As the days grow longer, you may find yourself dreaming of lying out on warm, sandy beaches or jumping into cool alpine lakes after a long (and rewarding) hike. Summer is a time for outdoor activities galore — and you want to navigate the world in a body that you feel confident in.
Let's start by acknowledging that a "perfect summer body" is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Your body is ready for summer, whether you're shaped like a juicy strawberry or a sweet pear. After all, aren’t fruit salads what make summertime picnics so ap-peal-ing?
While we don’t support conforming to a certain body type, we do embrace healthy living — and nourishing and moving our summer bodies in the ways they deserve. That’s why we’ve lined up five tips to help you embrace your summer body with confidence.
#1 Fuel Your Body
Knowing how to get a so-called perfect summer body comes down to knowing how to nourish our summer bodies.
Although funnel cakes, shaved ice and hot dogs are certainly summer staples (and certainly worth indulging in when the craving strikes), a summer diet built upon sugars, saturated fats and sodium will quickly crumble without the support of whole foods.
Whole foods include anything you can likely gather from your garden — or a local farm. That is, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy and lean meats like chicken or fish.
Fortunately, come summertime, seasonal fruits and veg practically overflow from grocery store shelves and farmer’s market stands. While it may be unhealthy to base all of your meals off a carnival food court, you can still treat yourself to summer staples that are both delicious and healthy, such as:
Fresh salads – A fresh salad of leafy greens like spinach, arugula, kale or romaine lettuce are extremely dense in nutrients, nourishing your body with vitamins A, C and K, as well as iron, calcium and folate. To add more layers of nutrients and flavor, consider topping your salad with vision-aiding carrots, immune-supporting strawberries or antioxidant-rich okra.
Smoothie bowls – Nothing complements a beachside breeze better than a smoothie bowl, and, perhaps, a slathering of sunscreen. Smoothie bowls, made popular by the illustrious acai bowl, are incredibly versatile: You can add a slew of seasonal produce, such as bananas, blueberries, cucumbers, honeydew melons, mangos, peaches and raspberries. You can also incorporate a whey protein powder for added nutrient-rich creaminess.
Grilled fish or chicken – Evoke the essence of a Mexican vacation with grilled fish or chicken tacos. Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as calcium, phosphorus and a medley of minerals: iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium. And the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week. Similarly, grilled chicken provides a bevy of health benefits and can help support heart health, muscle growth and weight management.
Avocado creations – Avocados are light, fresh and seasonal, making for an ideal summer staple that packs a nutrient-rich punch. They’re high in healthy fats, which can support cardiovascular health — an exceptional boon if your fun under the sun involves intense cardio, such as running, surfing, biking or swimming. Top a slice of whole-grain toast with avocado or begin your fish taco fiesta with a bowl of creamy guacamole, complete with lime and jalapeño pepper.
Unlike the participants you may ogle at during an afternoon food competition, it’s best to consume your food in moderation. That said, avoid starving yourself or denying yourself food when your body is telling you it’s hungry.
Rather, practice mindful eating habits. As you chow down on your chips and guac, pay attention to the emotional and sensory experience of eating. Does the lime make your tongue tingle? Does the spice of the jalapeño drift into your nose?
Paying attention to all five senses while you eat can help you eat more slowly and listen to your physical hunger cues so that you can stop eating once you feel full.
Drinking enough water every day is critical to your health, particularly on hot tepid days when sweat-soaked clothes are the norm. More specifically, hydration can help to:
Regulate body temperature
Support immune health
Provide nutrients to cells
Keep organs functioning properly
Recent recommendations have upped the ante on the number of cups of water we should drink a day: The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends that women drink 11 cups of water daily, while men require 16 cups.
To make it more enjoyable, infuse your water with vibrant, juicy fruits and vegetables, such as:
Replacing a sparkling soda with sparkling, fruit-infused water can also help curb sugar intake, which can often contribute to weight gain and other health issues.
Water’s great for your skin, too. Drinking enough water can help improve your skin’s elasticity to keep it looking healthy, glowy and vibrant.
#3 Protect Your Skin
As we head into the summer months, it's extremely important to remember to take care of our skin. While the sunshine may feel amazing and deliver plenty of vitamin D to our bodies, it can also be harmful if we don't protect ourselves properly.
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause the appearance of premature aging and may also contribute to wrinkles, liver spots and leathery patches.
Fortunately, water intake isn’t the only way to support your skin’s radiance.
Before you head out for a day in the sun, make sure to:
Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30
Wear protective clothing
Seek shade during the hottest parts of the day
Keep in mind, protecting your skin doesn't mean sacrificing a summer bod tan — just make sure to tan safely by applying and reapplying sunscreen. Your skin is your body's largest organ, and it's worth taking care of.
#4 Move In Ways Your Body Enjoys
While diet and exercise are often the focus when it comes to getting an "ideal summer body" or learning how to lose weight naturally, it's important to remember that movement is about more than just burning calories.
Moving our bodies in ways that feel good can not only help us feel more confident and comfortable in our skin, but can also improve our overall health and well-being.
So, how can we move our bodies in ways that we actually enjoy?
It's important to listen to our bodies and tune into what makes us feel alive. To learn what works for you, spend your free time exploring a variety of types of movement, such as:
Once we find an activity we love, we’re more likely to stick with it and make movement a regular part of our lives. Remember that movement doesn't have to be a chore. You can find joy in the mental and emotional aspects of physical movement.
For instance, going for a walk outside can not only improve our physical health, but it can also reduce stress and boost our mood. Additionally, we can incorporate movement into our daily routines in ways that feel natural and enjoyable. This may mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking during our lunch break or simply dancing around the house while we clean.
That said, you can find joy in your gym’s weight room, too. No matter what activity you choose, physical exercise can help to:
Support brain health
Facilitate muscle growth
Improve joint movements
Support heart health
#5 Prioritize Rest and Recovery
After a strenuous day at the gym or a challenging power yoga session, we may wake up the next day feeling sore, tense and achy. This is why it's critical to include a few rest days in your movement routine. Rest days can:
Support muscle growth
Reduce muscle fatigue
Improve physical performance
Why is this so important to your summer body goals?
When we workout, we create tiny tears in our muscle fibers, and it's during the recovery period that these tears heal and rebuild, resulting in stronger muscles — and perhaps the beachside six-pack of your dreams.
But rest days aren't just important for physical recovery; they can also benefit our mental and emotional well-being. By taking a break from our regular workout routine, we can reduce stress and improve our sleep quality, which can have a positive impact on our overall health and fitness goal aspirations.
It's also important to note that rest days don't have to mean complete inactivity.
Low-intensity activities like stretching, walking or gentle yoga can still promote recovery while allowing our bodies to rest and recharge. So, make sure to listen to your body and give yourself permission to take a break when needed.
Nourish Your Summer Body With INVIGOR8
Learning how to get the ideal summer body starts with loving the body you're in — and loving it enough to make decisions that support your overall wellness. To keep your body looking and feeling healthy, prioritize movement, rest, hydration and nourishment.
Whether you’re looking for weight loss support or tips for nourishing your body, INVIGOR8’s Superfood Shakes have what you need. Made with whey protein and a bevy of nutrients, minerals and vitamins, our shakes are the perfect addition to any smoothie bowl — and your summertime wellness routine.
Our weight-loss products all work great on their own, but they work even better together! Try our Superfood Shake in combination with our Collagen Peptides or Fat Burner to promote healthy weight loss.