YOUR GUIDE TO SUMMER WORKOUTS
Between the warmer weather, added hours of sunlight and memorable trips to our favorite vacation spots, there’s nothing quite like the summertime. With many people planning leisurely days at the pool, trips to the beach and more fun under the sun, starting a workout routine to keep that summer look is a common goal leading up to the year’s warmer days. Check out some of our tips for creating an attainable summer workout plan, and most importantly, sticking to it.
Preparing for Your Routine
Regardless of your age, fitness level and what your specific workout is going to look like, one of the most important steps to take is properly preparing for whatever you’re getting ready to take on. First thing’s first—and that’s choosing what type of workout suits you. Setting reasonable goals for yourself is the best way to help keep you on track. It’s easy to be ambitious when you’re getting started, but you don’t want to overextend yourself—this could cause injury or extensive soreness and tiredness, ultimately throwing a wrench in your plans for this summer’s workouts!
Another important choice to make before you begin, of course, is selecting the right attire. If you’re going to be out in the sun doing something like cardio, a breathable outfit like a Performance Tee with mesh shorts that helps you stay cool will be a must. Just don’t forget sunscreen! On the other hand, if you’ll be inside the gym or otherwise trying to break more of a sweat than normal, you might opt for something soft and warm like a tank top paired with a hoodie and performance shorts. It might take some trial and error to find what outfits and materials you like for your different workouts, but it’s worth it. Your routine has no room for distraction from discomfort.
Whether you’re headed to the gym, going for a run outside or even sticking to at-home workouts, one of the most important things to remember before you even get started is to stay hydrated—especially during the higher temperatures of the summer. You’re probably well-aware of this step’s importance, but it’s a big one, and a reminder never hurts.
Finally, we’ve found that a great way to hold yourself accountable while keeping expectations reasonable is the buddy system. Working out with a friend or group of friends is a great way for everyone to stay motivated, have fun and keep goals consistent and attainable for everyone involved. With that in mind, finding a workout buddy is easier said than done. If you’re going to be rocking it solo, getting lost in some of your favorite music or a podcast is a great way to make the time melt away.
Stretching is another extremely important item to cross off the checklist before the workout really starts to rise in intensity. It helps to keep your muscles flexible, healthy and strong, and failing to do so can cause your muscles to shorten and become tight. The result? When you begin to really work those muscles, they’re weaker and unable to extend all the way—ultimately exposing you to the risk of strained or pulled muscles and joint pain.
Even if you’re taking a rest day or not working out for any reason, the benefits of stretching for the body are numerous, and daily stretches are commonly recommended by health experts. It helps you avoid inflammation, and eases other types of pain such as those developed from sitting or standing at work all day. There are virtually infinitely different types of stretches out there, but common daily ones include:
● Neck & shoulder roll
● Hip rotations
● Hamstring stretch
● Knee-to-chest stretch
● Side & forward lunge
● Child’s pose
Yoga is a great way to exercise while working on your balance, flexibility and keeping those muscles loose and ready to go. Yoga is available in different lessons to people of all skill levels, so there’s no need to be shy if you’re a first-timer. In addition to balance and flexibility, the other benefits are numerous. Experts claim yoga can also be key to heart health, a better mood, better sleep, back pain relief, stress relief and more. If you’ve been working out solo, yoga also tends to provide a very open and supportive community—the perfect environment to meet some new summer workout buddies. Examples of common yoga poses include:
● Downward-facing dog
● Mountain pose
● Tree pose
● Triangle pose
● Bridge pose
If these look unfamiliar to you, not to worry! Check out a beginner’s yoga class—the instructor will give you all the pointers you need to get these poses down in no time.
Cardio is a key aspect of many workout routines, and one of the great things about doing a cardio workout is all the different ways you can approach it. You can get up early or run in the evening to beat the heat, head to the air-conditioned gym and spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical machine or rowing machine, or even jump rope in the backyard. Another important factor of cardio is that its intensity can easily be varied for different levels of fitness. Though we’ve already discussed hydration, it’s especially important to keep in mind when it comes to your cardio workouts—especially if you’ll be out in the heat. Common cardio workouts include:
● Elliptical machine
Weightlifting is another common category of workouts that’s perfect if you’re looking to add muscle or look more toned for the season. Weight training (or resistance training) also helps to burn fat, strengthen bones and joints, reduce injury risk and improve heart health. There are many, many types of weightlifting you can get into, but if you’re new, we highly suggest working with a trainer to make sure your form is right. The benefits of weightlifting can quickly turn around and work against you if you’re using too much weight, lifting with improper form or both. Common weight training exercises include:
● Rowing machine
● Bench press
● Overhead press
Cooldown and Recovery
Once you’ve finished your routine for the day, ensuring you get the proper rest and recovery is a key factor in making sure both your body and mind are motivated to continue your workouts. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, not push yourself too hard during your workouts and give your muscles adequate time to recover to avoid injury. This gives the blood time to circulate, remove all the waste your muscles have produced and bring fresh, nutrient-rich blood to repair and rebuild your muscles. Remember, the most important part to any workout routine is being able to stick to it! Common tips to Cooldown after your workout involve:
● Taking a brisk walk, jog or swim
● Yoga poses