Authored by: Ali Macy, WAG Certified Nutrition Coach, Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance
This post was written in collaboration with Working Against Gravity.
Summer is a conflicting time for those of us focusing on our health and nutrition.
We want to enjoy the sun, sip on a cocktail, enjoy a backyard BBQ, and spend more time thinking about our next outdoor adventure than macros and meal prepping. But we also wear less clothing and want to look and feel our best.
So what do we do? How can we drink our mojito and have it too?
Here are some tips and resources for the summer season to help you enjoy the sunshine and work towards your body composition and performance goals simultaneously.
General Summer Nutrition Tips
The key to enjoying your summer is ensuring your actions and expectations align. Frustration arises when you are hoping for an outcome that isn’t realistic, given what you’re willing to commit to.
Start by determining your summer priorities. Are you someone who likes to hang out with friends on the water every weekend while enjoying a few drinks? Do you travel a lot? Are you getting married and have specific aesthetic goals that have a strict timeline? Are you competing in functional fitness events all summer and need to focus on optimizing your performance?
From there, you can determine what level of flexibility with your nutrition works best and ensure your expectations align with your habits and actions. If you want to relax a bit on the weekends, you may need to be more precise during the week and be okay with slightly slower, but still steady, progress.
If you are trying to drop 10 lbs by your wedding day in two months, you’ll need to be much more precise and okay with some of the trade-offs necessary to make it happen (hello, mocktails!).
Determining your goals and level of flexibility is essential and can take some time, practice, and accountability. WAG coaches have helped over 30,000 people set realistic goals and decide what level of adherence and flexibility is necessary to reach them.
Nutrition Tips for Summer Barbecues
Summer barbecues and get-togethers may be planned weeks in advance, but most often, they pop up last second and can cause some stress when you’re tracking macros, already have a few meals under your belt, and know that there will be goodies around.
Here are a few of our favorite tips:
If you are lucky enough to see the BBQ coming, you can plan ahead. Think about what foods and drinks you want to prioritize at the party, plan them into your tracker then design your morning and afternoon meals around your priorities.
Depending on your macros and goals, you may find that you have to pick and choose your treats and consider trade-offs. For example, if you want a drink or two, you may not be able to fit in dessert as well.
Bring something macro-friendly to share—we recommend a protein or veggie dish, as these are usually the toughest things to find at a BBQ or party. You can rely on these to fill up remaining macros (especially if the get-together is last second) and feel fuller, so other treats don’t feel so tempting.
If you’re not tracking (or decide not to track), fill your plate with protein and veggies before picking and choosing higher carb and fat options.
Socialize far away from the snack table. Grazing while you chat is a quick way to overeat without realizing it. Instead, fill a small plate or napkin with your favorite snacks, enjoy them slowly, and focus on the company you’re with.
Alcohol Tips for Summer Sippin’
We have a host of resources to help you make choices around alcohol when you have a weight loss, health, or body composition goal.
Happy Hour Made Easy - Our free course will teach you how to track alcohol macros, and how alcohol impacts your performance, body composition, and health goals.
Is Alcohol a Macronutrient? - Learn more about what alcohol is, its role in your body, how to track alcohol correctly, and how it (may) impact weight loss.
Cocktail Party Survival Guide - How to deconstruct a cocktail and tips for social pressure when alcohol is present.
Macro Calculator Cheat Sheet - Calculate your macros based on your body, goals, and preferences.
Here’s the moral of the story: it is possible to reach your goals while enjoying a drink or two—especially if you know how to log it correctly and take the calories in your drink into account. Here’s a helpful infographic to keep on hand:
If you’re using MacrosFirst to track, you can automatically convert your alcoholic drinks to any ratio of carbs and fats with the quick convert feature.
If you have a stricter goal and timeline, you may need to keep drinks fewer and farther in between. A coach can help you determine what level of alcohol flexibility works best for you and your goals.
Hold Yourself Accountable to Your Summer Nutrition Goals with MacrosFirst
Accountability is huge when it comes to sticking with any goal.
If you’re tracking macros this summer, we recommend using MacrosFirst. Their app makes it quick and easy to plan ahead (or in real-time) for social occasions and summer sipping.
MacrosFirst will also help you hit your macros and stick with your plan when you don’t have any events so you can build overall consistency and buy yourself more wiggle room when you want a treat (or two).
Tips for Exercising in the Summer
Exercise is a key piece of body composition change and weight loss—and not just for the reason you might think. Yes, you burn calories while training, and building lean muscle can assist in the process of getting leaner, but there is more to it than that.
Your workout is 1-2 hours of your day. Your food choices and mindset play into your choices 24/7. Training has a positive impact on your mood, energy, and confidence. And at the end of the day, when you’re more confident in your choices and the results they give you, you’re more likely to continue making those choices.
Here are a few quick tips for exercising during the summer:
Stick with your habits. Routines are all the rage for a reason—they work. When you get in your workout at the same time each day, it’s easier to just do it on days when motivation is low or you “just don’t feel like it.”
Schedule around your training. If you do get invited to hang with friends or head out on the town, remember that you’re in control of your schedule. If people are meeting at 6 pm and your go-to gym time is 5 pm, let them know you’ll be a few minutes late.
Get it done early. If you’re on vacation or you know you may have plans pop up later in the day (oh hey, Friday night!), get your workout done nice and early so you don’t have to worry about it later on.
Stay hydrated. Here are some tips for working out in the summer heat.
Don’t underestimate accountability. Get a workout partner if you know you need a little extra drive to make your sessions happen. It’s often easier to let ourselves down than others, so an accountability partner can work wonders.
Keep it small. Something is almost always better than nothing. If your workout just isn’t happening, s 10-minute walk, yoga session, or combination of bodyweight movements can significantly affect mood and energy levels when a “normal workout” isn’t in the cards.
Summer Nutrition Wrap-Up
You can eat your BBQ dessert and have it too. You can enjoy the summer season and feel good in your skin simultaneously.
Make sure you’re clear on your goals before heading into the summer, and ensure your plan helps get you there. Using the MacrosFirst app to pre-plan your event-filled days so you can balance fun and your goals is a great place to start.