It's Not Too Late: This Is What 5 Health Pros Do to Get Fit in Time for Summer
We've got good news and bad news: Summer is only one month away. Sure, June 20 marks the start of warm-weather festivities like Summer Fridays and beach vacations, but it can also signal a shift in our routine. As the social calendar starts to fill up, it's easy to fall into the habit of drinking more wine and indulging in one too many canapés.
If you intend on embracing the season, rooftop bars and all, now's the time to kick-start some healthy habits to see you through it all. Fortunately, that doesn't have to mean drastically changing your workout regimen or diet—experts suggest making small, realistic tweaks that you can maintain throughout the warmer months.
Yes, there's still time: This is what five trainers and nutrition experts are doing now to improve their health before summer.
Do One Minute of Kettlebell Swings
If you only add one exercise to your routine, it should be kettlebell swings, says New Balance fitness ambassador Rachel Rubin. "Kettlebell swings are the most powerful effective exercise. It hits every muscle in the body and blasts your heart rate," she explains. "Just one minute of these a day would show results in mind, body, and energy."
Cook One Plant-Based Meal a Week
Struggle to stick to a healthy diet? Rather than forcing yourself to follow strict rules, Plantlab founder Matthew Kenney recommends a more realistic approach. "Cook [at least] one plant-based meal each week from scratch," he tells MyDomaine. "Spending time shopping for healthy and fresh ingredients and taking the time to [cook with] healthier foods is not only relaxing but also nourishing. You'll feel so healthy that you'll want to continue that habit."
Start Your Day With a Smoothie
"Commit to one smoothie a day for the next month," urges Rubin. "Guaranteeing your body a boost of nutrients and vitamins allows for everything internally to work its best. You'll notice positive results from this nourishing practice almost instantly." Pamela Nisevich Bede, MS, RD, sports dietitian for Abbott's EAS Sports Nutrition, says a smoothie is a perfect way to pack more protein into your day.
"Many people would benefit from adding satiating protein to their diets, especially in the morning when protein can be harder to come by," she says. "If ham and eggs aren't your thing, make a smoothie with protein powder mixed with a serving of vegetables, fruit, ice, and water." Packed with protein, antioxidants, and fiber, it'll help keep you feeling fuller for longer, she says.
Track Your Water Intake
We know hydration has a host of health benefits, but sometimes it can be hard to drink your fill each day. Sadie Lincoln, founder and CEO of Barre3, uses this simple but smart trick: "I remind myself to stay hydrated by placing four rubber bands on my water bottle. Each time I fill it, I take the rubber band off," she explains. "The goal is to have them all off by the end of the day. I also add fresh lemon wedges to make the water more interesting."
Bede says now's the time to incorporate drinking water into your routine, ahead of summer events. "Summer is a notorious time for barbecues, festivals, and fairs—all of which offer an abundance of potentially unhealthy food choices. To ensure you don't overeat, prioritize drinking a few glasses of water in the timeframe leading up to the event," she recommends.
She points to a study published in the journal Obesity that found drinking 16 ounces of water before a meal can lead to moderate weight loss. "This works because the water literally 'fills you up' and helps increase satiety—in other words, it helps you feel like you're full and triggers your brain to stop thinking you're hungry." Handy, right?
Set Your Alarm
It might sound simple, but Rubin says setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier can have a big impact on your daily routine. "Setting aside an extra 30 minutes in your morning for productive personal practice like movement or meditation is proven to positively shift your life. Chances are you'll be more likely get to that exercise class and not ditch your friends for a walk or run in the park, because when you lead your day with intention you get and stay motivated!"
Engage Your Core
Remembering to engage your core can have a host of benefits, from improving your posture to strengthening your abdominal muscles. Rubin says simply being more mindful about your core is all it takes to start the habit. "The most effective practice for strengthening the core is creating awareness around and giving attention to engaging those muscles all day long," she says. "So when you're sitting in your car or at your desk or doing just about anything, draw your belly button to your spine and squeeze your booty! By activating these muscles, you are instantly strengthening and toning your midsection."
Check the Scale Differently
"Checking your weight before and after you work out isn't always related to how many calories you've burned. It also is an excellent determinant of your hydration needs," says Bede. "As sweat is a major contributor to dehydration during summer sports, and it quickly evaporates off the skin in extreme temperatures, weigh yourself naked before and after exercising to gauge your sweat loss and hydration needs. Every pound lost between the beginning and end of an exercise routine represents 16 ounces of water that you've lost," she explains. "Once you lose 1% of your body weight in water, exercise performance begins to suffer, and fatigue can set in." Check the locker room scales to find out how dehydrated your body might be.
Sign Up for a Class You're Not Ready For
Quit procrastinating, says Mantas Zvinas, senior instructor at SoulCycle and founder of Surf Yoga Beer wellness retreat. "Don't think—just do! This is pretty much my life motto. The anticipation of success or failure is one of the biggest drawbacks of execution," he tells MyDomaine. If you've been putting off a tough fitness class, now's the time to make a commitment. "If you put a little pressure on yourself, and it's something you love, then you'll produce diamonds."
Looking to make more healthy changes? Add these six protein-packed foods to your diet to feel fuller for longer.