Name: Jen Jewell
Occupation: Personal Trainer, Cellucor Athlete, fitness model and fitness writer
I've worked so hard to get in shape for summer—how do I maintain it while still enjoying my summer to the fullest?
You're not alone! A number of my friends and clients share this same concern. But having summer fun and keeping your fitness in check isn't as difficult as you think.
While it's important to focus on fitness, enjoying time with friends and loved ones is what life's all about. You can't miss out on that because you fear straying ever so slightly from your routine.
We all work out, eat healthy and are committed to our fitness goals, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves that saying "yes" to social invites or going out of town is completely normal and won't necessarily wreak havoc on our fitness.
With a bit of planning and preparation, and by implementing the following tips, you can have your most fit, fun summer yet!
MAKE FITNESS FUN
This is seriously my number one rule of fitness. If you don't enjoy your workouts, then you won't stick to them for the long haul ... so let's fix that pronto!
My suggestion? Find activities that you enjoy, grab some friends, and get to it! If you've been cooped up all winter long, summer is a great season to try new activities and get outside for some adventures.
Kick that boring indoor cardio to the curb and hit the pavement (or local track/bleachers, trail, etc.). It doesn't seem like as much work when you do cardio while enjoying the outdoors!
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TO "HAPPY HOUR"
Gorgeous weather and happy hour seem to go hand-in-hand during the summer. Rather than going out for cocktails after work, invite a few friends for a workout happy hour. This was a little trick I implemented years ago when I was on a mission to shed 50 pounds.
This approach helped me (and my friends) reduce our alcohol intake. Fun activities you may consider include hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, a yoga or Spin class, a run on the beach, or one of your favorite outside sports. Tennis, anyone?
OVERCOME YOUR FEAR OF VACATIONS
Nothing eats at your mind more than obsessing about how far you'll set yourself back while on vacation. But holidays don't have to be about swilling sugary tropical drinks or going on booze cruises. A few drinks once each week won't derail your progress, but if you want to keep your six-pack abs poppin' and a hangover at bay, I wouldn't rack up bar tabs multiple nights every week. Adopt the everything-in-moderation mantra.
Not all alcoholic drinks are created equal. Instead of calorie-busting fruit-juice mixers or margarita mixes, ask for club soda as your mixer, and add lemon or lime with your alcohol of choice. If you're not up for a cocktail, grab a light beer or a glass of wine. And no, that doesn't mean you should have more of them!
While I enjoy kicking back on the beach, I also love heading out to explore the area that I'm visiting. Each trip I plan ahead and scout locations which require a bit of a hike to reach. Going for a mountain hike or a stroll through, say, a rain forest will allow you to check out the local sights while working your heart and lungs.
Being prepared and knowing what kinds of foods are available at a hotel also can be a huge help. If you know options are limited, pack a to-go bag.
I always travel with non-perishable food items. Taking oats, protein powder, protein bars, and almonds means I'll always have these types of healthy options at my disposal. These items don't replace all of my meals when I'm away, but most of them sure beat the heck out of whatever I'd find at a convenience store or hotel minibar. By having healthy eats on hand, you're less likely to splurge every meal of the day.
TAKE IT TO THE BBQ
One of the easiest social invites to navigate healthfully is the barbecue. Food will be cooked right in front of you, which gives you more of a say in what you eat and how it's prepared. You can even bring a few lean protein options to throw on the grill for some healthy eats.
It's typically the side dishes that are cause for concern here. Why not offer to whip up a dish or two of your favorite healthy side options and bring it along?
Remember it all comes down to enjoying your summer events in moderation. It's worth repeating: The more balanced you are in your approach to fitness and healthy eating year-round, the more realistic it is to sustain the results you've worked so hard to achieve.