Aaaaand ... it's hot. It is going to stay hot, and it is going to suck. For many of us, the thought of actually exerting ourselves at all in this mess, much less exercising in it, is pretty awful. Twelve 97-degree days in a row, with nary a cloud in sight, can melt your motivation to do anything except plant your face in front of a fan until October. But if you've (possibly? hopefully?) been working out all spring and you're feeling strong and fit and full of energy, the thought of letting all that hard work just go to the mosquitos is sort of depressing.
Look, it is absolutely possible to stay active and healthy during the summer here, although you may have to adjust your routine a little. It's important to have a plan going in, so when the mid-summer blah's hit full-force, you are ready to respond and keep moving. Here are a few tips I like to share with my clients when they start whining about how hot it is to keep them on track and moving toward their fitness goals
1. FOCUS ON NUTRITION. The heat will zap your energy. You want more energy? Eat healthier foods. We all know that a big basket of fried yumminess will taste great, but it won't be leaving you fired up to get moving. So invest some time this season in preparing healthy meals. See what you can do with fruits, veggies, lean meats ... you know the drill. You'll be amazed at how a belly full of nutritious food can help you make it through a triple-digit day.
2. GET TOGETHER WITH OTHERS. Thinking of an excuse to not get off the couch is not difficult. Blazing hot days and ridiculous humidity only make exercise procrastination that much easier. Having a few buddies to meet up with for a workout can help keep you accountable as well as make the entire experience of moving around in the heat more fun. Get together with some friends and try mixing up who plans the warm up, who plans the workout, who brings the water, and who picks where you go afterward to hang out (Starbucks, Young Avenue Deli, etc.). I think that last bit is especially important because adding a relaxing social component to any kind of work always makes the work more enjoyable. And who says exercise has to even look like exercise? Remember when we were kids and we would run around and chase each other or throw a ball back and forth? What did we call that? Oh yeah ... playing! Why can't we do that as adults? When it's this hot outside I strongly encourage you to relax your standards of "what exercise is" and just get up and move around. Hook up with some friends once or twice a week and throw the Frisbee, play kickball, or do whatever floats your boat. Just have fun.
3. EXERCISE IN INTERVALS. When the weather is extremely humid and hotter than 90 degrees, exerting yourself outside for long periods can sometimes be a little dangerous. It can also be completely exhausting, leaving you with no energy for the rest of the day. So if your typical exercise routine keeps you outside for an hour, try splitting that hour into two or three segments. For example, try working out 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. You can burn the same amount of calories and may even be able to push a little harder since you aren't working out for such long stretches. And remember: If you experience nausea, headaches, cramps, or dizziness, it's a good idea to stop what it is you are doing. Drink plenty of water and stay in the shade if you can.
4. JOIN A GYM. I know, I own a gym, so of course I'm going to throw this in here, right? But it's true, gyms are a great way to get out of the heat and get moving. If you can, try to join a gym with group fitness classes. These are great because all you have to do is show up. The instructor will tell you what to do and can help you with form and modifications when the work gets a little too challenging. If your gym doesn't offer classes and you get tired of just walking around the weight room wondering what to do, there are lots of great YouTube videos and apps that can help you get started. Look for ones where the instructor/narrator is very focused on proper form. Without good form you'll hurt yourself, and an injury will derail your fitness plan faster than the heat.
So, good luck, have fun, and keep moving! You'll make it through like you always do.