It's a difficult choice: drinks or a BBQ in the sun with friends, or a hot, sweaty workout....you can probably guess which one most people will choose. However, if you've spent several months working hard to get in shape for summer, don't ruin it all by bingeing on ice cream and neglecting your fitness.
It’s very easy to tell yourself that you’ve earned it, after all what are the holidays and summer for? Don’t waste all of that hard work! We’ve put together these quick five tips to help you stay in shape and not fall off the wagon this summer:
1. Make the most of your surroundings (and don't make excuses)
When it’s warm and sunny, it’s easy to skip exercise in favour of lying in the sun or heading to the nearest bar with an outdoor terrace. You can still do all those things, but you can also easily work some exercise into your day. The warmer, sunnier weather also calls for getting outside too, and keeping active will help to maintain your fitness:
- Go swimming – you can cool off and get a great all-over workout. Outdoor swimming has many health benefits, such as relieving stress and boosting your circulation
- Walk or cycle to meet friends instead of driving or taking public transport – you’ll burn fat and save money
- Sign up for a summer bootcamp or try a Park Run – group exercise is way more fun. (And time passes much faster when you’re having fun)
- Find a friend to go for a jog with and mix it up with some sprints for interval training (with some sun breaks in between, of course)
Note - If you’re a daily gym goer, then don’t stress if you don’t make it to the gym for a week. A break from the gym can be a good thing. Your body needs to rest sometimes, and a short break from the normal routines can actually result in better results longer term. You might feel much better going for a long walk instead of your usual regime. Just remember to get back to it after your break…
2. Allow yourself a treat day (or two)
A healthy eating and exercise regime is far easier to stick to if there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. You can still have an ice cream or that cold beer, but just not every single day.
Set out some days of the week that will be your ‘healthy’ days and try and stick to them, and enjoy yourself on the other days. Having these cheat days help satisfy cravings and generally make you feel a lot more satisfied.
Summer tends to be when a lot of big social events, like weddings, happen. When there’s loads of food and the alcohol is flowing, it’s very easy to lose track of just how much you’ve had. Have a healthy snack before the big event, or take something with you so that you’re not too hungry by the time you eat and don’t eat every canapé in sight. Always have some water with you too; you’d be amazed how often feelings of hunger can be washed away with water.
If you’re inundated with social occasions and you drink, try and have a clear spirit, like vodka, and a low calorie mixer rather than cider or a glass of wine. You’ll save calories and sugar, and your hangover might be a little less painful. See a list of healthier restaurant options that are NOT salad here.
If you find you’re eating out a lot, try and make some healthier choices, like opting for salad with your burger rather than bread or a lighter option like fish. And try not to eat the whole contents of the bread basket.
4. Mix your workouts up
We know too well the struggles of sticking to a workout plan; boredom often kicks in. If your usual run is losing its appeal, then turn to the internet. Sites like YouTube are full of different workouts which, best of all, come for free. Workout tutorials and online plans make fitness a bit different, and if there’s a particular part of your body that you want to work on then you’re guaranteed to find some great help online. The nice thing about these is that if you have an internet or data connection you can access these anywhere, even on holiday…
You can also try something new, so if you normally run then try switching to swimming one or two times a week or, if you have a willing friend, try playing tennis instead.
5. Plan ahead
This rule is a year-round one. If you really want to stay in shape and maintain your fitness, then you need to make a plan. This could mean setting out which days you will exercise or planning your meals on your non treat days. You’re more likely to stay on track and stay in shape .
It also helps to keep focused, so if you’ve decided you’re going to do some exercise then go straight after work rather than heading home and sitting on the sofa first. Trust us, it’s a lot harder to motivate yourself once you’ve gotten comfortable…
It’s always easier to stay fit when you find a form of exercise that you enjoy. That’s why Activetainment has developed the ebove concept; we saw a gap in the market for exercise equipment that is both effective but fun and engaging to use. Read more about our indoor VR bike that combines exercise and gaming here.