Summertime is a great opportunity to tone up before all the beach parties, bonfires, and barbeques that mark the hottest season. But too many people think short-term in their weight loss goals and only strive to get bikini-ready at the beginning of the summer. As the summer season wears on, they use all sorts of excuses to abandon their fitness goals and healthier lifestyles, so by the time the leaves start to change (well, as much as they change here in San Diego), they’re right back where they started.
Getting fit and staying fit for the long-term is truly a commitment to a new lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be a bummer. Here are our tips for toning up for summer–and maintaining a healthy physique well past your vacation.
Revamp your diet.
Summer is a great time to scale back on heavy starches, lots of carbs, or fatty meats. Hot days mean that cooking heavy meals for lunch and dinner is pretty miserable so it’s a great excuse to branch out in your diet to try leaner options.
As long as you’re sure to scale back on fatty creamy dressings (hello, oil and balsamic!) you really can never eat too much salad. From fruit salads to salads-as-meals, replace your lunches and at least three dinners per week with big, tasty salads. By augmenting a basic green salad by adding hearty vegetables with tons of flavor, or bits of meat or cheese (use the cheese sparingly!), or even interesting fruit options, you can craft a beautiful filling salad that’s perfect for a picnic or a work lunch.
Drink water. Lots of it.
With the heat, humidity, and other broiling outdoor San Diego activities, staying hydrated is a must. However, by replacing some of your daily cravings with a tall glass of water, you not only hydrate your organs (including your skin), but will also cause your body to turn to burning calories, rather than taking in new ones.
A note of caution: this doesn’t mean you should skip meals or enter into a de facto fast. But many of the cravings you have throughout the day are less about hunger and more about habit. By replacing your desire to snack with a glass of water, you will be hydrating your body and cutting out additional calories.
After getting used to consuming lots of water, your body will start to signal that you’re thirsty more often, so if you’re not used to drinking so much water, your body will help you maintain your thirst well past the summer. If you persist and drink up to 3/4 of a gallon of water throughout the day, after a few weeks you will see results in your waistline.
Mix up your workouts.
Lots of people lose their enthusiasm for fitness and weight loss because they simply get bored with their workouts. Plus, changing your exercise routine will help to tone different muscle sets so every inch of you will look more fit. Since summertime is great for outdoor activities, use the season as an opportunity to check out all the outdoor sports you’ve ever wanted to try. Things like: mountain biking, street cycling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, jogging, swimming, beachfront yoga, rock-climbing, or surfing. As you head into the colder months, shift some of your activities inside if possible (yoga, swimming, or rock-climbing), or use it as an excuse to try new indoor workouts: trampolines, weight-lifting, aerobic dancing, or pilates. However, here in San Diego, we have the opportunity to do many of these outdoor activities year round!
Keep your motivation.
Take the best picture of you from this summer (or a summertime past) and paste it into your refrigerator or your bulletin board. Seeing yourself smiling and fit and happy can provide you with real motivation to keep your healthier lifestyle going into the fall and winter. When you can visibly see what your end goal is–whether it’s to achieve a weight loss or a new dress size, or to maintain the strides you’ve already made–making it real by seeing yourself as you’d like to look, keeps you on track and plants a visual in your mind toward which you can continue to strive.
Your summertime body doesn’t need to vanish at Labor Day. By tweaking your diet, trying new workout activities, and maintaining a steady motivation, your hot bod can carry you all the way through to the summer.