How to stay on track with your goals this summer

Our easy tips for making progress toward your fitness goals, without sacrificing the joys of summer.

Ellie Brewer

As the summer months approach, it can be so easy to let our physical activity goals fall to the wayside. The sun is out, the lake is calling, and we have the chance to get together with friends and family we haven’t seen in a long time. I want to share some tips you can use this summer to continue to prioritize your goals in the gym while also taking time to enjoy the summer and everything it entails.

80/20 mindset

Summer is a great time to employ this mindset if you haven’t already. It means that you don’t need to focus on being perfect and taking steps towards your goals 100% of the time. If you’re in an “all or nothing” mindset, it’s far more likely that you’ll give up on a goal after you take a misstep or a “backwards” step (like enjoying a night out with friends). Instead, try following a rule that 80% of the time, your diet should consist of whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein sources). For the other 20% of the time, you can make room for food and activities you enjoy - the things that make life enjoyable. Remind yourself that food is so much more than fuel, and it is also tied to memories, friends, and family. With that being said, after an event with friends or a night out, hold yourself accountable to getting right back to that 80% mindset the following day. 


For many of us, this is our downfall when it comes to hitting weight loss goals we may have. There are three macronutrients in the food we eat that we get energy from: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But there is also a third substance that provides us with energy, and that is alcohol. 

1g carbohydrate = 4 kcal

1g protein = 4 kcal

1g fat = 9 kcal

1g alcohol = 7 kcal

The key to this information is knowing that the three macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein) provide us with energy AND other nutrients we need to stay alive (think calcium, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals). When we drink alcohol, all we get is energy (which in itself is not inherently bad). However, the way our body breaks down alcohol to get that energy is toxic, and can lead to a lot of negative side effects if we chronically drink alcohol in excess. 

Of course, the occasional drink is not going to kill you, and I want to highlight some ways you can enjoy alcohol while still working towards your goals this summer. 

  1. Take a break between drinks. Once you finish a beer or a seltzer, don’t reach for another one immediately. Alternate between water and alcohol to help stay hydrated and drink less alcohol overall.

  2. Don’t skip meals to make room for alcohol. This may seem tempting as a way to stay within a calorie budget, but by missing a meal you’re skipping all the micronutrients and other vital components found in food. In addition to this, alcohol will give you energy, but it won’t make you feel full, so you’ll be more likely to grab something convenient later on that might not be the best choice for your goals. 

  3. Try a new drink. Some of the allure of drinking is not wanting to miss out, or simply wanting something cold and refreshing. If your friends and family are all sipping on something at a barbeque, it’s understandable if you don’t want to be the only one not drinking something. Try experimenting with some different mocktails so you get the taste and feel of a drink without the alcohol. Here are some yummy mocktail recipe ideas.

Barbecues and summer gatherings

I love summer barbecues. The whole atmosphere, being around friends and family, and the delicious food make these summer moments incredibly special. One simple switch you can make stay on track towards your goals this summer is to choose meats with a lower fat content. Some examples of healthy swaps are choosing chicken, fish, or lean burgers (90% lean/10% fat) instead of higher fat meats like ribs, pork chops, or steak. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out those foods entirely, but if you grill out 1-2 times each week, you could make an effort to choose the lower fat options for 3 weeks each month and include the higher fat options 1-2 times each month. 

Referring back to the 80/20 mindset reminds us that there is room for every food in a healthy diet if it is eaten in moderation. Try pairing some of those lean meats with roasted veggies for a well rounded meal. If you’re looking for some meal inspiration, here are some great summer recipes to try that combine veggies and lean meats.

Get your movement in 

It can be SO hard to prioritize getting into the gym when all you want to do is be outside and soak in the sun. This is where we have to remind ourselves of our goals and stick to them. I challenge all of you to make it into the gym for strength and conditioning training at least 2 times a week this summer. It might not be the 3-4 times per week you’re used to with your winter schedule, but it will help maintain and build your skeletal muscle mass and strength. 

On the days when you don’t get to Rise, choose to go out for a walk, play pickleball, go for a run, rollerblade, or get in on a game of pickup basketball or volleyball. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re moving your body on those days that you’re not strength training. Our schedules are going to be busy this summer, but you know what it takes to carve out time in your day to get a workout in. I know you can do it!