The end of the school year is coming to an end, and you have one thing on your mind – warm weather. With warm weather comes the beach, walking around in summer dresses and shorts and putting down those heavy sweaters that kind of bundle everything up. But then, the thought of wearing swimsuits, shorts and tank tops pops into your mind, and you look down and see your “winter bod” game has gotten a little stronger than you would have liked. The basics are to eat healthier and to start exercising, but here are some tips to get a little healthier in the final weeks of spring as we approach the summer.
Enough said. Get on the elliptical, treadmill or bike for at least 30 minutes, 4 times per week. Try something new, too – run outside or take a spin class. It’s as easy – and should be as simple – as it sounds.
Get rid of the not-so-great stuff in your diet
It’s known (and totally unfortunate) that weight loss and body change is 80% what you eat and only 20% exercise. If you’re looking to lose some of those extra pounds that might have snuck up on you this winter, first try cutting back on processed foods. The more natural and pure you can eat, the better for your body – and for your health and skin! Try to cut back on pasta, cookies, bread, etc. We are not telling you to completely stop eating those, but those types of foods slow down your metabolism and are harder to digest. If you’re craving some pasta or a sandwich, try quinoa pasta and either sprouted or whole wheat bread.
It’s time to start sweating, but not on the treadmill
Summer = bathing suits. If you’re more of a bikini kind of gal, you want that bikini body and you want to look ready. We all know we need to exercise to lose weight, but most of us think the only way to get in shape is cardio. Wrong! Ladies, it’s time to strength train. Try some full-body strength training classes at your college’s gym, look up videos on YouTube or download the app Active by Popsugar that offers you step-by-step strength training videos. Strength and circuit training boost your metabolism, leaving your body burning calories for 24 to 48 hours after your workout and leaving you with lean muscles that look and feel better than flab.
Bring on the nutrients
Of course we know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but most of us do not eat the suggested serving of fruits and veggies every day. Now would be the best time to stock up on fruits and veggies, because it’s spring and everything is fresh and amazing! Reach for some spinach, grab a handful of blueberries, or if you’re on the run, grab an apple instead of that sugary granola bar. Fruit is also a great substitute for dessert. If a bowl of berries doesn’t do it for you, treat yourself to a Lära Bar – these bars are made only out of fruits and nuts, and are absolutely ridiculous. It’s also nice, for a change, to read the ingredients and understand everything! The bars are sweetened with dates, and some are higher in sugar than others, but that is because they are made with dried fruits, which have sugar (but this isn’t the bad kind of sugar). Also, try to increase your daily intake of natural diuretics. Natural diuretics are foods that help speed up the fluids in your body and help you avoid bloating. Some of these include lemon, green tea, cucumber and asparagus.
Meet me at the barre
Different than strength training is barre. Basically, barre classes are a mix of moves that are brought in from ballet, yoga, Pilates, functional training and dance. Barre is a fast and effective way to change your body. It is a total body workout, but different than strength training. In a barre class, movements are targeted to small muscles in your body, working muscles you never thought you had before. Barre will tone your abs, thighs, arms, butt and everything in-between.
Gulp, gulp, gulp
First off, you should be drinking water every day, throughout the day, every day of the year. We are supposed to consume 64 ounces of water per day, but the more the merrier. Water is especially important if you are working out because even a tiny bit of dehydration can affect the way you work out. The more water you drink, the more excess water weight is flushed out of your body. But don’t drown your system! On the opposite end of the drinking spectrum – it’s time to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. It’s understandable that because it’s the end of the year, you want to go out and have a good time with your friends, but try cutting back to one drink three times per week. This will help you reduce your calorie and sugar intake, and you will get a better night’s sleep if you don’t have too much beer in your system! If you are going to have a night of partying, drink one glass of water with every alcoholic drink you have to avoid being hungover and dehydrated.
For most of us, beach weather isn’t until mid-to late May, so we have some time. As long as you stay healthy, eat right and incorporate some exercise into your routine, your summer bod should be good to go! If you are looking to lose weight, roughly one pound per week is a healthy approach. Try apps on your phone like MyFitnessPal, which counts your calories, gives you really great recipe ideas, and incorporates your exercise. So ladies, put away those winter coats and chunky sweaters. But remember, you are beautiful no matter what, bikini or not.