This get-fit-for-summer plan is deceptively easy — and actually sustainable

This get-fit-for-summer plan is deceptively easy — and actually sustainable
How to get a beach body: bring your body to the beach! Everyone deserves to enjoy summer fun, and you can be healthy without following extreme or restrictive routines.JGalione/Getty Images
  • With summer just around the corner, people are seeking fast fitness results, trainers say.
  • Small, sustainable changes are best for making long-term progress.

Forget about "beach body" workouts and diet plans. Summer is for enjoying outdoor adventures, fun with family and friends, and delicious seasonal treats — and you don't have to sacrifice these things for your fitness, according to personal trainers and dietitians.

Instead, you can enjoy your summer and still see good progress with slow, steady commitment to a healthy workout and nutrition plan.

Patience and consistent workouts are better than looking for a quick fitness fix that may leave you burnt out and miserable, NYC-based personal trainer Irving "Zeus" Hyppolite previously told Insider.

"There's got to be a level of self-care. Summer's gonna get whatever body you give it," he said.

Set realistic goals

Before you jump into a new diet or exercise plan, it's important to consider what you hope to achieve, and how long it might take to get there so you can plan accordingly, personal trainers say.


Building muscle takes time, and depending on your goals, you may want to be thinking in terms of months or even years instead of weeks, said dietitian and bodybuilder Holly Baxter.

"We could be looking at nine months, realistically, before we would actually see a meaningful result that is sustainable," she told Insider. "That doesn't mean you can't make great progress sooner, but it's about context."

Weight loss happens a bit more quickly, but requires you to eat in a calorie deficit, which makes it harder to build muscle, so you need to be strategic about your goals.

Understanding what you can realistically achieve is crucial for creating a plan that will keep you motivated, help prevent potential pitfalls such as overtraining, and lead to lasting results.

Avoid fad diets and focus on consistent nutrition habits

An all-or-nothing approach can also sabotage your efforts to eat healthy over the summer, dietitians say.


"Worrying about how you look in a bathing suit takes away from the enjoyment of all the summer things that we look forward to," Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Read It Before You Eat It — Taking You from Label to Table, previously told Insider. "And if you lose weight fast with a fad diet, by September, you'll be right back where you were."

Instead of restricting, think about what you can add to your diet, such as more vegetables and fruit, more whole-food sources of protein, and more fiber.

A flexible diet with room for treats can get you better results in the long-term because you're more likely to stick to it, Taub-Dix said.

Similarly, don't force changes that you know are a bad fit for your lifestyle or preferences, said dietitian Georgie Fear.

"If you think cutting carbs is the most effective, but it makes you die inside, don't do it," she previously told Insider.


Train smarter, not harder

If you want to be fitter and healthier, It's a mistake to focus on too many HIIT workouts or hours of cardio, although both can have benefits in moderation.

Instead, research suggests lifting weight has major health benefits whether you want to build muscle, lose weight, or live longer.

Compound exercises like deadlifts, squats, presses, pull-ups provide the most bang for your buck by working multiple body parts at once, providing tension to help the muscles grow.

You also don't have to spend hours in the gym to see results, and in fact, too much exercise (or "junk volume") can stall your progress and leave you exhausted.

Fitness beginners should be especially mindful of starting slowly to maximize the rapid progress that can come from "newbie gains," according to powerlifter Chris Duffin.


"More is not better. You want to do the least amount to get the result you want," he previously told Insider.

Focus on progressive overload, gradually increasing the challenge over time, to make gains without burnout.

Prioritize recovery and sleep, and stress management

One of the most important factors in your fitness is quality rest, according to elite athletes and coaches.

A lack of sleep can increase your risk of injury and illness, mess with your metabolism, hurt your mental health, and even impair your judgment and learning ability, according to research.

As such, avoid pressure to get up early and work out unless you can prioritize a solid seven hours of sleep beforehand, trainers say.


"It's like bending over to pick up a dime and missing the $10 bill in front of you. It doesn't make sense," Duffin said.

Other healthy habits to support your fitness include active recovery strategies like gentle walking or biking which can boost blood flow to help sore muscles heal faster.

Keep in mind that workouts can take a toll, so aim for a routine that keeps you moving while also carving out some time to physical and mental stress.

Celebrate your progress

Change takes time, so don't be frustrated if you have a great fitness and nutrition routine and don't notice any changes in the mirror right away, according to personal trainer Noam Tamir of TS Fitness.

Even if you have aesthetic goals, tracking other types of progress can keep you motivated, he said.


Pay attention to improvements that have nothing to do with what the scale says, such as lifting more weight, having more stamina in your workouts and daily life, and feeling more energy, focus, or positivity.

"It can take months to put on muscle, but benefits in strength can happen quickly," Tamir said.

Another great strategy for being consistent with workouts is to find a community, whether that's asking a friend to hit the gym, or signing up for a group fitness program. Evidence suggests making exercise a social experience is one of the best ways to stick to it, as other people can help keep you accountable, work through challenges, and cheer on your accomplishments.