EDGE Magazine: Proactive Summer

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You worked hard for that summer body and now it is time to enjoy your vacation.  You’ll be busy at the beach, hiking the woods, backpacking Europe or staying at home relaxing and won’t want to spend all your time at the gym.  So how do you stop that summer body from slipping backwards into winter body mode again?  Pay attention because here are some simple truths about staying fit that you can actually apply year-round but that you’ll find particularly helpful this swimsuit season.

1)      If You’re Already Fit You Can Take a Breather.  I’m not saying you can stop working out altogether – but you CAN dial it back a little.  You got there.  Your waistline is tiny, your muscles are toned and (presumably) you aren’t interested in bulking up like a body builder.  So you have earned the right to not train seven days a week and to not spend two hours on your workouts when you do train.  Unless you’re an athlete preparing for an event, you can switch to three or four days a week and cut back to an hour a day. 

2)      Maintain Through Caloric Intake.  Many go on a summertime food plan.  Meals consist of salads, fresh fruit, lean protein, gallon jugs of water.  There is no reason at all to be unhappy with this diet (frankly, year round).  It can, though, be difficult to stick to a summertime healthy diet when attending barbecues and cookouts with other summertime foods like potato salad, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pasta salad, deviled eggs and every single chip and dip in the book (please note that most of these foods involve mayonnaise in some way, OMG no).  Then there is the matter of cakes, brownies, cupcakes, pies and ice cream, all of which are served at every picnic, pool party, Fourth of July blow out and birthday bash.  Beware of the frosted drinks – they are loaded with sugar.  Eat healthy meals before going to the party, pick one or two things to eat at the party (that your host made, not that someone else brought) and make sure your host sees you eating their cooking.  And, at home, stay on your personal food plan.  It will keep you healthy and your waistline trim.

3)      Party With Purpose.  It’s no secret that alcohol is filled with empty calories.  The ingredients in various drinks you will consume at parties range from grain to sugar , from potato to corn.  If you are a health enthusiast you probably wouldn’t eat some of the things from which alcoholic beverages are made; so why put them in your body with the added ingredient of alcohol?  Because summertime is for socializing and socializing centers around drinking.  So choose which parties and events you really want to go to, nurse those drinks and hydrate.  Not only will you avoid a lot of unwanted calories (and waking up bloated, with no abs) you will be able to remember what a great time you had with your friends the night before.

4)      Employ Shock Value.  When you train year round your body becomes accustomed to the workout.  When the workout changes, the climate changes.  The body gets a little shock to the system and has to wake up to do this new work, with which it is unfamiliar.  So pick a new routine.  Instead of spending the summer weight lifting, change to body weight training.  Instead of doing the cardio training you do the other eight months of the year, try interval training (By the way, I recommend 25 minutes on the cardio machine of your choice: 5 minute warm up, 90 seconds of moderate speed, 30 seconds of balls to the wall speed – keep this going for 20 minutes and cool down.  It’ll keep the adipose tissue off).  Instead of training in a gym, run on the beach, mountain bike, play sports, chase your dog, your kids, your husband.  Just make a change.  Emotionally, it’ll feel like you’re having fun.  Physically, it’ll feel like you’re working out.

5)      Birds of a Feather.  Studies have shown that, by hanging out with other people who share your interest in health and fitness, you are less likely to be exposed to all the fatty foods and drinks that become a risk for you in the summer.  The people with whom you are chillin’ will most likely not serve these foods, not order them in restaurants and will inspire you to not indulge in the calories when you are with them.  I’m not saying you need to restrict your acquaintances in a superficial way based on their looks; I’m just telling you that this is a technique applied by some that seems to work for them.

6)      Catch Some Z’s.  It’s summer.  Rest.  If you are well rested, you are starting ahead of the curve.  Don’t party so much that you are losing sleep.  Make sure that you are caring for your body in this most important way and you will have less overall work to do, health and fitness wise.  After a night, a week, a month of solid sleeping, you and your body can conquer the world.

Now, what are you waiting for?  Spring is on the way out and Summer is right around the corner.  Go get started on your base tan!  Use sunscreen!  And don’t fall asleep lying in the sun with your phone on your naked belly.  Trust me on that one.

Have fun!

Top! Copyright © Stephen Mosher