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New Semester, Healthier You

It’s the middle of January and if you’re lucky, those New Year’s resolutions are still intact. If not, there’s nothing to worry about, you can always start over. For those of you who made resolutions, your list probably included at least one thing related to health, something like: “Workout x times per week,” “No dessert,” “Run the Holy Half,” “Sign up for a workout class,” etc. These are all great aims, but how do you achieve that elusive “Be healthier” goal? Here’s some good advice for being a healthier fitter you!

1.  Take your vitamins.

You probably think I sound like your mom, but taking daily vitamins helps your immune system and makes up for vitamins your diet lacks. If you’re not a big fan of horse pills, try adult gummy vitamins. They’re tasty and they’ll help keep you from getting sick.

2.  Drink 64 ounces of water each day.

I used to think that eight eight-ounce glasses of water today sounded like way too much water, but I promise you won’t float. If you space it out throughout the day, you’ll find it’s a good amount of water. It helps keep you hydrated, makes me way less likely to get headaches, and in general makes you feel better. Pro-tip: fill your Nalgene twice and you’re done!

3.  Get more sleep.

“Sleep!” you exclaim, “Sleep is for the weak.” First of all, this is NOT true and you shouldn’t let your FOMO get in the way of you getting enough sleep. Go out to the bar, hit up house parties or dorm parties on the weekend, but make sure you get some sleep. A little more concentrated productivity can help make those 2:00am bedtimes closer to 1:00am.

4.  Sign up for a fitness class.

Putting your money where your resolutions are can be a great strategy for working out. Why not sign up for a fitness class? You can take yoga, zumba, ballet, you name it. Pro-tip: sign up with a roommate or a friend and hold each other accountable for going. You can register here.

5.  Vary your exercise routine.

I’m so guilty of doing the same thing whenever I go to Rolf’s, but the key to staying interested in working out is variety. Mix up your playlists, try interval training, vary your leg, ab, and lifting routine. Cross-train while you’re training for the Holy Half. Keep yourself interested and have fun.

6.  Set achievable, measurable goals.

Breaking down a larger goal like “get healthy” into smaller parts makes it seem more achievable and will help you accomplish whatever you’ve set out to do. For example, I wanted to get back in shape and run (I use the term loosly) the Holy Half. After signing up (I put money into it), I decided I want to finish in under 3 hours (I’m not a runner and can currently only run a slow 5K), and that in order to do this, I’m running four days a week to train. I’m using Adidas’ MiCoach app, which gives me pacing goals. I’m usually under pace for some of the time, but the app monitors my speed and tells me what adjustments I need to make. Find what works for you, but be sure to break down your goal with a solid plan for making it happen.

7.  Find your fitness motivator.

I don’t particularly like exercise, but I always feel great afterwards. So to motivate myself, I bought some new running tights to keep me warm. I had a Fitbit One that I loved using, until Finny’s ate it, that helped me walk and move more in a day. I also love my MiCoach and Lose It! apps. Find what keeps you motivated and use it. There are a ton of great apps, wearable trackers, and super cool fitness gear out there to chose from.

8.  Reward yourself.

Everyone likes being rewarded for hard work, so develop a plan to positively reinforce achieving your goals. Is there a new top you want? Reward yourself for lowering your mile time by 30 seconds. Did you lose 5 pounds? Splurge on eyeliner at Sephora. Get an A on an exam with a tough professor? Buy yourself a new going out clutch. When you achieve something difficult, reward yourself.

9.  All things in moderation.

Whether it’s exercise, alcohol, sweets, or pizza, be sure to use portion control. Working out is great, but not to the point of injury or exhaustion. Be sure to give your body recovery time. If you’re trying to lose weight or just watching your figure, be mindful about what you’re putting into your body. Splitting a bottle of wine is a better idea than 2 cups of jungle juice. Free pizza is great, but try to stick to one slice. You can always make healthier choices, but there’s no reason to avoid or overdo something.

10.  Have your cake and eat it too.

Some people are all or nothing when it comes to their self-control, but I’m a big fan of staying on track calorie-wise while still going out for drinks and dessert with my friends. The biggest thing is planning. If you know you’re going to have a big dinner out, pick something lighter, like a salad for lunch. If you know you and your friends are going to Feve, plan on ordering rum and diets rather than sugary mixed drinks. But mostly, enjoy yourself! Have dessert, indulge in an adult beverage, eat the fries. If you get off track, don’t fall off the horse. Enjoy this semester!


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Maria Fahs

Notre Dame

Maria is finishing her Masters in English at Notre Dame. She has read many good books and several bad books, but she usually tries not to finish those. Her current favorites are: 1984, The Book Thief, The Tragedy Paper, Code Name Verity, Dr. Copernicus, I Am the Messenger, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and of course, Harry Potter. She is writing her second thesis on Harry Potter, exploring notions of authorship and reader agency in the digital age. She even managed to write her Capstone on British Children's Literature and designed her own Directed Readings Course on Notre Dame history during undergrad. Her favorite way to read is with a mug of tea and scented candles. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she can be found binging on the BBC (Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin [RIP]). Her favorite color is purple, she studied abroad in London, and she enjoys being an amateur painter. She harbors a not-so-secret dream of one day writing a children's book, but until then, she is likely to be found reading them and writing letters whenever she gets a chance. She hopes to teach English or work in a university sharing her love of education.
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