It’s never too soon or too late to start preparing for a summer — or warm weather vacation — of total HOTNESS. After all, for many gay men, it’s summer all year long.

Here are our top tips from our wellness experts — and leading gay influencers — on how you can make your summer season or warm weather vacation your BEST ever.

1. Get to the gym. Now.

If you fell off your regular gym routine during the pandemic or never had a fitness program in the first place, it’s time to commit to a regular workout routine. The only way you’re going to feel and look your beach best is by getting in shape. 

Sure, you look fine wearing sweats now. But picture yourself strolling shirtless past a bunch of guys on the beach. Exactly. 

2. Have a game plan.

Random exercise is good. Having a workout plan is much better.

Schedule time with a personal trainer or yoga teacher. Discuss your summer fitness and health goals and come up with a plan on how you can reach them. Meeting—and working—with a trainer will help you make the most of your exercise time and max out your fitness results. 

Think about it: Would you rather invest your money in a six-pack or beer belly?

If you’re going to do the gym time, why not make it pay off?

3. Up your protein.

When you work out, you must provide your body with the fuel it needs to get stronger. Increase the amount of protein you intake every day. Select healthy options like beans, fish, low-fat meats, and high quality, low carbohydrate, protein shakes, and bars.

Not only will upping the protein make you stronger, it will make you feel fuller so you’re less likely to eat the bad stuff. It’s a win, win.

4. Change up your hair.

Many of today’s longer or sculpted styles are fine in the winter. However, they can be difficult to maintain in humidity, wind and water. Discuss options with your barber for a trendy style that will work well in the summer months or while on vacation.

Have you been thinking about trying out a new hair color? The informality and fun of summer are the perfect time to try out highlights or rainbow stripes. If it doesn’t work out, you can always cover it with a baseball cap.

5. Up your friend game.

You may have lost touch with some of the people in your life during the pandemic. Now that things are returning to normal, you may want them back. Don’t wait until it’s too late to reconnect with that perfect tennis partner, beach mate or wingman.

Don’t feel bad about reaching out to friends you haven’t seen for a while. Everyone is experiencing the same thing now that the pandemic seems to be waning. It’s the perfect time to contact the people who brought value to your life in the past and likely will again in the future.

6. Get your meds.

Meet with your doctor or other medical professional to get the advice and meds you need to stay safe this summer.

Admit it. You get friskier when it’s hot out. Enough said.

8. Groom your facial hair.

That full winter beard can be hot, itchy and gross in the summer sun. Work with your barber to come up with a hot weather way to sport facial hair.

Beards have been around for a long time. You might find it refreshing to try going clean shaven this summer.

9. Get counseling.

Will you be spending time this summer with a boyfriend, partner or husband that you’re having personal issues with? The time to get coaching or counseling is now. Issues turn into bigger problems when people travel or have time on their hands or too little to do.

Get professional help now. It will go a long way toward preventing your summer vacay from turning into a bad reality show.

10. Plan for your cash.

Financial health IS a form of wellness. Nothing feels worse than wanting to do something with your friends and not being able to because you’re broke. Meet with a financial advisor to figure out how you can get your finances in order before you go on vacation or summer arrives.

Think you don’t have enough money to set up a financial plan? Think again! There are many financial professionals who are willing to take on newbie gay savers knowing it’s likely they’ll be managing a big investment portfolio in just a few years.

11. Take care of family stuff before summer starts.

Family can create feelings of guilt for many gay men. Guilt at Christmas and Hanukkah is one thing. Guilt in July is gross. Visit mom, dad, siblings, and others on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and at Easter, Passover, spring graduations and weddings. It will free you up to have a stress-free summer with your friends.

Take care of all your family obligations by Pride weekend, so you can look ahead to a summer of fun.

12. Update your wardrobe.

Looking good helps you feel good. And if you’re like most gay men, you haven’t gotten out of your sweats or shorts in two summers. It’s probably time to go shopping. Consider adding a linen blazer to your life. Or maybe a pair of Bermudas. 

If you have success with your pre-summer fitness routine, splurge on a new swimsuit that will show off your assets.

13. Join a sports group.

Are you into sports? Why not take things to the next level and join a gay baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis or other sports group prior to summer? It will allow you to take your interest to the next level, get more exercise and network with other like minded guys.

Who knows? You may be able to transform your passion for sports into a personal partnership!

If it seems too overwhelming to take on 13 new things at once, start with just one and add something new every week. As you make progress and see — and feel — improvement, you’ll want to try out more and more health and wellness practices.

13. Up your self-care

It;s just a fact:  we can’t be our optimal self if we’re always stressed.Get into the gay yoga scene, book your next gay massage treatment, and start meditating 5 minutes a day (or up to 15 if you already do so). These three things alone will help your nervous system relax, and give you a much better baseline for health.