Beat The Heat: Change Up Your Workouts To Stay On Track


I was recently asked to be a guest blogger for Lifetime Fitness! Check out my article below…


Cari (on the right) and the co-owner of Bombshell Bootcamp Carrie Barnhart

By Cari Shoemate of – fitness expert for CBS in Houston and co-owner and instructor of Bombshell Bootcamp

Don’t let the hot temps this summer mess with your routine. Whether you are a runner, trying to lose weight, want to drop body fat or just want to be able to workout with your friends – you can find an alternative indoor workout to keep you on track. Summer is a great time to mix things up and challenge your mind and body for great results!

If You Are a Runner or Cyclist

I’m a marathon runner and have to start training for fall/winter marathons in the summer, which can be brutal. I still do my long runs outside (early!) but try to do my weekday runs and cross training inside until it gets cooler. A great substitution for speedwork is the jumprope. You can do a jumprope interval workout (mix in weight training) and you can get your heart rate up to tempo level and sometimes even at sprint intensity if you practice. Also, use this time to work on your hill workouts! Treadmills are great for this because you can run a variety of “hills” easier than if you were outside. Warm-up slow and then play with inclines and speeds. The higher the hill you make – the slower the pace you run and vice versa. If you want to work on your endurance and don’t want to do a long treadmill workout – try spinning or indoor cycling. This is obviously a great alternative to outdoor cycling as well.  Regardless if you are a runner or cyclist – I would recommend you supplement your spinning workouts with some extra quadriceps exercises like squats, wall-sits and leg extensions to prevent injury and help your form on the bike. If you still want to run and hate the treadmill, look for an indoor track or just adjust your schedule and do your runs early in the morning.

If You Need to Lose Weight

If your goal is to drop a few pounds before the summer is over – then you need to be really consistent with your workouts, regardless of what you do. Diet and cardio are going to be the most important factors – so I would recommend you hit the gym and take some classes. Indoor classes will not only keep you cooler – but the group atmosphere and instructors will hold you accountable. Not sure what classes to try? I would stick to ones that are more cardio focused like spinning, swimming, step classes, etc. or have the word “cardio” in the description. Now is also time to try something fun so that you will be more likely to stick with it. Like to dance? Try Zumba. Prefer team sports? Grab some friends or join a group at an indoor court. Whatever you choose – just make sure you break a sweat and make it a challenge!

If You Want to Tone up and Lose Body Fat

In order to decrease body fat you need to up your calorie burn but also incorporate strength training. Weights will help you sculpt your muscles and decrease fat around the muscle – which will alter your body’s shape (unlike cardio alone). So, when you hit the gym – I would do half cardio and half weight training. You can do this on your own by doing cardio machines and then weight training (machines or free weights). Or, if you are a beginner – I would recommend you either get a trainer for a few sessions to make sure your form is good – or go take some classes. For group classes try ones that say they are “sculpting” or “toning” and ones that either use weights or resistance bands. Not sure what weight to use? Grab a couple different pairs of dumbbells and don’t be afraid to adjust. Just make sure that it’s heavy enough to challenge you. Swimming and water aerobics are also a great way to get in some cardio and strength training, plus they are fun! The water provides resistance for your arms, legs and core and you don’t need any equipment! Try a class or look for “open swim” times when the pool is not being used for lessons.

If You Want to Work on Flexibility

Summer is a great time to work on flexibility. The extra heat will work to your advantage regardless if you do your yoga outside or indoors at the gymYoga and Pilates classes are great for muscle toning, flexibility and even stress relief. But, to keep your body lean for summer – I would still recommend that you get in some cardio at least 3 days week.  A good way to do this would be to go for a jog or hit the cardio machines at the gym for 20-30 minutes before your yoga class. This will also allow you to be more flexible during class and it will prevent injuries because you will start the class already warmed up.

If You Want to Workout With Friends

Looking for something to do with friends or family and it’s too hot to meet outside? Set a fitness date and meet your group at the gym! Try basketball, racquetball or other team sport. Then, finish your workout with a healthy snack or meal to help your muscles recover faster. Each time you meet, have a new person pick the workout or challenge so that it’s more fun. Need ideas? Ask a trainer or group fitness instructor for some of their favorites. You can also use social media and create an online group on Facebook, do a “Tweetup”, create a challenge on or other social networking site.

If you still want to workout outside – just make sure to go either early in the morning or later at night –preferably when the sun is not up. But, working out in the heat does have some benefits including burning more calories and fat and making your body more efficient.  Just be smart about it and make sure to take it down a notch (this is not the time to set PR’s!), look for shade and be sure to stay hydrated. If you have any health problems (especially heart related), make sure to check with your doctor first.

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