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25 Fat-Burning Summer Workouts to Get You in Shape

Beach Volleyball

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You’ll get “sand legs” and a full-body workout that will keep you looking (and feeling) hot in your bikini all summer. “The sand targets muscles you didn’t think you had. You’re working twice as hard to move,” says Jess Gysin, professional beach volleyball player. The short burst of energy and lateral jumps and moves “target every single muscle,” Gysin says. “It is definitely a full-body workout.”

Stand Up Paddle Surfing

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Take up the newest trend in water sports and prepare to see full-body results. ACA Nationally Recognized Professional SUP Instructor and co-founder of Black Dog Paddle Camille Smith watched her body transform as she became enticed by the sport. In stand up paddle surfing, abs aren’t just “pretty muscles,” they’re “function muscles,” Smith says. Besides a solid core, you’ll improve your balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. “You get hooked on it!”


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Kayaking may look like just an upper-body workout, but when done right it can work your entire body. Make sure your kayak is equipped with a foot brace for optimal results. “When athletes paddle in Olympic games, they pull and push with different feet on every stroke for maximum rotation,” says Olympic kayaker Cathy Marino. The rotation really works your abs for a great core workout. Say hello to washboard abs and goodbye to love handles!


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When you bounce consistently, this high-cardio workout is comparable to “running very fast,” says Casey Moore, 1999 national champion on trampoline and level one instructor at the Trapeze School of New York. Find a gym near you with a trampoline or bring the gym to you and invest in a backyard version. Your quads (and kids) will love you for it.


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Skip the weight room and get lean on the water wakeboarding. "When you wakeboard you have to flex, resist and hold positions for periods at a time. Often you also have to build on these held positions and then explode or move from these static flexed positions to execute tricks and techniques," says Kyle Schmidt, head coach at The Wakeboard Camp in Clermont, Florida. "Each session on the water is a short intense work out that can really lean a person out in a short period of time if they ride frequently," says Schmidt. Workout in the waves for a fun and effective workout.


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Hoop your way to a slim, bikini body with this cardiovascular workout. “In addition to strengthening your core muscles, you’re also promoting good posture,” says Rebecca Burton, hula hoop dance instructor at Dance New Amsterdam in New York. Hooping has mental benefits too. “It’s a stress reliever and can be meditative in the way it rolls across the belly,” Burton says. For a more intense hooping workout, try hoop dance. “I burn about 400 calories per hour if I’m rigorously into my hoop dance,” Burton says.


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This lake favorite is perfect for people of all ages. “Not only is water tubing fun, it’s a great way to engage your core muscles (for balance) and burn some calories. Plus, the more laughter involved, the better the abdominal benefit,” says fitness expert and Shape Sexy Summer Legs Challenge coach Jessica Smith.


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Who says you can’t get fit in a skirt? “The total distance covered on court during a typical tennis game can be up to 5 miles, with over 500 bursts of quick energy movement!” says Brian Hainline, Chief Medical Officer for the United States Tennis Association. Plus, in addition to improving your strength and endurance, tennis players “have a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease compared to individuals who played golf, football, baseball or basketball,” Hainline says.


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One of the best things about backpacking is that you can do it anywhere. Hit a shaded trail in the summer to stay cool or find an area rich with fresh streams or nearby water. Remember to bring enough water and a snack, but be careful to not overdo your load. “You have to be careful with backpacking and make sure you are maintaining great posture when you add extra weight to your back,” Smith says.


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Let your imagination and legs run wild with this trendy Harry Potter-inspired game. Quidditch is played competitively at more than 300 colleges worldwide and in recreational leagues across the nation. You don’t have to be an experienced athlete for this new sport. “My team had varying fitness levels and some people who had never played a sport,” says Jared Rohrer, a personal trainer and quidditch player in New York City. “Some could barely run 50 feet without running out of breath. Now they can run a whole mile,” he says.


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This underwater version of hockey is played wearing a diving mask, snorkel, and fins. The six-on-six match’s objective is similar to regular hockey—score in the opponent’s goal. You’ll get a toned swimmer’s bod and burn calories with the fast-paced movements in octopush . Add competition to any backyard pool party with this unique sport or search for local leagues if you’re looking for more serious play.


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Ever wonder why surfer's seem to have the best bods? Now is the time to find out. Work your arms and core in the water with this summer workout that will keep you cool and fit. You'll burn nearly 208 calories an hour as you balance your way to flat abs. Book a lesson on your next summer vacation or invest in a board if you're near the beach!

