Working out and eating healthily can be a difficult task especially when there are tons of amazing desserts in the world. However, there are certain steps you can take to make sure that you are getting the absolute most out of your fitness efforts. 1. Establish a support system. In my opinion, this should always be your first and foremost goal. It is important to have a close group of family and friends who will actively support and encourage you. Staying in shape is hard work but having a strong support system guiding you will make it less difficult. Plus, who really wants to go to the gym alone? 2. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Water cleanses the body and allows your body to function more efficiently. It also aids in helping you stay healthy and energized. Many doctors advise drinking about 64 ounces of water per day. 3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Many trainers advise eating smaller meals more often. Instead of eating three large meals per day consider eating five to six smaller meals. This tactic increases your metabolism and is a great addition to exercise. 4. Focus on breathing. There is a proper way to breath during physical activity that will ensure you are allowing enough oxygen into your system during heavy exercise. When you exercise your muscles demand larger amounts of oxygen which results in an increase in your respiration rate. Becoming more aware of your breathing can help you feel more comfortable during exercise which will allow you to get the most out of your workout. Proper breathing will help you increase your endurance to finish lengthy workouts! 5. Get creative – try something fun! Working out shouldn’t be seen as a burden. Instead, it should be seen as an opportunity to try something new and exciting. There are loads of new fitness classes that are so action-packed you won’t even realize you are working out! From Zumba to Soul Cycle there is a class out there to fit everyone’s interests! Just remember to do research on each class prior to taking it. Some classes involve heavy lifting and constant high-energy activity that wouldn’t suit someone just beginning their exercise routine. 6. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your ultimate fitness body. Don’t be discouraged because you are not seeing progress in one or two weeks. Change takes time and it is much more important to focus on what you want to accomplish during your fitness routine. Nitpicking the progress you are not making will not help you move forward in any way. Focusing on small, manageable goals will increase your confidence and ensure that you are making progress both physically and mentally. 7. Build Slowly. Start off doing simple exercises for short periods of time while slowly building your tolerance for longer routines. For example, you could begin by taking short walks every day after school. Eventually, you’ll be able to work yourself up to a brisk walk and eventually a swift jog. 8. Make workouts enjoyable. Who wants to work out in a drab room with no music? Spice up your routine by making a fun playlist with some upbeat tunes! You’ll be so focused on jamming out to your favorite artists that you won’t even realize you’re exercising! Also, consider completing your workouts outside when the weather is nice. The change in scenery will re-energize you! 9. Find motivation. Ultimately, you can find inspiration in a variety of ways. I truly think that finding fitness motivation is very individual. For example, you may look to a friend who is farther along in the fitness process than you are. Their progress can be a testament to how far you could potentially go. On the other hand, reading success stories on blogs or in magazines can help motivate you to achieve your own personal goals. Even still, some girls may find inspiration by purchasing new summer clothes that will show off all of their amazing progress! 10. Remember to have fun! Lastly, fitness should be fun and thrilling. Summer is all about creating fantastic memories that you will remember all year. Fitness should only be a small part of your summer experience. Your real focus should be making your time as enjoyable as possible with the ones you love! Most importantly, relax, have fun, and get healthy all at the same time!