Spring is starting to wind down, the sun is hanging higher and brighter than ever, and the mercury is on the rise. You know what that means: Summer is moving in to stay. It’s the best time of the year to stay outside, but between working hard and playing harder, you’d better believe that you’re going to sweat a little. Why not make all that sweat pay off by getting into summer exercise habits that you can keep practicing even after summer’s over.
Stay Hydrated: This is hands down the most important tip to staying in shape, not just during summer months, but all the time. Hydration brings with it a truckload of health benefits, from improving your complexion to reducing muscle fatigue and improving your stamina. Getting plenty of water will keep you clean and healthy inside as well as outside. Consider picking up a large reusable bottle, because you’ll be filling it up often: 32oz to 40oz is recommended for your daily water intake, and if you’re sweating a lot from the heat or working out, you’ll want more.
Mix It Up: If you’re just getting started on a workout routine for the summer, be smart about it. You might see guys in the gym moving iron for extended periods, but that’s only because they’ve graduated up to that. The key to getting fit is going hard and fast to mix your routine up: lots of at-home fitness program DVDs work on the concept of muscle confusion, and you can reproduce that in the gym pretty easily. Try this simple starter program for freeweights:
- 10 minutes of cardio (treadmill, bike, etc.)
- Bicep curls for 1 minute
- Chest presses for 1 minute
- Right lunges for 1 minute
- Cardio for 2 minutes
- Front raises for 1 minute
- Side raises for 1 minute
- Left lunges for 1 minute
- Cardio for 2 minutes
- Triceps for 1 minute
- Right side crunches for 1 minute
- Left side crunches for 1 minute
- Push-ups for 1 minute
This simple program crams ten minutes of cardio and fifteen minutes of good muscle-building into a short workout. If you start this program and it starts to feel like you need to do more after a few weeks, just increase your intervals little by little—the benefits will scale with the time you invest in your workout.
Eat Healthy, Light, And Often: Instead of cramming three big meals into your day, plan on eating smaller portions of healthy snacks and foods throughout the day to keep your metabolism burning. For three squares a day, oatmeal and fat-free milk make a great breakfast. Lunch can be lean meat and veggies with some grain for good measure. Plan on lean white meat and more veggies for dinner. Plan on having some fruit or a protein bar between these meals, and find some veggie sticks you like for dessert.