When you think about getting together with friends for an evening, what activities come to mind? Catching a movie? Meeting up at a favorite restaurant? What about an office party or a summer get-together?
More than likely, these functions center on food and leisure rather than physical activity or working out.
It also doesn’t help that we tend to indulge a little more when we are with friends and in a celebratory atmosphere. If we’re with a group of people enjoying a night on the town or a weekend getaway, we’re likely to treat ourselves to an extra drink or a dessert that we would otherwise resist.
For this reason alone, summer can actually work against your fitness goals. When the weather is nice we tend to socialize more, which is wonderful. But when that socialization brings more tempting treats and moves us off track from our good habits, it’s time to make a plan to say fit while still enjoying an active, summer social life.
One thing you can do is be the instigator. In your circle of colleagues or friends, suggest get-togethers that require physical activity. Suggest an afternoon of walking or even a weekend hiking trip. When the main attraction of a gathering requires physical exertion, people are less likely to gravitate to the lounge chairs and beer coolers!
You can also put your fitness first. Don’t sacrifice your daily workout for the party. Even if you have developed the habit of consistently working out, it is easy to get busy and skip a workout here and there because of a busy schedule or a fun invitation. Before you know it, you will wake up one morning and realize that it has been weeks since you had a really good workout. Make every invitation you accept conditional on whether you get your workout in that day. Parties and social gatherings then become a reward for sticking to your fitness routines!
Be a leader. Seriously. Did you know that researchers have demonstrated that if your friend becomes obese, you are 57% more likely to become obese yourself? And if your close friend becomes obese, then your chances of also becoming obese rises to 171%! But the researchers also think that it works the other way around. Namely, that while weight gain is contagious, so, too, is weight loss.1 This means that as you work hard to protect your own fitness level this summer, in doing so you can also have a profound effect on the fitness level of your friends. Be known for health and discipline in your circle of friends.
Finally, one of the smartest things you can do to stay fit while keeping up with your social circle is to get accountability. Don’t be a lone ranger. If you have others who are working hard to live a life of vibrant health checking up on you and holding you to your comittments, your chances of staying on track skyrocket.
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