When it’s hot and sticky outside, the last thing you want to do is tackle a workout. Too bad! Summer bodies may be “made in the winter,” they’re certainly not maintained come June by constantly downing rooftop beers and scarfing down barbecue by the dockside. Get your fitness on safely this season with these seven expert tips for crushing summer workouts:
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
The warmer the temps, the greater the chance for dehydration. When you lose mass amounts of water, everything from your perception of fatigue to short-term memorycan be affected. “Staying hydrated is everything,” says Justin Norris, co-owner of Los Angeles studio LIT Method. “Make sure to consume 16 to 24 ounces of water one to two hours before exercise and 4 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout.”
2. Keep your cooling points in mind.
For a more targeted approach to cooling down, keep your pulse points in mind. Think wrists and neck, for starters. “Bring along a cooling towel,” suggests Jess King, instructor at Peloton Cycle. “It’s so easy to use. Get it wet, wring it out, snap it a few times, and throw it on your neck for instant relief.” The result? A lower the temperature in the blood in your arms and neck, which will then recirculate into the body’s larger bloodstream and cool you down for up to an hour.
3. Hit the sand.
The beach isn’t just for summer boozin’ and bronzing. “Protect your joints while challenging your muscles with a series of beach sprints,” says Adam Rosante, celebrity trainer, fitness, and nutrition coach. “The sand is low-impact, saving your joints from the pounding they take on paved streets, but provides an additional resistance challenge, cranking up the intensity of your workout.”
4. Toss that extra electrolyte beverage.
Sweat has electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium. If you work out hard, your body can become depleted of those things. But before you reach for a sugary, electrolyte-rich sip like Gatorade, think twice. ”Hydration is key, but you don’t need a heavy electrolyte beverage during your workout,” says Joseph Holder, Nike master trainer and health consultant. “You can get that from food and your glycogen stores will be good to go.”
Instead, Holder recommends you focus your post-sweat efforts on eating smart, getting between a 1:2 and 1:4 ratio of protein to carbs to help replenish muscle stores. The S10 Training coach typically refuels with a plant-based smoothie consisting of pea and rice proteins, banana, and some berries.
5. Get Naked-er
Nelly may have been onto something. Warm weather workouts make your core temperature rise faster than usual, putting extra stress on the body. Wear less clothing, and you’ll have less of a barrier for sweat evaporation—i.e. cooling—to occur. If skin-tight Chubbies and a tank aren’t your thing, opt for something else light and loose. “Summer’s the perfect excuse to buy some new brightly colored workout gear to reflect the heat,” says Jason Tran, trainer at SWERVE Fitness and The Fhitting Room. In other words, fold away those black compression leggings and save them for fall.
6. Make sure you have a plan.
Just like your work day goes to crap without a to-do list, so can your workout. Having a plan, especially in the heat, can make something tedious feel breezy. “The best way to knock out those summer workouts is to plan, prepare, and execute,” says Jess Movold, coach at Mile High Run Club and The Fort. “Once it’s hot, my favorite kind of workout is to either run with or run to a friend. Pick out a farmer’s market, your favorite smoothie bar or even the best happy hour in the neighborhood. It gives you something to look forward to when you can’t stop thinking about the scorching temps.”
7. Less is more.
Spending hour after hour working out in the sun is never the best idea (mostly because that Netflix queue won’t watch itself). That’s why high intensity interval training (HIIT) can be your savior from June through September, says Nedra Lopez, co-owner of The PE Club. In these quick-burst workouts, you can achieve maximum burn in a shorter amount of time—plus avoid too much sun exposure—by working out even as you recover from heart-racing anaerobic intervals. The non-stop approach keeps your metabolism stoked long after you’re done, burning calories for up to 48 hours post exercise.
A simple, 15-minute HIIT summer workout, courtesy of Nedra Lopez
Do: After a five-minute warm-up jog, do each exercise for one minute (if you finish the suggested amount of reps within one minute, rest the remainder of the time). Complete three rounds.