8 Tips to Get Back in Shape After the Holidays

It's that time of the year again. The fun of winter break is officially over, and a new semester has begun. While it is exciting to start fresh classes, meet new people, and get involved in new clubs and organizations on campus, it can be difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle as a college student. Creating time to squeeze in a workout, making a budget to eat healthy foods, and ultimately finding the motivation to get up and get moving can be a bit overwhelming. Not to mention, most of us are guilty of eating way too many Christmas cookies and binge watching way too much Netflix over break and may be returning to campus carrying a few extra pounds than when we left (oops).

Here are 8 tips to help you shed that dreaded winter break weight gain: 

Set a long term goal

Going on vacay to a tropical hot spot for Spring Break? The winter months will pass before you know it. By setting a long term goal, you will be more motivated to accomplish smaller day-to-day tasks like making healthy food choices or spending some time at the gym. Do yourself a favor and take the time to put living a healthy lifestyle at the top of your priority list. 

Get in a routine 

This semester, try to manage your time wisely (looking at you, Netflix, Pinterest and YouTube videos). Setting up a designated time every day to get yourself moving, and actually sticking to that time, will help tremendously when you are struggling to find your motivation this winter. We all have our favorite time of the day to work out, so pick a time, any time, and schedule an appointment with yourself you can't miss! (You wouldn't miss your advising appointment with your professor, would you?)

Actually use the campus rec center 

Most college campuses provide access to ah-maz-ing recreation centers for their students. The rec center has it all: weight training areas, cardio machines, pools and basketball courts. The options available for you to be active are endless. Take advantage of these nice facilities at your school.

Try a new fitness class

A lot of college recreation centers offer a variety of group fitness classes. Boxing, Zumba, yoga, barre, pilates and even water aerobics may be offered at your school. Check with the Rec Center about possible classes offered. Fitness classes are a great way to meet new people, make working out fun and hold yourself accountable.

Get plenty of sleep

Let's be real here, there are only so many cups of Starbucks coffee you can drink (and afford). Studies have shown being sleep deprived can lead to over-eating. Not to mention, it will be much more difficult to pay attention in class or study for long periods of time if you are exhausted. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night to maintain energy levels and avoid "distracted eating" often triggered by lack of sleep. Maintaining a regular sleeping routine is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Find a workout buddy

Working out is much more enjoyable when you have your BFF along for the ride. Finding a friend that shares the same fitness goals as you do will help keep both of you accountable along the journey. A workout partner should be encouraging, supportive and, most importantly, be there to remind you why you started.

Always have a healthy snack with you 

With classes scheduled smack in the center of your lunch time, you can be left feeling extra HANGRY after you get released which can lead to over-eating. Try keeping a healthy, convenient snack on hand to munch on before or during class. Things like protein bars, apples, strawberries, almonds, granola and carrots are great options to carry in your bag to hold you over until you can eat a full meal.

Make it FUN

Mix up your workouts to keep things interesting and avoid getting in that dreaded "exercise rut." Lack of motivation can sometimes come from boredom. Turn on some music, grab some friends and try a new workout class. Pilates, hot yoga, kickboxing and even dancing are great ways to torch calories without even going near the typical treadmill.

Setting goals and striving to be the best version of yourself will help you succeed in and out of the classroom. Start the new semester off right by putting your best foot forward and make living a healthy lifestyle one of your top priorities. Goodbye winter break weight gain, hello spring break bod!