Mornings spent shuttling your kids to summer camp. Evenings spent hosting barbecues with your besties. Weeks spent away from home on vacation. For all of its sunny, happy vibes, summer can put a real cramp on your usual fitness routine. And while it can be tempting to swap your trips to Orangetheory for more time outside–you may not want to blow off your normal routine so quickly.
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Consistent exercise not only helps protect your body against chronic disease and weight gain, but can also boost your self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy levels. Problem is, consistency can be a finicky thing. Fall off the workout horse, so to speak, and you might find yourself struggling to get back in the saddle.
“When routines are disrupted, it can sometimes be difficult to get into the swing of things once you’re ready to initiate that change again,” says Orangetheory research scientist Brittany Masteller, PhD. “Making memories and having experiences with family during the summer months can mean shifting priorities without completely giving up on your fitness routines.”
If you’re feeling your motivation stalling (or just your free time dwindling), we’re here to help. “Hectic seasons in life will always come and go,” says Masteller. “Remember, any physical activity is better than no physical activity!” Here are some tips for making the most of your workouts this summer:
Complete a seasonal reset. During the school year, your routine is on lock, but as soon as summer starts you can’t make any of your normal Orangetheory classes. Maybe attending in-studio workouts less frequently would be better for your schedule? That’s fine, just adjust mindfully. “When someone consistently engages in a behavior, it builds confidence,” says Masteller. “So if someone wants to reduce their attendance for a season, I would encourage them to make it a conscious, planned decision rather than a result of poor planning or canceling classes.”
Assign your pinch hitters. The nice part of a routine is you don’t have to think about it. It’s automatic. To replicate that auto-pilot feeling, create a list of suitable alternatives to your usual gym routine. An hour walk on the beach. An Orangetheory Live workout in your basement. A body-weight circuit you can do anywhere. These don’t have to be equal effort or intensity. Your goal is to have options that make it easy to check the box on doing something over nothing.
Create a weekly schedule. Speaking of planning…don’t try to set a fitness routine for the whole summer. Instead, take things one week at a time. Assess what you have going on in the week ahead and plan your workouts accordingly. Aim for at least one in-person fitness class each week, even when you’re traveling. Why? According to researchers, receiving verbal praise during your workout can actually help you perform exercises even better next time (even if you’re on your own).
Embrace the indoors. While it feels great to be outside more often in the summer, workouts based on heart rate zones are quickly modified in excessive heat conditions. With record high temps being reported all across the country, this is where your fitness studio really comes in handy! You can always ramp up the intensity of your circuit training safely from the air-conditioned confines of your gym. Not only does that mean you can make the most of your workouts–even if they’re less regular than usual–but by staying out of the heat while exercising, you will actually reserve more energy to thrive outdoors. (On the move a lot this summer? Find an Orangetheory fitness studio or local gym near you wherever you are.)
Focus on “instant” results. Forget any kind of “beach body” goals or lofty weight-loss ambitions–they’re not actually helping. Instead, focus on instant gratification. Researchers have found that people who tracked the immediate results after a workout–like feeling happier, more energetic and less anxious–exercised 34 percent more over the course of a year than those who focused on weight loss or appearance goals. Will getting to the gym make you a more patient parent or partner? Will you have more energy, eat better throughout the day, or sleep better at night? All pretty solid reasons to get your sweat on if you ask us!