Red Rover and Tag

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Work like an adult and work out like a kid. “We forget that exercise doesn't have to happen on a treadmill. Anytime you are running, walking fast, or even standing, you are working your entire body and burning calories,” Smith says. “Playing kids' games is a great way for adults to reconnect to the fun side of fitness—and to remember how much activity they used to do automatically as kids. Most children don't need a gym because they are naturally so active. Follow their lead!”


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Kronum is a new team sport created in 2008 that mixes soccer, handball, basketball, rugby, and other sports. You’ll get the cardio workout of a soccer game and work your arms with all the dribbling and throwing used to move the ball towards an opponent’s goal. While Philadelphia is Kronum capital, new leagues are popping up all over the US. If you love team sports and want a challenge, look for a Kronum team near you!


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The pull of the boat makes this water sport like a constant tug-of-war, working your entire body “from your neck right down to your feet,” says professional water skier April Coble. The best part about this extreme sport is that you’re never too old or too young to try it. Coble has seen people ages two to 80 work a board. “My 67-year-old mother is better than ever!” she says.


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“Kickball is a great cardio sport—running after the ball is like doing cardio interval training. Plus, you are developing agility and coordination by following the ball and kicking it,” Smith says. Adult kickball leagues are popping up all over the US. Let your inner-child free and make new friends by joining a league, or get the whole office involved and create a league with co-workers.

Roller Derby

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This full-contact team endurance race requires roller skates and a lot of core and leg strength. Gotham Girls Roller Derby coaching chair Tracey DeBenedictis, nicknamed “Aerial Assault,” describes the roller derby stance like “holding a squat for two hours.” The two 30-minute halves played in each bout will work your entire body. “It’s a lot of endurance,” DeBenedictis says. Build muscle and confidence with this tough sport.

White Water Rafting

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This extreme workout tones your arms, back, shoulders, and core while getting your adrenaline pumping. If you’re looking for a challenge and adventure, skip the swimming pool and try white water rafting to burn a whopping 300-350 calories per hour!

Explore a National Park

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Stroll through one of the 393 National Park Units in the US to burn calories and get in touch with nature. And the best part: It’s completely free! You’ll knock out a workout and learn a bit about history. Pack a picnic and make it a date or go solo for some self-reflecting time.


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When it’s too hot to go outside, hit up your local community center and start a game of hantis . The four-player game is similar to four-square but adds tables, making it more like handball. Don’t let the tables and small playing field fool you—hantis is more than just a way to improve your coordination. “You have to sprint back and run fast at every play,” says hantis creator Ben Fatherree. “It’s more cardio than anything.”


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Inline skating is an excellent cardio and strength workout. If it's too hot outside and you have access to an ice rink, try speedskating instead! "Inline technique is better cardio training because you sit higher when you skate; you can get your heart rate higher," says Shane Domer, strength and conditioning coach for US Speedskating. Speedskating is done on the ice in a crouched, lower position. "You have a lot of strength and stability in your lower body," Domer says. Regardless of which one you try, you'll be sure to see results with these full-body workouts.

Flag Football

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If you struggle to stick with your workout routine, a team sport like flag football might be just the push you need to stay fit. “One of the best things about joining a recreational flag football league is the support of a group! If you know your team is counting on you for a game, you are more likely to show up and participate,” Smith says. What’s more motivating than having fun with your friends?

Walking Your Dog

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Burn some calories and make your pooch happy at the same time. If your dog is up to it, try jogging to up the intensity. Keep in mind that your dog is packing an extra layer of fur and can easily overheat, so aim for morning jogs before 11am or evening walks after 4pm to avoid the hottest time of day.

Gardening or Yard Work

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Take care of your yard and your body by working on your summer garden. “Just be sure not to stay in a hunched over position too long (as we often do while weeding or planting), as it can be stressful on your back,” Smith says. “I recommend standing up and changing positions often, and even doing back extensions if you are leaning over for too long.”


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Among many other things, volunteering your time can also help you stay active. Build homes with Habitat for Humanity, walk dogs for the elderly, or help with disaster relief to get moving while you make a difference. Take up coaching a children’s sports team or sign up to walk or run in a charity race. There are so many options! The key is finding one that fits your interest and schedule.


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