From working out to ensuring you achieve your daily steps, here are five of the very best tips for improving your health and fitness this summer.
With summer now all but upon us, many of us are turning our attention to our health and fitness, and months of being cooped up indoors over winter are making way for more time spent outdoors and at the gym. At the same time, the season’s social occasions – from barbecues to festivals – beckon, and after two years of isolation, if you’re raring to get out there and enjoy them all with family and friends, then you’re not alone.
So, how do you find the balance at this time of year? Implementing a few healthy changes to your lifestyle and building consistent habits will help to keep you on track towards your goals without having to forego the events you’d love to attend. Here, we take a look at five ways to create a routine that supports both your goals and your happiness, without the need to sacrifice one for the other.
Work on your mindset first
Most people assume that achieving their health and fitness goals comes down to diet and exercise alone, but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mindset is key to setting you off on the right track and keeping you consistent, but getting it right isn’t an overnight job and takes daily work. Start by deciding what your goals are – whether that’s fat loss, muscle gain, or simply improving your overall health – then determine the steps you’ll need to take to get you there.
During the summer months, it’s important to understand that it might take you a little longer to get to where you want to be if you have a packed social calendar – but also to know that that’s OK. Telling yourself you’ve failed because you had a few glasses of wine at the weekend and throwing in the towel on your goals as a result won’t get you anywhere, whereas getting straight back on track the next day with your healthy habits will keep you on the path to success regardless.
Find a workout you love
If you hate spin class, then don’t do it. It really is as simple as that. Over the years, we’ve been conditioned to believe that weight loss and fitness progression are meant to be punishing processes, but they don’t have to be. Find a means of moving your body that you genuinely enjoy doing – whether that’s a Zumba class, rock climbing or street dancing, and you’re much more likely to stick with it, whereas if you opt for something you don’t like, you’re almost certainly to give up on it within a few weeks and long before you’ve reached your goals.
Boost your protein intake
If you’re spending hours working out at the gym but aren’t seeing the results you want, then it might be time to look at your diet. While lifting weights is a great way to build muscle, if you’re not eating enough protein then you’ll struggle to see much development, and all those hours of sweating it out at the squat rack will feel futile, as protein is the main building block for muscle growth.
Start by adding a portion to every meal, and support with protein shakes where necessary – as a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to make sure you’re consuming around 1.5 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight if you work out three to five times a week, but this goes up to 2.0 per kilogram for those who train daily, or more than once a day. Good protein sources include fish, chicken, dairy products, chickpeas and legumes.
Try adding green powders to your morning smoothie
If you lead a busy lifestyle, then getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals into your diet can be a tricky task, but smoothies are a great way of ensuring you’re consuming a wide range of fruits and vegetables in one easy serving. Adding some healthy and natural green powders into the mix is often an even easier way to boost your vitality, as these often contain a combination of fruits and vegetables, grasses, seaweed and even probiotics and digestive enzymes. If you’re not keen on the taste, then try adding them to soups and stews, where you’ll barely notice them.
Set yourself a daily step goal
If you find it difficult to fit in regular workouts or struggle to lift weights and do cardio because of an injury, then setting yourself a daily step goal is a simple way to boost your activity levels and keep you moving.
Our lifestyles can often be rather sedentary, particularly if you sit at a desk all day during the working week, but walking to and from the office and making sure you get out for a stroll on your lunch break offers many benefits. Not only will it help you to burn some extra calories, but the fresh air and sunshine at this time of year is good for the soul and the mind and will keep vitamin D levels where they should be.
Treat yourself to a fitness tracker or smart watch so that you can track your daily step count effectively – start small, and aim to work your way up to 10,000 steps a day as a good benchmark.