A guide to a fun, active and healthy summer
The VITL Nutrition Team
Dreams and Dumbells blogger, Amy Golby tells Vitl her top tips for staying healthy whilst enjoying summer to the full...
The sun is out and this means only one thing - summer is fully on it way!
So you’ve been working hard all winter to make sure your summer body is good and ready but summer also brings a whole host of other things that can undo all your hard work.
BUT never fear, this is my guide to surviving summer without having to shy away from the tastier treats in life.
No matter your summer plans, as long as you make good choices and plan right you’ll be having the best time without the heartache at the end.
Summer Hurdle 1
Ice cream and ice lollies
In my opinion Ice cream is one of the best things created on this earth and these is nothing more delicious than sitting on the beach, in the park, or just out in the sun and enjoying your favourite ice cream or lolly – but this means calories, refined sugars and before you know it you’re slipping back into bad habits.
If you really can’t go without when all your friends are enjoying their ice creams then stick to frozen yoghurt, it’s just as tasty and refreshing as a good old ice cream but with half of the calories. Alternatively, make your own superfood lolly – Blend up some strawberries, raspberries, beetroot juice and apple juice – pop in an ice lolly tray and freeze! A tasty and healthy treat to settle the sweet tooth craving but keep you healthy and fit.
Summer Hurdle 2
Alcohol and fizzy drinks
Who doesn’t love sitting out in a pub garden sipping on a cider in the sunshine, or catching up with friends while drinking some fruity cocktails or even an ice cold drink of lemonade! With alcohol and carbonated drinks this can only mean one thing - high amounts of sugar and calories, and don’t be fooled by ‘fat-free’ fizzy drinks! They are still pumped full of sugar substitutes and additives which aren’t great for your body either.
Giving up alcohol is hard during the summer months and even harder when you’re surrounded by a group of friends. The choice is yours at the end of the day, drinking is one if the biggest reasons people fall off nutrition and exercise plans because it leads to bad eating habits while drinking and the next day. It also means you are less able to perform the next day, so wave goodbye to the post drinking gym session.
If you want to have a drink with friends, the first thing I want you to do is control yourself and stick to only having 1-2 drinks maximum. Your choice of drink is important too, drinks such as cocktails and cider can have up to 230 calories and a pint and beer has an average of 190 calories. The lowest in calorie content are spirits, so try sticking to a spirit with a low-calorie mixer such as soda water and a slice of lime.
If you choose to drink, stick to drinking a pint of water at regular intervals throughout the day/night to keep yourself hydrated.
If you decide not to drink it doesn’t mean you can’t also go out. If you want something fruity, why not try a mocktail? Most bars and pubs now do these and they can be refreshing and a good alternative on a night out. I tend to stick to soda and lime (not tonic water); it’s refreshing and tasty and makes sure I’m still ready for the day after, plus then no-one questions what you’re drinking so there's no peer pressure.
Summer Hurdle 3
Festival season and holiday
With summer comes the festival and holiday season, which means late nights, over indulging and lack of a gym. Festivals are great for live music, catching up with friends and dancing but a lot of them centre on late nights and drinking. It is common for most people to work out hard before summer to make sure they are feeling their best when they hit the beach on their summer holiday but this can mean a break in good eating habits, decrease in exercise and over indulging.
Festivals don’t have to be about drinking alcohol and feeling tired because you’ve had next to no sleep. Prepare yourself some super juices to take along with you. For example, you could blend spinach, avocado, chia seeds, banana, and coconut milk to make a juice that will make sure you feel great, can dance all day and is super tasty, and why not take along your VITL supplements to make sure you’re feeling your best.
Holidays are a time to enjoy yourself but it doesn’t mean you need to lose all control and undo your hard work, and by sticking to a small amount of exercise it will make slipping back into your routine when your home so much easier. Get up 15 mins earlier and get in a quick bodyweight HiiT circuit each morning - Pick 5 exercises (e.g. squat jumps, press ups, lunges, burpees and crunches) do each exercise one after the other, working as hard as you can for 40 seconds and rest for 20 seconds, repeat the circuit three times and you’re done. Alternatively, try making sure you swim at least 30-50 lengths in the pool before enjoying the sunshine and make the most of the hotel amenities.
When it comes to food and drink, try and stick to high protein meals such as fish and meat dishes or fresh vegetables dishes that aren’t too high in processed or refined sugar foods, if you are struggling to find good restaurants or food choices then make sure you monitor your portion sizes.
Summer Hurdle 4
BBQs are a must have in the summer, getting all your friends and family around to chill out in the garden and enjoy the sun, but again with BBQs come white refined carbs, quick snack food such as crisps and dips, and sugary drinks.
The best thing about BBQ’s is that they are the easiest summer hurdle to overcome. The main thing is to stick to clean and lean meat and make sure you aren’t eating any processed meats such as sausages or pack bought burgers. Fish can be one of the tastiest foods to cook on the BBQ and it so good for you – pop some salmon in some foil and drizzle oil and fresh parsley, salt and pepper over the fillets. Slice a lemon and pop the slices on and around the fillets, wrap up and then grill on the BBQ for 13-16 mins and enjoy.
To make sure there are healthy and diet friendly nibbles by making your own salsa and guacamole and dip in a selection of vegetables.Or, as an extra treat, vegetable crisps. Make your own or get a selection of flavoured hummus and you can kick your salad up a notch and swap the standard lettuce based salad with a tasty quinoa salad which is packed full of protein and fibre.
Summer Hurdle 5
Sun, time and gyms
When the suns out the last thing you want to do is be stuck inside a gym for hours at a time dreaming of enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. Sure we can just work out outside, BUT working out in the heat can be exhausting. Besides, summer can mean many people become super busy and just don’t have the time to work with the children now off school, holidays and family and friend events.
Get up early and get out is your first option; get to the gym before the day really begins and it will set you up for the day – just imagine how good you’re going to feel when the sun is shining and the endorphins are running high.
Lacking time now you’re so busy with summer plans? Not to worry! You can do a 20-30 minute HiiT circuit or kettlebell circuit and burn the same amount of calories as a 40 minute run.
Don’t want to be stuck in the gym for hours? Take your circuit outside! Take a load of friends down the park for a spot of boot camp so you can get your exercise in as well as enjoying the sunshine.
And there you have it the guide to surviving summer– Now go and enjoy your summer without worrying that all your hard work will be undone!