Now that the snow is gone and the yards are looking greener, many of us are gearing up for playing sports, doing yard-work/gardening, and spending more time outside or at the lake. During the winter we may have focused on getting stronger, adding valuable muscle and increasing stamina. The work that goes along with that helps to establish solid life habits that keep us healthy and fit. As we look to spend more time outside it can be easy to let those hard-earned habits slip during the summer months. It is just as important to continue training our strength & conditioning during the summer months as is it during the winter. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. Muscle burns fat (even while resting!!)
Cardio training burns calories while you are active, but not while you are at rest. Weight training helps to build muscle- and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while doing absolutely nothing! Even though strength gains are more persistent than cardio gains, muscle is still ‘use it or lose it.’ Prolonged time away from moderately-heavy resistance training (or doing high amounts of cardio-dominant activity) give the body the signal that it might not be as necessary to keep that calorie burning muscle around.

2. Muscle/Strength improves balance and performance
Everything we do requires some measure of strength, balance, and coordination. Summer sports, beach stairs, running and playing with the kids, essentially these are displays of our strength as opposed to builders of strength. As our bodies age, strength training becomes more and more important for maintaining muscle mass to improve balance and prevent injuries during everyday tasks and summer play. Regular strength training also keeps bones, ligaments and tendons strong too, so that we more resistant to bone loss, frailty and even fatigue.

3. You’ll keep looking great!
You worked hard all winter to look and feel great, so why slack off during the summer months?! Continued time at the gym will help you maintain all that lean, mean muscle mass while you go on vacation. By keeping up your gym routine instead of taking time off, you’ll be even closer to meeting your physical goals for next year too. This is important because…

4. Starting over sucks!
Remember how you felt the first couple of weeks of starting on your fitness journey? As we get older it can get harder and harder to start over, in part because we remember the soreness of those first workouts and also because we can’t just start back where we left off. By taking a break from the gym for the summer, you aren’t just putting your goals on hold, but you might actually be moving backwards! It’s easy to get off track in the summer months, with ice cream shops, patio beers and summer barbecues- but going to the gym encourages us to stay on track with our nutritional goals too! Keep momentum on your side by maintaining consistency toward your goals year round. Remember why you started, and work for it.

5. Practice makes permanent
People who have long-term success at being fit are well-practiced at prioritizing the habits that make fitness possible. Cutting out these habits when life gets busy (ie. July, August and December), reinforces the practice of stopping when life gets hectic and conditions are not perfect. Instead, practice prioritizing, reorganizing, and persevering.

Need help figuring out a way to stick with the gym this summer? Talk to a coach who can help you look at options to organize your training or set goals that you can be motivated to work on.

Your body doesn’t take time off from taking care of you, so you shouldn’t take time off from taking care of it!