How to Get Fit over the Summer

Three Methods:Working OutEating RightGetting and Staying Motivated

Summer is a great time to get fit. All you need to do is eat right and exercise regularly. Join your friends and family for fun summer sports like basketball, baseball, soccer, and volleyball. Enjoy tasty summer fruits like berries and cherries. While getting in shape does take hard work, with the right plan, dedication, and motivation, you can do it.

Method 1
Working Out

  1. 1
    Start with a stretch.[1] Though the benefits of stretching are ambiguous, stretching can help you improve flexibility and blood flow to muscles while decreasing risk for injury. Stretches can flex your calves, thighs, lower back, neck, hips, and shoulders.
    • Do a quick walk or a light jog for about five minutes before stretching.
    • Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.[2] For instance, if you sit on a pad or mat with both legs out in front of you and try to touch your toes, hold the position for 30 seconds.
    • Focus on stretches that relate to your workout. For instance, if you’re going for a jog, your stretches should work the hamstrings, calves, and ankles.
    • You can end your workout with a stretching session too, if you wish.
  2. 2
    Play a sport.[3] Summer is a great time for outdoor sports. Volleyball, tennis, and soccer are all great summer sports that can help you get fit. Sports are an especially great way to get fit during the summer if you are competitive.
  3. 3
    Get involved in your community.[4] Many communities host triathlons, yoga classes, and runs during the summer. Some might also offer the opportunity to join a community basketball or soccer team. Check your local community events page online or contact community development organizations and ask if they offer fitness classes or sports programs.[5]
  4. 4
    Head into the great outdoors.[6] Walking and biking in the forest is a great way to get fit during the summer. Enjoy the fresh air, the quietude, and the simplicity of communing with nature. Lose yourself on a mountain path or a hiking trail. Visit your local public park for hiking and biking opportunities.
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    Go running.[7][8] Running is a low-cost exercise that can get you fit quickly. All you need is a comfortable, well-fitting pair of tennis shoes and your legs to take you wherever you want to run. You could run along a natural trail, on a community track, or on a treadmill.
    • Start by walking for about five minutes. This will stretch and warm up your leg muscles.
    • Start at a time or distance you feel comfortable with. For instance, you might start out by running ten minutes each day. Add minutes or distance every few days to continue building your running endurance and strength.
    • When you’re close to finishing your run, sprint hard for about thirty to sixty seconds. If you do this before ending your run every time, you’ll be able to build speed as well as endurance during your runs.
    • When you’re done running, walk around for about five minutes to cool down.
  6. 6
    Hit the gym.[9] Working out at the gym offers tons of options and possibilities for getting fit. Try a variety of exercises and focus on the ones you like best.
    • Cardio (or aerobic) workouts involve working the heart in whole-body exercises like biking, running, jumping rope, or walking.
    • Anaerobic workouts could include bench presses, push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats. These are the best exercises for burning fat and building muscle.
    • Switch back and forth between cardio and anaerobic exercises. For instance, run for 30 minutes, then do 30 pushups.
    • If you're unfamiliar with gym equipment or certain exercises, ask the staff for assistance. For an added cost, many gyms also offer personal workout trainers to help you develop a routine that works for you.
  7. 7
    Start small.[10] It’s best to start small when getting fit. For instance, start out by walking or running two miles each day, depending on your current physical fitness level. After you can easily do two miles (usually after a week or so of daily workouts), start doing two and a half miles. Increase your distance to three miles after another week. Continue adding distance until you feel you’re working out at your maximum capability.

Method 2
Eating Right

  1. 1
    Keep a food diary.[11] A food diary is a log in which you record everything you eat, along with its calorie count, each day. A good way to keep a food diary is to record your meals and snacks on your phone. You could use a simple notation file to track your meals, or you could try an app like MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, or Noom Coach.[12]
    • Since you’re not just monitoring what you eat, but also working out, it’s a good idea to add a workout aspect to this food diary, too. Add two additional columns to each day’s diary entries briefly describing the day’s workout routine and tallying how many calories you estimate you burned.
  2. 2
    Eat fruits and vegetables.[13] The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are almost too numerous to list. The high water content in fruits and veggies will leave you feeling full but not add a significant calorie load to your diet. Their high fiber content will keep your gut clean and operating efficiently. Fruit contains many phytochemicals (naturally occurring compounds) that promote good health.[14]
    • Aim to eat at least two cups of produce each day.
  3. 3
    Get lots of fiber.[15] Foods with fiber take longer to digest than less-fibrous foods, meaning the will keep you feeling full longer. In addition to fruits and vegetables, popcorn, brown rice, and whole grain bread are some foods that pack in fiber that can get you fit during the summer.
  4. 4
    Avoid fatty foods.[16] Unless you’re adhering to a very intense workout schedule, you should try to limit your fat intake. Stay away from fast food, fatty snacks like potato chips, and other junk foods. Get your fats from avocado, olive oil, peanut butter, nuts and other natural sources of fat for your fat needs.
    • Saturated fats are especially bad for your heart health. These are fats that can raise your blood pressure quickly. No more than 5% of your daily calories (or about 13 grams) should be from saturated fats.[17]
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    Eat early.[18] Have an adequate (but not too big) breakfast. Try to eat most of your calories by 3:00 each day. If you eat most of your calories earlier in the day, you’ll be able to draw on that energy throughout the day and won’t need to eat as much as the day continues. This will keep you from eating continuously throughout the day.
    • Granola with banana or berries makes a great breakfast. Other healthy options include whole-grain toast with jam, oatmeal with fruit, or a vegetable smoothie.
  6. 6
    Don’t deny yourself everything. You might struggle with the temptation to eat fatty, sugary, and salty foods -- the very foods that you should avoid when trying to get and stay fit. Unless you have superhuman will power, you might give in to their temptations sometimes. You should not set up specific rules against eating any one food.[19]
    • Summer is a great time to eat ice cream, for instance. As long as you don’t make a regular habit of having a post-workout ice-cream cone -- thus negating any benefits you might have gained from working out -- it’s probably okay for you to have some ice cream once in a while.
    • Maintain portion control when eating foods that you usually wouldn’t indulge in.

