Staying in Shape This Summer


Words: Chelsea Wright
Photo: ryasick

Sunnier days, beaches, and barbecues- summer is here! It’s an opportunity to break out of our bulky winter clothes and head outdoors. If you feel like you’re in need of a reset, summer is a great time to press the pause button. However, if you’re not mindful, summertime fun can get you off track from the healthy lifestyle goals you’ve set. 

Although leading a healthy lifestyle all year round is recommended, summertime is generally when we strive for healthier habits. Indeed, summer is when we’re the most active. With longer daylight hours leading to boosted moods and energy levels, people on average engage in about an hour more of physical activity in the summer. Yet, due to times extreme temperatures, sticking to fitness goals during the summer season can present its own challenges. 

Without proper planning, the summer season can not only get you away from your healthy habits, it can also lead to potentially dangerous outcomes. Keep on reading to find out how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay safe while soaking up the sun. 

Create Your Routine, Your Way

Choose a time of the day to exercise that works best for you and stick with it. When we make it a habit to do something on the same days and times each week, we have a better chance at sticking with it. If you’re naturally an early riser, set your alarm for about 30-40 minutes earlier than usual, and get in a quick home workout or a brisk walk before getting ready for the workday.  

If you dread waking up early, that’s okay- we can relate. Exercising in the evening, after work can still be just as effective. However, temperatures are more likely to be warmer in the evening. Therefore, consider keeping your workouts light if you choose to exercise outdoors. As a bricklayer, you may have already spent the day outdoors on a jobsite, so you’ll want to be sure that you’ve packed enough protective sun gear and water to last the whole day.  

Less Can Be More

As a mason, you’re already working your body to the bone all year around. Therefore, when creating your summer workout plan, you may benefit most from simple workouts that aren’t as hard on your body, as your workload can be. Your workouts should help strengthen, rehab, and keep you well-equipped for day-to-day movements- not add more stress to your body. You may consider saving the heavy lifting workouts for your off-days or indoor training sessions.  

Secondly, your workouts don’t have to be awful or lengthy to count. Unless you’re looking to take your physique to a muscle man competition, simply setting aside at least 30 minutes a day for movement can be enough. A brisk walk, swimming, or chasing your kids around the yard for a while, will suffice when working out in the summer heat.  

Lastly, another great way to simplify your workout plan is to speed up your routine. High-Intensity Interval Training or HITT is designed to provide you with a quick, fun, and highly effective workout. In addition, HITT workouts are typically designed to be completed in just 25-45 minutes.   

Make Water Your Best Friend

When working long hours in the summer heat, maintaining healthy fluid levels throughout the day is key for a bricklayer. With water making up more than half of your body’s weight, staying hydrated is crucial. Consuming enough water is important for many reasons, including regulating body temperature, proper organ function, and illness prevention. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you’re not losing more water than you’re taking in.  

It’s recommended that men consume around 3.7 liters of water a day and 2.7 liters a day for women. If you’re looking to take your daily workouts outdoors this summer, consider taking inventory of how much water you’ve consumed. Be sure to drink up before starting your workout, throughout it, and for recovery afterward. A sports drink with electrolytes, fruits, and protein shakes can also help replenish your energy stores after a sizzling, outdoor workout.  

Plan Your Meals

A good summer workout plan is even better with a great diet. The foods you consume dictate your overall well-being. Without proper nutrition, meeting your fitness goals can feel especially difficult in the summer heat. When exercising in high temps, we must properly fuel our bodies to sustain the extra energy expenditure. 

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your favorite summer traditions. Sure, back-to-back summer barbeques can easily derail you from your fitness goals, however, they don’t have to. Simply being mindful of the foods you consume and portion sizes, even while vacationing or celebrating this summer is key. 

Stick to meal prepping and cooking your own food as much as possible. When going out, opting for lean, grilled meats is great for meeting your protein needs, while keeping your fat intake low. Fresh fruits and vegetables can help balance your blood sugar and energy levels. And whole grains like oatmeal and quinoa can keep your gut health in check, thus supporting proper immune function. 

Simple BBQ Survival Guide:

Go For It: Grilled Lean Meats, Any Vegetables, Fruit Salad, Kabobs

In Moderation: Potato salad, Pasta salad, Baked Beans, Condiments

Avoid: Mac and Cheese, Hot dogs, Potato chips, Soda Pop

Make It Fun

This time last year, many of us felt like we couldn’t safely get outside and gather. Therefore, you may find that skipping your usual gym routine all together this season, may just be the reset that you need. 

Your fitness routine doesn’t always have to be the same or strict. Switching up your routine for the summer can make your workouts more enjoyable and you can even involve your family and friends. Bike riding, kayaking, hiking, and group sports leagues, can all count towards your daily movement goals.  

Stay Safe

During the summer, we all need to take extra precautions when being active outdoors. Exercise alone increases our body temperature, so when coupled with hot weather, this can put even more stress on your body and can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion. Always pack extra water and be mindful of your body temperature when on a jobsite or exercising outdoors. 

In addition to staying cool, be sure to pack items to protect yourself from too much sun exposure and bugs. Items such as sun visors, sunglasses with straps and sweat-proof sunscreen, and bug sprays can keep you safe this summer.  

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