How to Stay Motivated to Train in the Summer

Let’s talk about what’s going to happen to your training schedule this summer, shall we? It’s no mystery why your gym is empty in the warm months. We spend most of the winter looking forward to being outside in the sunshine. Factor in vacations, and staying motivated to train in the summer is worse than during the holidays!

I know this firsthand, because my “other” nirvana is hiking. Listening to my boots hit the gravel, smelling the sweet foliage all around me, and feeling my body hum are only a tiny fraction of my nirvana. Nature truly is a healing force for the mind and body. Once spring and summer hit I need to be outdoors.


While I recover from major surgery for the next month or so, weightlifting is on the back burner. Right now I’m focused on healing and regaining full range of motion in daily life. But I fully intend to ease back into weightlifting by late April and hiking will be much sooner I hope. (Stay updated on my recovery by liking the Workout Nirvana Facebook page!)

Despite all this, the August timeframe is also when I am looking my best the entire year.

This is because I’m more active in the summer with cycling, hiking, and walking, of course, but it’s also because I’m maintaining consistency in the weight room. The combination of more activity, strength training, and a clean diet make for lots of awesome selfies (*wink*).

Just like I need to do more indoor cardio during the cold months to stay at my ideal body composition, I have to motivate myself to maintain consistency with my strength workouts in the summer. I do this by allowing myself to miss a session every few weeks but committing to making most workouts happen. If I can’t help myself from skipping and heading to the hills, I make up the workout at another time. It’s all fine to miss a strength session every few weeks, but if you miss once a week+ you’re eliminating one-third or more sessions per month! That’s going to translate into slow, frustrating progress.

Can You Back Off in the Summer?

Backing off a high-volume lifting program can be done in the warm months, if that’s where you headspace is. It can give your joints a break, too. BUT backing off from weights for several months only works if you:

  • Do NOT stop lifting weights altogether – the aesthetic and strength benefits you’ve gained will disappear quickly. Maintain a lifting program you can manage along with vacations and recreation by:
    • Bringing resistance bands and/or doing outdoor workouts
    • Continuing to lift weights at least twice a week. You can do full-body workouts instead of splits to maximize your training.
    • Shortening your workouts and focus only on full-body or compound movements like squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench presses, and pull ups.
    • Doing outdoor activities that require you to challenge your muscles, like cycling, hiking, walking, or running in hilly areas. Try rock climbing or bouldering, roller blading, or playing with your kids outside. The catch is that you need to be active every week to gain strength and muscle.
    • Making up lost sessions at a time when recreation is unavailable.
  • Stick to a clean-eating lifestyle and eat for your goals – more calories for muscle and increased activity, fewer calories for fat loss.
  • Take selfies to document your progress or post previous awesome selfies. You don’t need to post them publicly if you don’t want, but use them to motivate yourself to stick with your program.
  • Start a structured strength training program that helps keep you motivated and accountable through the warm months.

You don’t want to lose your hard-earned gains this season. How will YOU stay on track?

This article originally appeared on

12 thoughts on “How to Stay Motivated to Train in the Summer

  1. Great post! My routine changes a lot in the summer because I want to take full advantage of the nice Oregon weather when I can. I tend to move my running to outdoors, we do a lot of hiking on the weekends and I try and bike to work a few times a week. I still try and keep the weight lifting part of the routine though. It can be hard when the sunshine is luring you outside!


  2. Great advice, as always…. I love hiking and being outside too. Now that we aren’t sailing all the time anymore, I have way more time to play tennis and golf, too. But I do need to keep up with my strength routines. What I need is about 24 more hours a to do all the things I love! 🙂

    Hope you are doing well.


  3. Great post Suzanne! I am thinking of you & hoping the healing is going well!!!

    I just like the weights so for me, I need those sessions but this is great for others that want to get out & enjoy! Perfect post with better weather on the way!


    • Thanks Jody… I see it with so many clients that they actually do enjoy weights but it’s easy to fall out of the habit. You and I, it’s part of our fiber and missing would upset the apple cart too much;). Muah!


  4. Love hiking anything outdoors. Also love paddle board and any water activity that keeps me active during the summer months. We have an awesome hike in Laguna Beach. Got top of the world. Try to go every Sunday. Great motivational post 🙂


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