Your guide to hot summer fitness

Marketing terms like, "beach body ready," start popping up in April, making everyone feel guilty for their winter indiscretions. The moment t-shirt and short weather hit, people are hounding me for advice and sessions. The good news? Summer is the best time to get in shape. The excuse, it's too cold out, does not apply, and days are longer!

There are a few warnings about working out, outside during the summer. The general rules are below:

  1. Speak with your doctor before starting a new routine
  2. Apply sunscreen
  3. Avoid extreme heat
  4. Drink lots of water
  5. Avoid peak times of day when sun is the hottest
  6. If you feel faint, light headed, dizzy-stop immediately and seek medical attention

The cheapest and easiest form of exercise is walking. Walk before or after work, so you avoid the heat. I love working out at lunch but combining the hot weather and dress clothes does not make for a comfortable afternoon. Make sure you have comfortable and supportive shoes and bring a water bowl with you. You can make your walk more intense by walking up hills or simply increase your pace for a minute every several minutes.

Other obvious summer workouts are biking, swimming, and running. My favorite thing to do in summer, are bootcamp workouts. If you cannot find one you in your area, create your own! Look for a park where you can place a band on a swing set or other jungle gym equipment. With a few bands that you can buy at any sporting goods store or online (I buy bands) you can create a great full body workout. Here's a sample routine, mixing in running, body weight moves, and bands:

  • Run side to side for 20 yards.
  • Attempt as many pushups as you can in 45 seconds (if a regular push up is too hard, try them on your knees).
  • Squat down like you are sitting on a chair, then stand up quickly, aim for 20 squats.
  • Bicep curls with your band, place a band under your feet, hold the handles, and bring the handles towards your body. Curl the band 15-20 times.
  • Run for 20 yards.
  • Row with your band. Attach the band to a piece of sturdy equipment. Stand facing your band with the handles in each hand, pull bringing your elbows straight back. Picture is below. Do 15-20 rows.

 Summer Exercise

Repeat this circuit 4-5 times taking breaks only when you need them. To make this workout harder you can add in exercises like jumping jacks, or use heavier bands and keep your repetitions between 8-12. If you have trouble figuring out an exercise, YouTube is a great resource. If you want to join a bootcamp in the North Shore, contact me at

My last summer fitness suggestion: enlist friends and family. You are more likely to continue exercising if you have a friend holding you accountable. I'm not suggesting you join a softball league, although that is fun and a great social outlet; it's not going to change your physique. Find a buddy to run with, golf, basketball… With a few cheap cones or other equipment, you can set up a fun obstacle course for the family to use. If your children are hesitant to participate, allow them to set up the course.

Ron Krit, a JUF/JF employee and contributor to Oy!Chicago, is a Wellness Consultant. Email him at

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