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How to “Get in Shape” Before Spring Break… Or Not?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St Olaf chapter.

The first question here is: what does “in shape” even mean?  In the shape of a Victoria’s Secret model?  Of the proper proportions to look flawless in a bathing suit in the presence of total strangers on the beaches of Hawaii, Florida, the Bahamas, etc?   Before you go on a mission to accomplish such perfection, you should probably ask yourself a few more questions:  What does being “in shape” mean to me?  Why do I want to change my body or lifestyle to get “in shape?” And most importantly: how realistic are my goals, and how can I accomplish them?  Regardless of your personal answers to these questions, here are a few of my tips on how to become more healthy, happy, and ready for LIFE, not only spring break.

1.  See yourself positively from the start.  Any changes like these are not from bad to good, unattractive to attractive, and so on. Rather, they are about caring for yourself: your body, mind, and long-term health.  To care for yourself, you need to get in the right mindset.  Relieve all of the pressure and negative feelings from the situation! Likely these feelings will not go away with the dropping of a few pounds or inches.

2.  Start to eat mindfully.  Choose what you’re eating because you want to and you know it’ll do good for your body, and eat slowly and enjoy your meal! This will decrease binge eating and help you make more healthful choices.  In addition, try to make small switches.  If you drink soda in the caf, switch to milk, juice, or water.  If you’re buying Cage cookies, Pause pizza, and cookies and cream shakes every night for a late-night snack, switch to a piece of fruit or a protein bar.  Making small changes like this can make a huge difference.  It’s also helpful to avoid processed foods in general and practice a “clean diet.”  Treat your body well and form good habits now!  It’ll help in the short- and long-term future.

3.  Be active!  Since it’s hard to enjoy the great outdoors and exercise in the sunlight, you’ll probably have to do some indoor training.  Go to Zumba classes, offered Monday through Thursday ON CAMPUS (for free!), mix cardio and weight training, and have fun with it!  Find a workout buddy, listen to your favorite upbeat playlist, and make it refreshing rather than serious.  If you don’t have time to work out on Mondays and Fridays, don’t get discouraged.  If you don’t see immediate results, don’t shame yourself and don’t give up!  Working out should be about more than flattening your stomach or being the thinnest girl in the gym.  Accomplish your own personal goals and only compete with yourself, and your gym anxiety will slowly vanish.

4. Make realistic goals, both short term and long term.  This shouldn’t be an improvement solely for spring break, but also for your health and happiness of the future.  Start adapting to these good habits and don’t expect huge changes tomorrow or even next week.  Short-term changes should be lifestyle habits and mindset.  Long-term results will reflect these habits and mindset!  

Okay, so maybe this isn’t the most effective way to get in shape for spring break, but maybe you shouldn’t put so much pressure on yourself.  You’ll get more out of making  lifestyle changes and loving yourself than from participating in a two-week binge and becoming a gym rat pre-spring break, only to indulge in amazing food on your spring break trip.  So, personalize your mission with realistic goals, and NEVER buy the smaller size of that bathing suit in hopes of getting smaller in one month or less.  Your body is important and you should treat it with care, but care does not include shaming it, changing it, and neglecting it in order to fit a certain mold.  Stay healthy, Oles!! 

Keep Calm It’s Almost Spring BreakPositivity is the KeyClean Diet PyramidBe Active, Healthy, HappySmart Goals