You are about to approach the gauntlet of ice cream trucks, fatty meats broiling over an open flame, deep-fried Oreo's and lazy days just soaking up the sun doing absolutely nothing. You have your beer in one hand, a book in the other, and you don’t plan on moving any time soon. I am here to help you navigate the trials that summer may present to you, so that you can still maintain that body you have worked so hard for.
When it comes to staying healthy this summer there are three main areas that can be addressed: Food, Alcohol and Exercise.
When it comes to food, it is easy to overindulge in the wrong kinds. No summer is complete without a barbecue, but when you are invited to a barbecue every weekend, the damage can reveal itself by the end of the summer. So if you have no choice but to attend yet another barbecue, here is how you can manage them a bit better.
At a barbecue you have more control over what you are eating because you can see how it is prepared.
- Some barbecues are BYOM- Bring Your Own Meat. Here is your chance to opt for lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey burgers or a homemade veggie burger.
- Make your own BBQ sauce. Chances are you will be adding less sugar and no preservatives than what comes in store bought brands. Or just don’t add any at all. You can gain flavour through other toppings.
- Side dishes are where people get hurt. They are usually heavy; full of nutrient depleted white potatoes, macaroni and smothered in a thick layer of mayo. Opt to bring a healthy side of your own that way you have at least one improved option to choose from. A salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing, or veggies dipped in hummus rather than ranch dressing
- For dessert, take advantage of the fresh summer fruits as is, you can always have strawberries baked into a pie any other time of the year when they don't taste as flavourful because they are not in season. But there is nothing like fresh, in season berries or plums, maybe topped with coconut whipped cream – My favourite recipe here.
A nice barbecue would not be complete without a refreshing alcoholic beverage. However, summer comes with a desire for alcoholic beverages topped with tiny umbrellas and these drinks are loaded with sugary juices. By the time you finish 2 or 3, you’ve got your calorie count for the day. Not a great way to hold onto those 6-pack abs.
- Instead, use club soda as your mixer with your alcohol of choice and some lemon and lime
- Or opt for wine, which at least has antioxidants, or a light beer.
- With all that alcohol, plus the heat of the summer sun, dehydration is imminent so remember to always be drinking water.
- If water is too boring try it with different combinations of fruits, vegetables and herbs such as raspberry and basil, or cucumber and mint
- It’s important to get half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. The amount needs to increase if you are sweating a lot, which we all do more of in the summer
We also sweat more when we are active, which the majority of people tend to be more active in the summer anyways. But in case you are struggling with exercise, here are some ways that you can incorporate it.
- Start by reinventing happy hour. Instead of doing the patio scene to enjoy the sun after a long workday, grab some friends and do an outdoor workout to enjoy the sun. There are lots to choose from like hiking, tennis or yoga in the park if you want to wind down after work.
- Make your fitness fun. So many people hate lifting weights and yet when they are told they have to exercise, going to the gym is the first thing that comes to their mind. If you don’t like biking don’t do a spin class just because you found a deal on Groupon. You are just not going to stick with it if it is too much effort to enjoy it, so find an activity that works for you.
- Take advantage of the fact that it is summer. Don’t do indoor activities that you do all winter. Instead, try kayaking, canoeing or mountain biking as these are only available for a limited time and can add excitement and a sense of “new” to your workout routine.
These are just a few ideas on how to address three main factors when it comes to maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle this summer. Food, alcohol and exercise can still be delicious, refreshing and fun. I encourage you to try some of these tips or maybe you have some of your own. Have a healthy and happy summer!