those who drink the most sugary beverages, like soda, had a higher risk of obesity and a lower intake of fiber. So instead, focus on zero calorie beverages, preferably water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Strength Train: Aside from outdoor activities, both men and women should integrate strength training into their schedule 2-3 times a week, if possible. Building muscle helps with bone density, burns fat, and increases your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate), which means you can eat more calories and still maintain or lose weight. I’ve found that my clients who integrate strength training have an easier time maintaining their weight, especially during the winter months/holidays.
- Eat Fruits and Veggies: I know I’m not your mom but I’m going to lecture you on this anyway. Eat your greens! The summer months bring wonderful produce, so take advantage. Have some berries as a snack, eat a salad loaded with your favorite veggies instead of a burger. Vegetables (especially your green ones) are loaded with micronutrients to help you stay healthy and give you the energy you need. When my wife and I eat out we ask for vegetables as our side(s)! Skip the fries, chips, and bread and eat those greens!
Challenge yourself to make these small improvements this summer. Challenge yourself to change yourself!
For more easy-to-implement strategies, recipes, exercises, and workout routines order your copy of Fit2Fat2Fit by Drew Manning, now available in paperback.