Motivation To Keep Showing Up For Workouts During Summer For Gym Goers
Phew looks like Summer is finally here! Let’s all celebrate by hitting the gym… said no one ever.
Yeah, hot weather is a tricky one, mainly for people who don’t get that much of it (like us here in the UK). It might take a little while to adapt to it. Heat feels great when you have time to be sluggish, or just laying down on the beach, sitting outside having a fresh drink or an ice cream. But working out and sweating is not exactly what most of us feel like doing, right?
However you can’t realistically expect to maintain a good level of body mobility, health, strength, or whatever your goals might be, if you ruin your workout routine for weeks or even months.
So what do you do to get motivated to go to the gym during Summer?
As always, mindset is one of the most important factor. There’s a couple key things that can help you put yourself in a (mental) place where you’ll be able to reframe your idea of working out in the Summer. So let’s start by going over those, and then pass onto a few tips on how you can actually adapt your workout routine to the hot season to also make it easier on your body, without ‘losing’ the results of the hard work you’ve put in so far.
Firstly, remind yourself that your body can adapt to new circumstances. So do not let your mind trick you into thinking that you’ll spend months under torture just because your first few workout sessions feel harder than they used to. Besides everything else, your body is working hard trying to keep you from heating too much, so it’s normal to feel less energetic, mainly in the beginning when you’re not used to this extra energy expenditure. But if you use this as a justification to stop keeping your body active and keeping your health in check, that will only last longer. However, if you keep pushing (even if you need to adapt your workout which we’ll talk about further down in this post), your body will get used to it and you’ll soon feel like life is good again. And by ‘life’ I mean training, of course.
Secondly, the Summer ‘sluggishness’ is probably also affecting other areas in your life, like for example keeping focused at work. So think of your workout routine as a driver to your performance in all the other areas in your life. By finding a summer workout routine that works for you, you’ll be able to keep yourself more energised throughout the hot season and perform better in general.
Thirdly (and lastly, to keep it short), if you need a little more to get you going, think of all the reasons why it is important to keep working out throughout the Summer. Write down reasons why it’ll be great for you. It might be a little hard to start but push it a little and once you get the first two or three, more will come. Write quite a few, like ten or more, so you make sure you have plenty of reasons to combat the only one on the other side, the ‘why I shouldn't workout’ column, which will be something like “uh… ‘cause I don’t feel like it”. Then look at that list and you’ll be much more likely to feel that you were perhaps overreacting a little when you thought going to the gym felt like the ultimate sacrifice.
Tips For Adapting Your Workout To The Hot Season - or feel better whilst doing it
An easy way of making your workout sessions feel less overwhelming is to adjust the volume and duration of your session, as well as how much break you take. This will depend a little from person to person. Some people find it the hardest to take that first step out of the house to go to the gym - I call it the Summer inertia. If you belong to this group, you might find it easier to reduce the frequency of your workouts for a while. For example, do full body 2-3 times a week instead of breaking your workouts into upper/lower body sessions and training more frequently.
If this makes you worry about your calorie consumption, consider skipping breakfast to save some calories on the days you don’t train. You can still ‘trick’ your belly with a morning latte and save the rest to the late morning for example, so that you can manage your calories more easily.
Other people are still ok with going to the gym but find themselves feeling much more exhausted than usual after a workout, which then impacts negatively the rest of their day. If this sounds like you, then consider breaking your workout sessions into smaller chunks and exercise more frequently, so that instead of feeling completely drained after a workout you can ‘spread’ your energy reserves across several shorter sessions throughout the week.
Increasing the duration of your breaks is also a good way to allow you to manage your energy better and not feel too exhausted - to the point that you don’t feel like doing anything else afterwards. Then as you adapt to the heat, you might feel like you’re able to progressively shorten your breaks between exercises.
Try different things! Say you've been training for a while now, and have thought about shaking things up a little by learning Olympic lifting for example. Or boxing. Or training for a marathon. Why not try it now? That initial excitement of trying something new might be just what you need to keep you going.
Also, wear fresher clothes. Not necessarily less clothes mind me, as feeling your sweat trickling between your body and a bench is really unpleasant, plus you don’t want a bar slipping on your sweaty back when performing a heavy squat. A nice cotton t-shirt that doesn’t make you sweat any more than you have to and helps keep the sweat out of your skin, will keep your mind focused on the workout instead of your discomfort.
Finally, consider working out early in the day. The temperature is lower, the gyms are emptier, and everything is more pleasant. Besides, if you get it done first thing in the morning, you won’t have the whole day to convince yourself that it’s ok to skip gym ‘just this once’. If you’re one of the extreme cases that are deadly allergic to mornings, perhaps consider the exact opposite: working out late. Not as great, but it’s still fresher and some gyms will be less crowded than during the day.
I hope you really use the tips given in this post to adjust your workout routine and sessions in a way that makes it optimal for your lifestyle, energy levels and personality. Apart from the obvious health benefits, you will also feel accomplished and energised for the rest of your day, and tackle the heat season like never before!