by Mikaela Ruland
If you’re anything like me, summer seems to be the hardest time to keep fit. You’d think with the weather being nice and the days being longer, it would afford more opportunities to get out and get active. For me, it seems to be the opposite. My summers are booked with travel, those long evenings are the best opportunity for meeting friends for happy hour or going to concerts or the pool. Making myself get to the gym feels nearly impossible when the sun is shining. My fitness routine pretty much upends.
I’ve made keeping fit this summer a priority, despite all those excellent reasons not to. Here’s five ways I maintain my fitness routine in the summer.
1. Track It
Something about tracking goals makes them infinitely easier to attain, I think. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to be active five days a week. I use my planner to keep track of which days I did something active, be it a gym sesh, a yoga class or a hike. At the end of the week, I tally up my results so I can track week over week and month over month. It’s made being consistent so much easier.
2. Enlist Friends
Everything is more fun with friends. Instead of letting friends pull you away from your fitness routine, enlist them. I find it works better to bribe my less motivated friends with something more fun afterwards. “Do you want to go on a hike on Saturday? We can get brunch afterwards.” Everyone always seems so much busier in the summer, so I try to get people on the calendar a week or two ahead of time so I’m not left without an accountability partner keeping me from hitting snooze all morning. Dogs also make great accountability partners. There’s nothing like a wet nose first thing in the morning to wake you up.
3. Try Something New
Summer is for adventures, so why stick to your same old workout routine? Try something new, or head to a new setting to keep it fun. Working out shouldn’t seem like a chore. Head up to Copper Mountain for the weekend to try something new and active. On Sundays at 12:30 throughout the summer, take an outdoor yoga class at the base of the Super Bee in East Village. Savasana never feels as good as it does outside. Or, you could rent a bike from Copper Sports Bike Shop. Copper’s winter slopes turn into a mountain biker’s paradise in the summer. There’s terrain all the way from beginner to expert on the mountain and an activity pass will let you ride the chair lifts up.
4. Mix It Up
When it’s a beautiful day outside, the last thing I want to do it lock myself in the climate controlled gym. If your workout routine is normally very gym focused, that nice weather might be impacting you too. I mentioned before that I try to get some sort of a workout in five days a week. In the winter, three or four of those days might be in the gym. In the summer, I only hit the machines once a week or so. I like to mix it up to keep myself interested and to keep it sustainable. Usually I’ll go to one yoga class a week (outside if I can!), hit the gym once, do my do-it-anywhere ab routine (see #5) one to two times and go on a hike. If you’re looking for a hike you can feel good about skipping the gym for in Summit County, check out Mohawk Lakes near Breckenridge, Willow Falls in Silverthorne and Mayflower Gulch just outside of Copper. Make sure to hike the ridge if you hike Mayflower Gulch for that quad workout.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you enjoy. If you’re a climber, find a new crag. If you love the water, try paddleboard yoga. Your workout routine is for YOU, no one else.
5. Make It Happen
One of my favorite ways to stay fit is my do-it-anywhere ab routine. I adapted it from several routines I found online and have been doing a version of it for several years. It’s great because it gets your blood pumping, fires up your core and you can do it literally anywhere. I’ve done it in hotel rooms, in a tent, in my living room, in the park. It doesn’t take more than ten or fifteen minutes so it’s easy to fit in on even the busiest days, or while traveling. I put on a podcast and blast it out and feel good about staying fit.
Here’s how it works:
3 sets of:
10-15 reps of high to low boat
30 second plank hold
10-15 reps of tiger crunches
10-15 reps of lotus crunches
10-15 reps of bicycle crunches from high boat
If you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises, see below for the descriptions of some of the more obscure ones. Tweak the number of reps and sets to suit your needs.
High to Low Boat
Sit on your bottom with your feet flat on the floor and lean back just a little bit. Keeping your back straight, hover your feet a few inches off the floor. Extend your arms in front of you and face your palms towards each other. This is high boat. Slowly lean back and extend your legs so that you end up with only your bottom touching the floor and your back, legs and arms hovering just over the floor. This is low boat. Return to high boat, just as slowly. This is one rep.
Start in a tabletop position, on your hands and knees. Your palms and the tops of your feet should be flat on the floor. Extend your left arm out long in front of you, your palm facing your left. Slowly extend your right leg out. Crunch your left arm and your right leg inwards, bowing your head. Return to extended. This is one rep. Repeat the reps on each side.
Lay flat on your back, the soles of your feet touching and your knees as close to the ground as you can bring them. Lay one hand on top of the other on your pelvis. Crunch upwards, lifting your back off the ground. Lower. This is one rep. Halfway through, switch the stack of your hands.
Bicycle from High Boat
Start in high boat, but instead of extending your arms, interlace your fingers at the back of your head. Extend your left leg and let it hover above the ground and twist your core so your right elbow meets your left knee. Return to high boat. Repeat on the other side. This is one rep.
I hope these tips keep you motivated to stay fit this summer. After all, winter is coming - those muscles need to be ready to shred!