How to Avoid the “Summer Slack-Off”
When you’re a kid, summer is synonymous with taking a break. But one thing that never takes a break is staying active. Whether you chase your kids in the backyard, go for a swim in the neighborhood pool or enjoy a workout in an air-conditioned gym, there are plenty of ways to stay fit in the hotter months. Yes, even if you go on vacation.
Below are a few of Anna Victoria’s best tips for staying on track this summer and sticking with your health and fitness goals.
1. Have a plan, but be realistic.
The saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is especially true during summer when schedules and plans change. Don’t let the change in your work, travel or school schedule throw you for a loop; make a plan!
But create a routine that accommodates the new schedule realistically. That may mean fewer gym sessions and supplementing with outdoor summer activities (see below for more!).
“If you know you can't fit in your normal five workout sessions a week, but you can fit in two, then fit in two!” Anna says. “Those two sessions will go a long way in maintaining your strength and endurance while you're away.”
2. Find fun ways to stay active.
No gym? No problem? If you normally have access to a range of dumbbells, gym machines and other workout equipment, you can still get a great workout when you’re away from home. Throw some resistance bands in your suitcase or find body-weight alternatives to your favorite strength-training moves.
Even better? Take advantage of the warmer weather and the variety of outdoor activities available to you, especially if you’re visiting somewhere new!
“Switch your workouts for another physical activity,” Anna says. “Maybe you'll be hiking or swimming — even sightseeing counts!"
Other great options include kayaking, paddleboarding, rock climbing, biking, snorkeling, surfing or running on the beach.
3. Remember to prioritize protein.
Summer means plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of frozen treats, but don’t forget to keep up on your protein.
“Continue to prioritize protein intake,” Anna says. “Even if you won't be able to get in all your strength sessions as usual, staying up on your protein will help preserve all the muscle you've worked so hard for!”
Take advantage of grilling season by throwing some chicken or fish on the BBQ or add a scoop of protein powder to your favorite summer smoothie. You might even get to try a new form of protein, depending on where you’re traveling.
4. Eat for fun AND fuel.
Tons of summer activities and vacationing to new locales include foods you might not normally eat — and that’s totally fine! You should feel free to enjoy them without guilt. One way to help is reframing how you define “healthy eating.”
“Shift your 80/20 focus closer to 50/50,” Anna says. “This will help you plan for extra indulgences without going to 0/100 and forgetting everything you know about fueling your body.”
Yes, consuming enough lean protein, fresh produce and complex carbs is important, but so is dipping straight-from-the-fryer french fries in a cold milkshake and savoring your mom’s once-a-year, homemade apple pie.
“Remember, it's not worth missing out on 95% of your life just to weigh 5% less,” Anna says.
5. Go easy on yourself.
There’s so much to do and experience while you’re vacationing (or staycationing), so “it's ok to take a break [from your regular workouts],” Anna says. “While that doesn't mean you should undo everything you've been working so hard for, taking it easy can actually benefit your journey in the long run.”
In the same way your muscles benefit from time off, your mind does, too.
“Just knowing that a break can be beneficial can go a long way in preventing guilt from (unnecessarily) creeping in, and make it that much easier to get back to your regular routine when your travels are over.”
That also goes back to having a plan. If your plan is to take a break from your regular workouts on vacation, do it! Don’t tell yourself you’re going to exercise every day, then feel bad about yourself when you don’t.
Take full advantage of the summer, so you’ll be relaxed and refreshed for fall!