Winter break: a month-long holiday from schoolwork that keeps the three F’s (friends, family, food) on rotation. But let’s be honest… other than a break from schoolwork, it was also a massive break four weeks off from your workout plan. While you’re probably thinking that you have plenty of time to get back in shape, keep in mind that Charleston beach weather kicks off in February – and if you’re anything like me, you’ll need that extra little push to get back into shape and start eating right!
Here are 5 ways to kick yourself back into shape:
1. Eat Right
It can be hard to eat healthy on a budget – trust me, I know! However, there are plenty of simple ways to avoid eating Ramen noodles and pasta every single night for the rest of your college life. You can kickstart a healthy lifestyle by planning out each of your meals for the week before going grocery shopping, and sticking to your list. Avoid grocery story temptation (and don’t hit Harris Teeter on an empty stomach)!
Make sure to eat breakfast! I’m sure you hear this constantly from your mom or your doctor, but it’s absolutely true. Granola bars and/or yogurts are fast and healthy breakfast options. If you need snacks throughout the day, try a piece of grab-and go fruit (e.g. apples, bananas, oranges). Almonds are always a good snack too, and here’s a fun fact: They boost your metabolism! If you’re like me and don’t love almonds on their own, try eating them with some dried cranberries. The added sweetness really makes a difference!
The most important tip to eating right is to always eat at the right time. When midnight rolls around and you’re suddenly in snack mode, your body is too tired to work off that food, so whatever you decide to eat is going to stick with you. Fight the urge and try to avoid those post-party cravings!
It may also help to write down what you eat everyday. You will be able to notice trends in what you eat and how it affects you, assess the healthiness of your daily diet, and decide what you should do to improve it.
2. Drink water
This is such a simple habit that can help you so much with your fitness goals; the more water you drink the better! Although most people believe that 8 glasses is the optimal amount for a given day, women are actually supposed to drink about 9 glasses on average, while men should be downing around 13. This may seem like an intimidating amount, but it is absolutely possible. Try carrying a water bottle around with you and refilling it for every class. Keeping yourself hydrated cleanses your system and makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Challenge yourself to do some sort of fitness everyday, even if only for 10 minutes. Not only does exercise make your body feel good, but it is also proven to boost your mood! Charleston is a perfect city for runners. There are so many beautiful and easy routes around here that everyone should take advantage of: the Battery, Colonial Lake, and Rainbow Row are all scenic running routes of which other collegiettes would be extremely envious. Exercising is the perfect chance to do some exploring!
Feel like getting competitive? Check out the annual Cooper River Bridge Run 10k (6.2 miles) taking place in Mt. Pleasent April 6th. If you’re looking for something more fun and less daunting, head on over to the Color Me Rad 5K (3.1 miles), a new road race in Charleston this year, featuring “color bombs” which will leave you red green and blue all over (think Color Run)!
Not a runner? Here are other local ways to be active and tone up:
- Yoga is a great workout and stress reliever. There are a variety of Yoga centers in the area that you can get involved in easily. For example: Blue Turtle Yoga or Bikram Yoga.
- Go to the gym and use the machines or take classes – ESAC and Stern are the facilities offered by the school, and Eco Fitness (Wentworth between King and Meeting Streets) is another option.
- Get in shape with at-home workout videos (e.g. P90X, Insanity, Richard Simmons!)
Believe it or not, sleep plays a big part in controlling and regulating your appetite. Manage your sleep – try not to go out on nights when you have to wake up super early the following morning. We all know it is tough to fit sleep into our busy college schedules, but we all need it. Get to know your body and make sure you allow for ample rest in your schedule. Everything that you do is going to depend on the amount of energy you have, so try to remember how important it is to catch those z’s!
5. Get into a routine
Lastly, make yourself a schedule or design a routine to stay on the “getting back into shape” track! One thing that really helps me is to get a friend to be on the same routine as me. If you have someone else on the same path, it definitely pushes you to keep up, or even compete. There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, right?!
So what are you waiting for? Get outside and get in shape, beach season is almost upon us!