Ready, set, go! How to start building your summer body now

We all know summer bodies are made in winter, so here’s how to use the cold months to get your physique hot weather ready.

The vision of being healthy and toned by summer is nice in theory but often difficult to achieve if you leave your goal too late – which is why experts instead encourage a slow and steady approach that starts in winter.

Here’s how to get fit in time for the warmer months:

Form habits that are summer body friendly

Before hitting the gym, first consider a routine reset and eliminate or reduce unhealthy habits. Adequate sleep paired with a nutritious diet is the blueprint for any successful lifestyle overhaul, so assess your current routine and find ways to improve it.

For wellness blogger and In Her Power podcast host Rebecca Stewart, habit tracking became the crucial formula for achieving her health and wellness goals.

“I got sick of setting goals for myself, getting excited and motivated about them, then falling off the bandwagon a month or so later,” Rebecca says.

“Then I learnt about the psychology behind habit formation and habit tracking.”

After putting all her lifestyle goals into a habit tracker journal, Rebecca found she remained committed to each habit and ticked them off without a second thought.

According to one study, it takes an average of 66 days – about nine-and-a-half weeks – for a new habit to become ingrained in your routine, which is why consistency is so important.

“Habit tracking was a game changer for me,” Rebecca says.

“Before I knew it, months had passed and these habits had become an automatic part of my daily routine.”

Preparation is key for summer body success

Planning your meals, and being prepared, is the most straightforward method to remaining on top of your summer body health goals.

“Set yourself up for success by planning ahead; consider what kind of meals you enjoy in the colder months, and incorporate them in your weekly food shop and meal prep,” Rebecca says.

“For me, my go-to winter meals include lots of hearty soups, nourishing stews and anything in the slow cooker.

“The good thing about these options is that they can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer, and are equally suitable for lunch or dinner.”

Another way you can optimise your diet is by adapting your meals to include fruit and vegetables that are currently in season.

Many people are prone to vitamin D deficiency during winter, so try to factor in egg yolks, seafood, mushrooms and fortified foods that are rich in the nutrient.

“There’s no doubt it’s more difficult in winter to muster up the motivation and get moving, especially in the mornings,” Rebecca says.

“My advice is to prepare your food the night before, lay out your activewear so you’re more motivated to exercise, and have your plan of attack for the day ahead ready to go.”

Small gains, long-term impact

When setting your summer fitness goals, Brisbane personal trainer, model and mother of five Chontel Duncan believes it’s important to understand your own limitations and preferences so you can tackle them realistically.

“You need to be honest with yourself and evaluate your current state, in addition to being proactive and organised,” Chontel says.

“This means prioritising meal preparation and factoring in your workouts and training sessions, which are essential to staying on track during the winter months.”

Contrary to many diet and training fads, the healthiest approach to improve your fitness is long-term consistency.

Starting your summer body fitness journey in winter gives you a more flexible time frame.

“Achieving your fitness goals requires a year-round commitment, which involves establishing a regular routine, mastering meal prep techniques, and understanding the benefits of supplements,” Chontel says.

“Above all, don’t overcomplicate it; keep it simple, start small, do more of the things you enjoy and do less of the things you don’t.”

Chontel says to consider your training preferences, whether that involves group workouts, solo gym sessions, one-on-one time with a personal trainer, or at-home workouts.

She says some people thrive on structured programs that track progress, while others like a more flexible routine.

Find balance and consistency

If you want to achieve the vision you’ve set for yourself by summer, it’s important to be committed to your goals, be consistent with your routine, and stay challenged with your fitness.

“To ensure I stay active and motivated, I set myself a specific step goal and prioritise morning workouts whenever possible,” Chontel says.

“I find during colder months it can be more challenging to maintain motivation for afternoon exercise and I particularly enjoy indoor workouts, as well as group and personal training, as these provide greater accountability through booking classes or committing to one-on-one sessions.”

Chontel recommends a routine of three weekly sessions combined with healthy, balanced eating habits to help minimise motivation loss – you can always dial things up as summer approaches.

“By having different gears that I shift into throughout the year, I can maintain a comfortable pace during the maintenance period, while still elevating my training and nutrition in preparation for the next gear.”

Break out of the rut

Even the most motivated people can lose their groove in winter.

Rebecca’s advice is to acknowledge the rut you’re in and get back up.

“Don’t wait for Monday, don’t wait for a new week or month; get straight back into it the next day,” Rebecca says.

“The sooner we get back into gear, the better we’ll feel.”

More on staying motivated and getting fit by summer:

Written by Charlotte Brundrett.