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Successful Summer-Four Tips to Navigate the Summer Spread

While getting some movement in recently, the smell of barbecue was hanging in the neighborhood. I was reminded of one of my favorite aspects of the summer season-the FOOD. While this season brings me joy, a much-needed sun and social fix after a drizzly north Idaho winter, and flavors and foods I don’t take the time to prepare the rest of the year, I do try to keep a few things in mind when I am navigating the bountiful opportunities to enjoy and indulge.

Although I very much look forward to the warm months and summer traditions, it does take effort to keep my eyes on the prize. When it comes to nutrition, the topic of consistency comes up time and time again. I want my training and fueling strategies to align with what I am working towards. I try to savor every event but keep my long-term goals and needs in mind. Knowing and understanding your needs and keeping the following 4 things in mind might make the difference in feeling stressed about the havoc all of the great offerings might wreak on your progress, or feeling cool and confident you’ll strike a balance and continue to make progress.

Move a little extra – If you know your needs and anticipate enjoying a little extra, use the lengthy periods of daylight to your advantage. If you live in a northern latitude, you’re likely experiencing some changes in your biological clock as we pass the longest day of the year. If you find yourself indulging a bit more and know you’ll be doing so more in the coming weeks, plan to increase your overall activity level. Maybe this looks like taking the opportunity to really see some of the places you’re traveling. This could be getting in additional movement on local trails and exploring your surroundings before or after whatever event you’re attending. And if you are training more this time of year in preparation for a trip, make sure to adjust your intake to properly fuel performance in your training and promote recovery. 

Embrace what’s fresh (and maybe on sale!) and come prepared– Take advantage of the bargains to be had in the summer on lean meats and the freshness and availability of produce. Packing a cooler and snack bag with various categories of prepped items can make a weekend trip, beach day, or sporting event more budget friendly as well as allow you to stay on track to meet your predetermined needs. If you think you’re attending a potluck or BBQ that might be lacking a dish or foods that will help balance your nutrition out, plan to bring those items with you.  

The power of hydration – Don’t underestimate it, but there’s also no need to get too scientific here. With the warmer drier season, baseline needs for water are greater without even considering additional needs for exercising in the summery conditions. Try this simple calculation to estimate your water needs: use body weight in lbs / 2 to get your starting ounces per day. For example, a 200 lb person would need 100 oz of water per day as a baseline. If you feel like you’re drowning in this much water, try making it more appealing by adding fruit or sliced citrus, electrolyte mixes, or other flavorings to encourage drinking.

Don’t stress– Have (a modest amount of) everything your heart desires! Remember it’s not going to totally derail your fitness, health, or physique to indulge some, but finding balance in moderate portions and limiting alcohol and sugary beverage consumption may help you enjoy, but not overdo it. I am a firm believer and live by the mantra “All Foods Fit”, and think granting ourselves the opportunity to come together over shared meals and libations can feed something much deeper within. 

So, enjoy coming together over food and sharing those priceless memories. Food is more than just macro and micronutrients when we think about it this way, but keeping portions in check and holding yourself accountable can allow you to enjoy as many special occasions as you can fit in your schedule this summer. All this without harming the long-haul effort invested in the goal(s) you’ve set, or time spent preparing for your next big hunt or event.


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