Get Pumped for Summer

James Conley offers workout tips to help you get in shape for summer.

Though summer officially starts on June 21st, the summer fitness season starts months earlier. Anyone who wants to shed the pounds — and lassitude — of winter should understand that beach bods don’t arrive overnight. You must affect a new routine now, and make spring your personal season of change. This doesn’t come easy; after all, we’ve just spent months giving into temptation, celebrating with friends, and enjoying the forgiving lines of oversized sweaters. To help you break out of the winter mold, we asked fitness expert James Conley for some tips on pre-summer workouts.

What are some common mistakes people make transitioning from winter to summer workouts?

James: I feel like the transition is usually just going from the treadmill to the sidewalk. Or, in other words, the indoor workouts to the outdoor workouts. Each has a slightly different feel. When you’re outdoors a lot of the time, you have a much greater tendency to trip and fall, or to otherwise hurt yourself. During the winter months, we get conditioned to our indoor machines, like the smooth, flat surface of a treadmill. Because of all that, the biggest thing to keep in mind is to be careful about transitioning from inside to outside. Also, since people have a tendency to run on one side of the street, this can create some ankle soreness from the uneven impact.

What problems do you see with people’s 
workouts for this time of year?

James: The biggest problem is that when people get outside, they try to do too much too soon. The weather is nice, they’re feeling good, so they increase their intensity. Just because the weather is warmer and you feel invigorated, doesn’t mean you can increase your intensity. There are a couple things you want to keep in mind: you will sweat more, because of the weather; and you’re more prone to muscle pull and strain. People forget about these, want to do too much, and then don’t properly warm up.

What are the healthiest types of workouts for people to get their ideal beach body?

James: I love walking lunges, granted you do them properly. All types of ab exercises are also great. In addition those two, split squats are great, along with flat jacks and heel raises. Push-ups are a good one to do, as they’re pretty simple. You can also practice bench steps, overhead presses, and anything that works the quads, gluts, calves, shoulders, or biceps. If you have any questions about proper workouts, those are great things to bring up with a personal trainer.

When should people start upping their game to get toned by June?

James: If you’ve done some type of workout during the winter weather, just increase your intensity by about 5 to 10 percent. Everything depends on what you were doing previous to the spring and summer season, along with your current fitness level. If you increase your intensity in stages — say, by 5 percent, then 10 percent, then 20 percent — by June you should be in pretty good shape.

As far as diet, what do 
you recommend?

James: Anti-inflammatory foods are excellent for pre-summer workouts. Since the weather is warmer, your body will have a tendency to swell when you work out. Certain foods, including blueberries, broccoli, and ginger, are very good to reduce inflammation and swelling. Pineapples and grains will also help, and you should begin to include these foods into your diet when you start your pre-summer workouts.

What advice do you have for people who are consistently discouraged about their bodies or the effectiveness of their workout routines?

James: When you workout, just keep in mind that you’re doing it mainly for your health. Everyone’s healthy body is unique to them. A good workout program is also a longterm program, and signifies a lifestyle choice. If you keep in mind “hey this isn’t about how I look, but about how I feel,” and if you focus on your internal self, then you should generate the positive reinforcement you need to continue your workouts. Since we’re all physically different, you should never compare yourself to others. Just keep in mind that you’re doing this for yourself, for your health, and that you’re the most important person in your life. If you take really good care of yourself, it enables you to take better care of your loved ones.

To learn more or enlist Mr. Conley’s services for your pre-summer workouts, visit