Method 3
Getting and Staying Motivated

  1. 1
    Make a list detailing why you want to get fit.[20] For instance, you might want to have more energy. You might want to give yourself a more positive mental outlook. Maybe you just want to achieve overall good health. Whatever your reason(s), list them and be specific. Tack this list to your fridge or another visible location and consult it daily, especially when you feel tired from your exercise regimen.
  2. 2
    Set your goals.[21] Do not go into the summer without solid goals. Ensure your fitness goals are achievable, realistic, and specific. For instance, do not make a goal like, “I want to get fit.” Instead, make a goal with quantifiable data, like, “I want to lose ten pounds,” or “I want to be able to do fifty pushups.”
    • A realistic weight loss goal is to lose two pounds each week. Use this baseline to determine how much you can lose.
    • Don’t schedule gym time for yourself every day if you cannot make it to the gym each day.
    • Getting fit will be hard.[22] Expect to put in lots of work to get fit over the summer.
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    Create a plan.[23] Now that you know your goals, figure out how you can achieve them. Your plan should include both an exercise and nutrition aspect. Write the plan down.
    • Your nutrition aspect might be, for instance, “Consume no more than 1,800 calories each day.”
    • Your exercise aspect of the plan might read, “Exercise for one hour each day except Wednesday and Sunday.”
    • Feel free to modify your plan as the summer progresses. If you think your current plan is too rigorous -- or not rigorous enough -- add or remove steps and benchmarks as needed.
  4. 4
    Incorporate fitness technology into your summer.[24] There are a variety of apps available that can help you get fit over the summer. Fitness tracking devices like FitBit can also be helpful in helping you monitor your progress and achieve your goals.
    • Yogaia is a mobile app that provides guidance and training for yoga moves. Use it to do yoga on your own and save money on classes.
    • Lifesum is an app that provides a personalized nutrition plan based on how much you exercise and what your fitness goals are.
    • Use a health and fitness tracking device like FitBit to help you track your biometrics (the data of your body). FitBit can track how far you’ve run, how many steps you’ve taken, and what your heartbeat is during different times of day.
  5. 5
    Take pictures of yourself each week.[25] Look back over these pictures, and compare each new picture to pictures from prior weeks. If you are on track with your fitness goals, your body will become visibly toned and muscular. You can use these images to remind yourself how far you’ve come on your path to good health.
    • You could also post the pictures on social media to receive praise and positive feedback from friends and family. This feedback can also function as a great source of motivation.
  6. 6
    Get support. If you have friends who have also expressed interest in getting fit over the summer, propose a contest in which the individual who loses the most weight over the summer wins. A friendly contest among friends or coworkers can motivate all of you.[26]
    • Money is also a great motivator. For an added twist, you and your friends could put up some money as a prize for whoever loses the most weight. If you and five friends put in $20, the winner could get $100 at the end of the summer.
    • You could also make a rule that if someone doesn’t lose at least one pound by the end of each week (compared to their previous week’s weight), they must add $10 to the prize pot.
  7. 7
    Have fun.[27] Getting in shape can be a challenge, but it can also provide great opportunities for fun. Invite your friends to go walking or swimming with you. Get a gym buddy to accompany you on your workouts.
    • Exercise also produces endorphins, a kind of biological chemical that makes you feel good.
    • Thinking about your workouts as something other than drudgery can help you stay on track. Think of your workout sessions as personal time, or a personal reward or mini-vacation from your regular work life.[28]


  • Take a multivitamin each day. That way your body will have all the vitamins and minerals it needs.


  • If you can't lift a certain amount of weight with perfect form, reduce the amount of weight you're lifting.
  • Do not take steroids or artificial enhancements. They will have a negative effect on your body in the long run.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Motivation to Exercise