I am always cold. No matter what time of year it is, you can always find me bundled up in a blanket or two trying to get warm and cozy. That should leave no doubt in your mind what my favorite season is… summer! Boosted temperatures and long days are my absolute faves! First of all, I can take it easy with the extra layers as I stroll the lovely streets of Vancouver. But my favorite part of the warmth and long days is the ample time afforded to get out and explore the mountains, water, and every other nook and cranny that beautiful BC has to offer!
For an outdoorsy explorer like myself, ever since my dad set me off on the trails and under the stars on my first camping trip, I was hooked. Sure, it’s a bit harder as a grown-up-kid performing mental musical chairs with the schedule to fit in the maximum amount of mini getaways for the summer, but every second spent away from civilization is a serious recharge of my batteries. Although I’m never stoked for the onset of winter, I am way more consistent with my fitness routine in the winter because I spend lots of time indoors working out. If you’re like me, then the fitness progress I’ve made during all the time spent inside the gym and yoga studio escaping the constant drizzle definitely takes a backseat to my love of camping, road trips, and beach retreats during the summer. And for the past couple years, that has been a tradeoff I’ve just come to grips with.
This year, though, I’ve decided I’m just not going to accept this compromise! So, I took a proactive approach and planned a way to have the best of both worlds. Here are my three tips to have your cake and eat it too this summer:
Set outdoors goals and prioritize top fitness areas that you can’t let slip
Identify fitness areas you’re ok with letting slide a bit, and see if you can pair those with complementary outdoor fitness activities to pick up the slack
Identify how the summer season is unique and make changes in nutrition and supplementation that will be key in fueling your body to reach these summer-specific goals
To give you some inspiration or just an idea for how to get creative with your summertime hobbies, I will share my answers to this three-pronged approach.
Goal: get outside, camp and hike as much as possible on the weekends. As far as fitness goes, at worst I’d like to maintain the gym progress that I busted my butt so hard for in the fall, winter, and spring. Specifically, for me, this is primarily yoga-related core and handstand strength and stability, as well as lower body strength and agility built inside with weights and plyometrics. So, I will aim to target these areas three days during the week, leaving my weekends entirely open for hiking, camping, and travel!
Indoor cardio and running are never my fave, so it won’t break my heart to let those fall by the wayside this summer! Plus, increasing my volume of hiking and backpacking trips on weekends will slot nicely into the “cardio” category anyways! Time saved and crisis averted!
Living in a city like Vancouver is super conducive to checking boxes one and two. For urban fitness, there are so many yoga and fitness studios I love, and aiming for a reasonable goal like three days a week isn’t a daunting task. Goals are supposed to be reachable right! For the “outdoor cardio”, this year I have several destinations in mind. I’d love to make a return road trip to Banff (link), and I am making it a priority to do the grueling trek up to Panorama Ridge again! This place might just be might favorite spot anywhere. With Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk all within sight, this trip makes for the ultimate weekend trip.
I’m slowly realizing that health isn’t always about working out our muscles! With the blazing sun finally emerging, we need to be cognizant of our skin! Those intense UV rays can wreak havoc, and I am being way more vigilant this year by applying sunscreen, as well as covering up more and wearing a hat if I’m hiking during midday when the sun’s rays are most intense. However, with skin cancer prevention on my mind, I am also making sure not to forget that blocking UV rays also means that I need to compensate by taking a vitamin D supplement. Even though our bodies produce vitamin D naturally through exposure to the sun, I’d much rather take the safe road and satisfy my daily requirement of vitamin D through simple supplementation rather than risking crispy burns with potentially cancerous consequences down the road.
For this third and final goal, the first part is easy. Long sleeves and pants are a must when you’re trekking through the backcountry - mosquitoes are the worst! So blocking the sun’s UV rays is an added bonus. Top it off with sunscreen and you’re all set. If you’re anything like me, choosing a brand of supplements can be nerve wracking though. After chatting with like-minded others and doing a bunch of research myself, I decided to go with Jamieson vitamin D. I went with Jamieson because of their commitment to quality - they guarantee their products are the highest quality available, and they’re consistently voted Canada’s most trusted brand of vitamins. But let’s get real, if you don’t actually enjoy taking the supplement, you probably won’t. That’s another reason I went with Jamieson. They’ve got a whole line of vitamin D products to get your daily dose. I love their vitamin D3 tablets, but they also make gummies, sprays, and chewables if you don’t like taking pills. No matter what method you go with, you’ll feel the peace of mind knowing you’re supporting the health of your bones, teeth, and immune function. I’m also excitedly anticipating the arrival of a new baby, so I will be using their vitamin D3 droplets for the little one in the coming months! Lastly, I also love that Jamieson is partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society, and they’ve been working on a national sun safety campaign to raise awareness about safe sun exposure and raise funds for cancer research.
Well, there you have my three tips to master the outdoors, the gym, and boost your health this summer! With experience (a.k.a. lots of failures) and just a little bit of planning, I find I can usually put my mind at easy and make the most of these amazing summers. I hope my tips give you guys some ideas to enjoy these golden months ahead, avoid some common pitfalls, and have fun! As always, I love hearing your feedback and please share any tips and advice you can add!