How To Stay Motivated To Your Workouts In The Summer

It’s too beautiful outside. You’d rather meet friends on the patio. No matter your excuse to not work out, we’ll show you how to stay motivated in the summer.

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staying motivated in the summer, a woman on a beach in workout gear
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Stay motivated in the summer

Keeping up with workouts is hard. Keeping up with workouts in the summer is beyond hard – it is a test of how truly dedicated you are to your fitness. Taking off a week here or there is NBD (think: week-long vacations or winter holidays). But two to three months of not working out, and getting back into it can be tough to stay motivated in the summer.

It’s actually a lot easier to just stay on track, be creative with your workouts, and smash your excuses. Thankfully, Maureen Hagan, vice president of Program Innovation and Fitness Development for canfitpro, the body that certifies trainers in Canada and runs the World Fitness Expo, is here to help turn your excuses into motivation.

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staying motivated in summer, a woman runs along a boardwalk
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“Summer is when I go to the cottage and spend time with my family.”

The fitness expert says: “While summertime may be busier, with vacation and family time outings, it really comes down to ‘What’s Important Now,’ says Hagan, breaking that last part down into the WIN acronym. To help clients stay motivated in the summer, “I always encourage people to begin with the end in mind when setting any goal and to ask the WIN question.” She says that if exercising every day of the week is important, for all the benefits it brings, then it is almost guaranteed that people will make daily exercise a priority in their calendar – whether you’re on vacation or not. From there you can tweak your fitness schedule. That might mean doing an early morning run before the kids are out of bed, doing a shorter workout like HIIT, or choosing family time that is all about being active. Some people, Hagan suggests, will even plan their holidays to be fit vacations, like eco-adventures. To “squeeze in a workout,” she recommends checking out the The Top 10 most Effective Fitness Trends to Try in 2017.

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staying motivated in summer energy, woman in workout gear looking exhausted
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“When it’s this hot, my energy levels drop.”

The fitness expert says: Here is Hagan’s three-step strategy to handling the tired, dog days of summer:

1. “Ease into your new activity especially, if you are exercising outdoors, in the sun and during the warmer time of the day [when the sun is out]. Start with shorter, less frequent training sessions and gradually build up to a full training regime. This usually takes only a couple of weeks however that will depend on your present fitness and the goals that you have for outdoor exercise.

2. “Hydrate before, during and after your workouts.  Watch for symptoms of over-heating and dehydration, which include energy crashes. Headaches, muscle cramping, lack of body sweating are signs of dehydration, just to name a few. Keep extra fluids and healthy snacks on hand such as a piece of fruit or protein/energy bar when needed.

3.  “Exercise earlier in the day when you energy is at its highest and when the air or room temperatures are at their coolest. Not only will this help you have the most energy to exercise but exercising early in the morning will give your more energy throughout the day.”

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staying motivated in summer temperature, a woman outside doing stretches
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“The heat is so demotivating.”

The fitness expert says: To stay motivated in the summer with your fitness, Hagan suggests finding inspiration in your workout environment and bring your workout outside. But it’s not for everyone. “While there are unlimited physical, mental and emotional benefits to working out in the heat, especially outdoors,” says Hagan, “find a gym, studio or place indoors that has great air conditioning and good air circulation. Gyms and studios can provide you with everything you need to exercise while beating the heat. Exercising indoors, within air-conditioning is especially good and highly recommended for anyone who has any health issues such as asthma, high blood pressure or type-2 diabetes.”

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staying motivated in summer, woman doing jump rope
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“In the summer, I become weekend warrior, playing soccer and baseball. That is where I get fit in the summer.”

The fitness expert says: “Although playing in a sports league or being a weekend warrior will keep you active and fit, nothing replaces a regular workout in the gym,” says Hagan, about using sports to stay motivated in the summer. “Fitness professionals will recommend to all that you need to get into the gym, or continue with your regular strength training routine at least two times a week, to remain strong and injury free. But that’s not the only reason!  It is important to keep engaged in a regular fitness routine at least one to two times a week so that you do not lose the habit of working out.  This will make returning to the gym and back into your fitness routine easier, come fall.”

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staying motivated in summer, woman doing triceps dips on a tree stump
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“The summer class schedule just doesn’t work for me.”

