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No Excuses: Your Guide to Fall Fitness

“I’m going to stay motivated this year!” you told yourself, crossing your heart and hoping to try. You would keep up-to-date with your online lectures, pick a cute outfit each morning and strive to make it to the gym three (no, four) times a week.
 
Yet just a few weeks into the fall semester, you might be re-thinking those promises. As the temperatures begin to slowly fall, so will your fitness plans … right to the bottom of your priority list. We’ll let you make all the excuses you want for sleeping in late (“It’s too cold to get out of bed”) and skipping the smooth legs for a day or two (“I can just wear jeans!”); however, when it comes to staying healthy, there are no ifs, ands or buts.

 
You Say: “Right now, I’m more worried about dropping classes than dropping pounds.”
We Say : Make a quick workout count. Got 30 minutes? Rather than plodding away at a steady jog the whole time, take advantage of interval training; alternate bursts of quicker or more intensive exercise with “recovery periods” at a slower pace. The change-up forces your body to respond to different conditions, therefore burning more calories and boosting your metabolism. Compile a 30-minute power-packed playlist to make the time pass even faster.
           
You Say: “I don’t want to miss ‘Glee!’” (or “Grey’s Anatomy,” or “The Office” … )
We Say: September is prime time for TV premieres, and you’re probably counting down the days for your favorites. Get to the gym an hour before and use “Modern Family” as motivation to make it through your workout. Better yet, take advantage of the technology at Southwest Rec and watch it on one of the dozens of treadmills, ellipticals or bikes equipped with televisions. Still not willing to risk it? Stay home and see how many sit-ups or lunges you can do during the commercial breaks.
 
You Say: “The gym is so boring, and I just want to spend the afternoon with my friends.”
We Say: Change it up! Grab a group and try your hand (and paddles) at canoeing in Lake Wauberg or down the Santa Fe River (1 hour burns 410 calories). Go biking (235 calories), rollerblading (580 calories) or take a brisk walk around campus (220 calories). Feeling competitive? Challenge a friend (or three) to a game of tennis (470 calories burned … or more if you spend most of your time chasing balls over the fence!)
 
You Say: “I have five hours of studying tonight, a quick trip through the drive thru will have to do.”
We Say: We all love our Panda Express and Chipotle, and really, who’s going to cook every night? Just keep everything in moderation. As the weather gets cooler, it’s easy to forgo healthy habits knowing we’ll have thicker, looser clothing to cover up with. Switch things up with seasonal snacks, including mixed nuts, pumpkin, cranberries, whole grains, apples and almond butter.  And remember: even on a hectic night, eating slow will help you feel full faster. Putting in the time on the front end will save you hours working off those extra calories later.
 
You Say: “Forget eight glasses of water a day! Coffee keeps me warm and the caffeine keeps me awake!”
We Say: Hopefully in a few more weeks, you won’t break a sweat as soon as you walk out the door or die of heat stroke by the time you reach Turlington – regardless, it’s important to stay hydrated. Cooler temperatures make it hard to remember to drink water, but your body won’t let you forget; without enough, you’ll begin to feel sleepy and sluggish. Sure, that grande Starbucks iced latte might be your wake up call, but caffeine can also raise your levels of cortisol (the “stress hormone”). Stick with green or herbal tea for a quick, healthy pick-me-up.

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