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The summer months are fleeting — and when calendars fill and days feel as if they’re flying by, it’s tempting to veer from regular routines or deprioritize fitness goals. Yet each summer day, no matter how scheduled, is an opportunity to keep working toward building and maintaining strength and muscle mass.

“You can embrace the summer season by staying active outdoors, enjoying refreshing and nutritious seasonal foods, and prioritizing rest and recovery,” says Madison Shaw, RDN, CPT, Dynamic Personal Trainer and nutrition coach at Life Time in Miami, Fla. “These strategies can help you maintain your fitness and overall well-being while making the most of your sunny days.”

Avery Price, Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in Pickerington, Ohio, adds, “I place a large emphasis on having a growth mindset when training my clients. The end goal is to develop a healthier way of life that’s sustainable all year long. Just because you happen to be busy in the summer doesn’t mean you can’t still reach your fitness goals.”

To help keep you inspired, we asked Shaw and Price to share their top tips for building and maintaining strength in the summer months.

1. Opt for shorter, higher-intensity workouts.

When you’re short on time, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit-training workouts can be done in 20 to 30 minutes, says Shaw. “It doesn’t have to be an hour-long workout to be effective,” she emphasizes. “Instead, focus on consistency each week.”

“If you only have 15 or 20 minutes, take a look at the on-demand workouts in the Life Time app,” says Price. “This is my favorite tool for getting in a quick workout on vacation or somewhere I have minimal equipment. Resistance bands are also a great travel-friendly equipment option.”

2. Embrace nontraditional forms of exercise.

Movement comes in many different forms — and summer often brings a variety of activities beyond traditional workouts. “Try getting outdoors and doing an activity you love,” Shaw suggests. “For me that’s wakeboarding, woodworking, and gardening. You’d be surprised how much your strength training in the gym pays off when you’re lifting bags of soil!”

3. Switch up your routine.

Your summer regimen may look different than the rest of the year, and that’s OK, says Price. “Summer plans and activities with your family and friends are an opportunity to change up your routine,” she says. “Get your kids involved in your workouts while they’re off school, meet up with friends to go for walks, or set aside time on vacation for outdoor activities like hiking or playing sports.”

4. Hit your protein goals with summer-friendly flavors.

Protein helps repair cells and create new ones, which are critical for building and maintaining muscle tissue. “Prioritizing your protein early in the day can help keep you satiated and make it easier to reach your protein goals throughout the day,” says Shaw. Make the habit more fun by also incorporating the fresh flavors of summer.

Protein shakes: Blend your choice of fruits or in-season produce with a serving of your favorite Life Time protein powder. “I like to do a mix of frozen berries, banana, Greek yogurt, and vanilla protein powder for a refreshing morning or post-workout shake,” says Shaw.

Try this recipe:Lemon-Berry Cupcake Shake

Protein popsicles: Blend a serving of protein powder with coconut water or nondairy milk and pour the mixture into popsicle molds. “I love to make these to enjoy on a hot day,” says Shaw.

Try adding protein powder to one of these recipes: “9 Delicious and Healthy Ice Pop Recipes

Greek yogurt protein parfaits: Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries, a drizzle of honey, and some granola for a protein-infused breakfast, snack, or midday treat. You could even mix a serving of protein powder into the Greek yogurt for an extra boost.

Try this recipe: “Red, White, and Blue Parfait”

Grab-and-go protein snacks: Keeping protein-forward snacks handy can help you stay fueled on a busy summer day. “I love to keep things like meat sticks, cheese sticks, energy bites, and even protein powder in my bag just in case I need something in a pinch,” says Shaw.

Try this recipe: “Raspberry Lemon Cake Energy Bites

5. Embrace rest and recovery days.

Rest and recovery are crucial for muscle growth and overall health, according to experts. And as busy as it is, the summer brings opportunities to slow down, including relaxing poolside and enjoying outdoor walks.

“I like to incorporate light activities like outdoor gentle yoga, stretching, or swimming on rest days,” says Shaw. “The goal is to keep your body moving without stressing your muscles.”

If stress levels from physical demands are too high, it can hinder muscle growth and recovery, notes Price. “I like to walk outside as a form of active recovery to improve circulation and help knock out soreness, while still enjoying the summer weather,” she says.

Because summer can be busy, Shaw adds that she always tells her clients to pay attention to how their body feels and to not push through pain or excessive fatigue.

6. Stay hydrated.

Drinking enough water is key to muscle function, while electrolytes (which are important for water-balance regulation) help control muscle contractions. When we’re dehydrated, muscles receive less oxygen and become prone to fatigue and cramping.

“It’s important to stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat or after an outdoor workout,” says Shaw. “Proper hydration aids recovery and overall health. I recommend supplementing with electrolytes — adding LTH Hydrate in the blood orange flavor to my water is my absolute favorite way to stay hydrated.”

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Health Facebook group.

Emily Ewen

Emily Ewen is a senior writer and content editor at Life Time.

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