I breathe a huge sigh of relief when summer rolls around. I work from home about 80% of the time during the summer so it allows me to have much greater flexibility with my schedule and I don’t have to stress too much about the kids’ schedules. That said, it’s important to stay motivated on the work and workout front during the summer.
Working from home, especially in the summer, is not for everyone. It requires a pretty strong ability to focus (if, like me, your office is in an alcove off a main pathway through the house), the selfishness to block out extraneous noise of children, their friends and as I speak, construction people replacing large windows about 10 feet away from me. It also requires superhuman strength to keep your head or upper torso out of the refrigerator or pantry. I’m still working on the last one.
Working out during the summer can also be a challenge. Ironically you have more daylight hours to hit the gym but having the kids home, summer trips out of town, or backyard parties with the neighbors can really suck up a lot of your exercise time, if you’re not careful. I really don’t want you to fall into the “I’ll count gardening as cardio” trap.
Here are some tips to help you stay on the right track during summer. Call it a summer survival guide.
1. Get that calendar out and plan a minimum of FOUR workouts a week. There should be at least TWO sessions of strength training and FOUR 45-60 minute sessions of cardio. Please note if you are trying to lose weight, get that cardio up to FIVE or SIX days (I’m capitalizing the things you should take careful note of). Now this may not make you happy to hear but unless you are a beginner (read: new to moving your body) 30 minutes of cardio is not enough to make any significant changes in your body composition. 30 minutes should be what you do only if you don’t have time for your regular workout.
2. Plan meals and snacks thoughtfully. Even if you are on vacation you should have a good idea of what you are going to eat. I like the one fun meal a day rule. If you are traveling and eating out the majority of the time pick one meal a day that you’ll get what you really want. If you want to have a nice juicy steak and mashed potatoes for dinner then don’t have pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Have the oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, a salad with chicken for lunch and then have your steak dinner.
3. Pack what you can. Traveling doesn’t mean you are at the mercy of pricey, unhealthy airport food. Pack nuts, peanut butter packs, protein bars or other non-perishable food items to bring with you. On a road trip? Pack a cooler with healthier snacks and refill as you go along. At home sitting 10 feet from the fridge? Prepare snacks and healthy options that you can grab and go.
4. Buddy up. I say this so much I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it! Find someone to run, walk, hike or Zumba with. You may not be able to count on them to join you each and every time but try to get together at least 2 times a week. The other days you are on your own, which should be fine. You are a big girl or boy and you should learn to be self-motivated!
5. Healthy cooking. The abundance of summer produce makes one want to cook (or buddy up to friends who really like to cook)! Try a variety of fruits and veggies this summer – focusing on ones with bright colors and a variety of hues. Also try to experiment with citrus juices for cooking and sauteing – while oils are fine in moderation, it’s also great to let the fresh, clean flavors of food shine!
6. Pick an event. Walk or run a 4th of July 5K. Participate in a charity ride, plan a group activity for your family at your annual reunion. If you are really motivated work towards a sprint triathlon, duathlon or marathon. Having a goal is helpful because having something to work towards makes it more fun!
I hope you are able to glean something from these 6 little tips!
Now go run!