With summertime officially here, those vacations, picnics, outdoor holidays, barbecues, and family gatherings can really put a dent in your fitness plans.
Those fun summer activities and events don't have to derail your best-laid fitness plans! Instead, use these events and warmer months to your advantage, challenge your fitness creativity, and keep pushing toward those goals.
1. On vacation
No matter where you go, your workout can go with you!
Love indoor cycling classes? Many hotels and resorts offer bike rentals, often included in your overnight rate.
Yoga more your thing? Outdoor yoga groups are plentiful in the summer months, especially in beach areas.
Treadmill fan? Try a walk around your resort.
Prefer functional fitness? Good thing because workouts don’t always have to be “structured.” Go splash in the pool, or run around with your kids. Play good old-fashioned tag in a nearby park. Make sensible food choices.
2. At a barbecue/family event
It seems there's another party and get-together to attend every weekend in the summertime, and food is always at the center of the crowd. By making a few smarter choices, you can keep those calorie counts in check.
Skip the mayonnaise-based salads – macaroni, potato, and creamy pasta salad. These are typically high in fat and calories and low in nutritional value. A better option is a green salad with lots of veggies and a light dressing.
Pass on the potato chips – and the cheese puffs and the nacho cheese chips while you’re at it. Also, don’t be fooled by those green and orange veggie or sweet potato chips. These items tend to have as much fat, if not more, than their potato counterparts. If you need to squash that chip craving, tortilla chips and salsa are a better choice. Otherwise, opt for lower fat snacks such as pretzels or baked chips. If that crunch is what you're craving, reach for the veggie tray – just use that accompanying dip sparingly!
Take your meat or veggie burger without the bun. Unless that bread is whole grain, it offers next to nothing in nutritional value and about 100 extra calories. Plus, the real flavor is in what is INSIDE the bun. Add fresh veggies for more flavor.
Watch the condiments, dips, and spreads. That pinch of ketchup may seem harmless, and it is – in moderation. But ketchup – and other condiments such as teriyaki and barbecue sauce – have hidden sugars, so use them in moderation. Mustard gives you the most bang for your caloric buck, considering there are no calories in most commercial yellow mustards.
3. At a festival or local event/celebration
Festivals are a fantastic way to unknowingly hit your step goal for the day, so don't derail that convenient, easy workout by reaching for those high-carb, high-fat tempting treats!
Eat before you go. If you can, fill up on good fuel BEFORE you head out to the event. Having a full belly will make those treats not as tempting. After a full day of walking around, treat yourself to a small dessert at the event so you don't feel deprived. Plus, your waistline (and wallet) will thank you!
Festival foods don't usually claim to be "healthy." But if you do decide to eat at the event, take a walk through the options first. You may not be able to find a completely healthy option, but you may be able to make your choice less unhealthy. For example, if you go for the pizza, choose a slice with lots of veggies. Stay away from meats and extra cheese, and dab your slice with a napkin to absorb some of the extra grease. If you have a hankering for fries, order the smallest option and choose salt and vinegar as a topping over cheese or ketchup. Stick with water or diet soda rather than sugar-laden lemonades or slushies.
4. At the bar ... or really anywhere with adult beverages
If you have your sights set on a six-pack (of abs), beer, wine, and liquor will do you no favors and are not really part of any nutritional plan. The best option is to steer clear of liquor altogether, BUT it can be enjoyed in moderation in lieu of another treat.
Choose clear liquids and light beers.
Watch the mixers! Mixers tend to have as many, if not more, calories than the actual liquor, so stick with tonic water, diet soda, or those calorie-free sparkling waters.
Stay clear of fancy drinks such as margaritas, pina coladas, and daiquiris, which are almost all sugar.
Have a glass of water after every drink to keep you from overdoing it on the booze.
What are you doing this summer to keep your fitness goals on track? Leave your plans and ideas in the comments below!