Avoiding the Summer BBQ Trap!

By Gigi Amurao

Warmer weather is finally upon us! It’s time to clean out the pool, break out the grill, and get ready for those summer barbecues, starting with Memorial Day at the end of this month.

Summer is for relaxing, basking in the sun, and spending time with family and friends, and it brings an endless parade of weddings, cookouts, vacations, and getaways, not to mention those big barbecue holidays.

The bottom line is that you’ll be constantly surrounded by delicious foods, refreshing alcoholic beverages and yummy desserts. After all your hard work getting in shape for bikini season, you’ll start packing on the pounds, if you aren’t careful, and before you get to Labor Day, your summer body will be just a memory.

It’s hard when you’re trying to stay fit and keep things in check—believe me, I’m tempted frequently. The key is to remember that it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Whatever your summer plans, you can’t go wrong if you stick with healthy options, practice portion control, stay motivated, and keep your eye on the prize.

Here are some things you can do to stay on track throughout the summer:

1) Stick with your normal routine as best you can. If you have a busy week and you won’t be able to make up your gym session on the weekend, make a plan for getting in some exercise and stick with it! Having a solid plan in place is the way to stay healthy and on track throughout the season. Engage in active activities at least four times a week, do your cardio, drink your water, and don’t stop training.

2) Exercise in the morning. If you’ve got a jam-filled day, then work out first thing in the morning. That way you’re done for the day, and it’s one less thing to worry about.

Also, moving your body in the morning sets your day right and helps you remain stress-free.

3) Find balance. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love most about the season. When you maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay consistent year-round, you have wiggle room for a little indulgence here and there. Just keep everything in moderation.

4) Bring healthy treats to the party. The minute someone invites you to a gathering, offer to bring a dish. That may not be an option for every gathering, but it’s always worth a try. If you are going to bring something, you’ll know the menu will include at least one waist-friendly item.

5) Eat! Don’t make the mistake of not eating all day before a dinner party, barbecue or other event, thinking you will save your calories for later. Stick with your plan, whatever it may be. That way you get the fuel you need throughout the day, and you don’t go overboard come dinnertime.

The same thing goes for skipping meals the day after an event because you had a few too many treats the night before. If you did overindulge, don’t stress out about it. Let go of any negative feelings and just keep it moving, and you’ll get right back on track. Do your cardio and drink that water!

6) Limit your libations. Limit alcoholic beverages to two per party at the most, and choose club soda, water or low-calorie juices as mixers.

7) Stay busy. Make it about the people and the company. Mingle, help out in the kitchen, play with the children. Make it a chance to catch up and get connected with friends you haven’t seen in a while.

8) Drink up—but make it H2O. If your body is dehydrated, it cannot function, and being thirsty increases cravings. With all the hustle and bustle that summer fun brings, it’s easy to forget about drinking water. When you know you might be having alcoholic beverages, be sure to drink plenty of water as well. I like to alternate an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Regardless of the temperature or the season, if you are drinking liquor or wine, you should be getting at least 8 to 10 glasses of H2O a day.

9) Keep it healthy on the ‘cue. Summer is grilling season, but that shouldn’t keep you from maintaining your bikini bod. Get creative. You can prepare many yummy dishes in a healthful way. So go ahead—throw some shrimp on the barbie, along with your favorite veggies. Brush on some low-calorie marinade or homemade fat-free lemon juice dressing before you grill, or make a more healthful version of your fave salad. The trick is to plan ahead and have the right ingredients on hand, and you’ll enjoy great meals all summer—while still eating right.

For More Nutrition Tips, Visit the Digital Muscle Nutrition Blog!