The fitness expert says: Stop allowing something out of your control take control. Instead, “take the opportunity to change up your summer fitness schedule to accommodate the changes in schedules around you,” says Hagan. “You might just find out something that you didn’t know about yourself when you are open to trying new things.” Outdoor boot camps and personal training are very popular this time of year, so you will have more options to stay motivated in the summer.

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staying motivated in summer outdoor workout, woman doing squats in the park
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“I refuse to work out in air conditioning.”

The fitness expert says: So take your sneaks and go outside. Air conditioning or not, you have to make sure that your workouts include the following four points on this checklist, according to Hagan.

1. Make sure you are doing body-weight moves, like squats, lunges, push-ups (both wide for chest and narrow for arms), a plank or hover and hip bridges. “These are the primal strength moves that can easily be incorporated into an outdoor power walk or run in a interval-style routine. You can do this style of cardio and strength training virtually anywhere — a park, the playground, your back yard. You only need some stairs or a hill, a park bench, a trail or path and a flat surface, such as grass.”

2. “Increasing the number of repetitions and sets to make up for the resistance you are missing if you are not using weights or gym equipment. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise and hold your plank/hover for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat two to four times.

3. “Mix up your intensity levels to ensure you are still challenging yourself by ‘cross-training.’ Find a space to train where there is a set of stairs or a hill that you can incorporate into your workout. Changing your environment will help you stay motivated in the summer.

4. “Incorporate some dumbbells or a resistance tube in your outdoor workout. These are examples of small equipment that is inexpensive and easy to pack. Watch strength based, body-weight training workout online to guide you through some examples of body-weight training and create your own workouts.”

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staying motivated in summer, a woman with abs
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“Summer means lean, barbecued meats and lots of salads. It’s not as important to exercise in the summer.”

The fitness expert says: “Stay as active as you would during any other time of the year,” says Hagan. “In fact, summer is the best time to ramp up your physical activity.”And do not use a “clean summer diet” as an excuse. Why? Hagan says summer foods have sneaky calories that do add up, such as patio drinks, sauces, dips, condiments, larger meat portions and more.

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staying motivated in summer with friends, a woman getting ready for a fit date
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“But the patio is calling. And friends who we normally work out with just want to chill.”

The fitness expert says: It is so simple to quash this excuse to stay motivated in the summer. Use the patio as a reward for a fit date with friends, says Hagan. And if you get “shamed” about your workouts, brush it off and remind yourself how important staying fit is to you. True friends will always be there – at the gym with you or to meet up with you after.

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staying motivated summer, woman doing high knee runs at the park
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“I’m swimming in a backyard pool, and that’s pretty much the same as a workout.”

The fitness expert says: There is no doubt that swimming is a great workout. “It takes place in a non-impact environment with resistance all around to contribute to heart fitness and overall muscle strength,” says Hagan. But to up the intensity of your pool workout comparable to a land-based workout, Hagan offers these tips: “Submerge your body under water to chest level. You must keep your arms and legs moving for 10 minutes bouts at a time by pushing and pulling the water vigorously, creating water turbulence. Once you are breathing heavy, that will be an indicator that your heart rate is elevated and you are working hard enough. It is difficult to notice whether or not you are sweating in water, and while your heart rate may be lower, that is typically a normal property of training in the water. Swimming laps, performing water based fitness workouts, or playing a water-based sport, like water polo, are all fabulous ways to train in the water.

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staying motivated in summer, woman looking proud in her workout wear
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“My workout schedule just got eaten up by working longer days to have summer Fridays.”

The fitness expert says: It’s all about priorities, says Hagan, to stay motivated in the summer. “If you know that you have to work longer hours, then change your workout time to accommodate your new work schedule. Block your lunch hour as ‘out of office’ and go to the gym or outdoors for a yoga workout or a run. Take advantage of early mornings and longer day time hours to fit your workout in before work or later in the evening. Both early mornings and evenings are beneficial times of the day to exercise to amp up energy or de-stress from a long day. Make no excuses. To manage your time, you must begin by managing your priorities.  Begin with the end in mind. Then decide what, how, when and who will help make this happen for you.”

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