So, midterms are right around the corner. Girls all across the nation are slipping back into their old habits of late night fast food runs, 10 p.m. “second dinners” and energy drinks. Their life is complete chaos right now and the only thing that seems to be keeping them going are those addicting chocolate covered pretzels and Red Bull, right? Wrong.
Girls, let this be a wake up call for any of you who are feeling overwhelmed and unhealthy right now. You can get through school, and you know what? You can get through this semester with the same (if not better) body you had this summer.
Ahh yes, remember the summer? Your morning runs, your non-fat, no sugar lemon water ice, the 100 crunches you did every night. Just as summer was ending, your four pack abs were starting to show. You had the intentions on going to the gym three days a week once school started, but that was short lived.
Recently, I became extremely exhausted by looking at my problem areas in the mirror. I began to feel uncomfortable, unhappy, and downright distraught about how I looked. Was I doing anything to change these areas at the time? Not at all. I used to rely on playing softball in my high school and early college years to keep me in shape. I never needed to go to the gym very often and I ate whatever I wanted and still stayed in shape. However, like many college students, college gets in the way of our healthy habits. This causes us to develop unhealthy eating habits and any idea of working out gets thrown out of the window.
To change this, I made a promise to myself to begin eating healthier and working out three to four times per week (which is easy since I work in a gym!). I give myself an off day every week, but I do not overindulge and ruin my entire day. When we get into a routine of healthy eating and exercising, it becomes easier and easier the more that we stick to it. If you want the results you desire, you have to do some hard work! It’s not easy to get in shape, but it does get easier and more enjoyable with each day’s worth of dedication.
I’m not going to use the “I’m in college, I’m busy and don’t have time to workout” excuse any longer and neither should any of you. If anything, remember these tips when you’re looking to get in shape:
1. Ditch the late night binge: We all know it isn’t good to eat late at night, but here is a trick to keep you mentally tough. Don’t eat anything 3 hours before going to bed. Designate a time when you are going to bed so you know when the last time is that you can have that snack. By eliminating that late night binge, you are guaranteed to be hungry in the morning, which will force you to eat breakfast. Voila! The most important meal of the day. Getting into this habit will create a pattern for you and your stomach, which is helpful for keeping a flat stomach.
2. If you have time to Facebook stalk you have time to workout: All you need is 20 minutes. Exercising is a great stress reliever and can do wonders for your mind and body if you let it. By going on a 20 minute jog, bike, walk, swim or anything, your body will re-energize itself and feel happy again. You only need to exercise for 20-40 minutes, three times a week to see results and keep your body in great shape. If you want some encouragement, get a workout buddy and do it together, this will motivate both of you to push each other and stay fit!
3. Be warned for the weekends added calories: As good as you are all week, be warned that a heavy Friday and Saturday night of drinking and greasy foods can put you right back to unhealthy and unflattering. But of course you want to be able to go out and have fun, so this is what you do. Stay away from drinks with a high calorie count such as Pina Coladas, Margartias, Long Island Ice Teas and Mud Slides, which all have over 500 calories per drink. Also, try to do something active on Saturday or Sunday, such as playing laser tag, hiking, canoeing, or playing a pick-up game. The extra activity will offset your party night calories!
4. Three meals a day will keep the chub away: I am a firm believer in three meals a day, and the reason being is that you are more likely to eat healthy food options when you are eating three meals a day. Also, the key to a healthy body is routine. If your stomach starts growling around 11 a.m. and you know that you usually eat at 12:00 p.m. you have no problem waiting til 12 to eat. If you don’t have a schedule for your meals and you are hungry at 11 a.m., then you will just eat then and the rest of your daily schedule is off. Three meals a day keeps your metabolism up and constantly working to create a healthy body so you can stay strong and energized throughout the day.
5. Look to YouTube: There are thousands, and probably millions of under 10 minute workout videos on YouTube. (Umm, Blogilates, anyone?!) Do some researching and find a good 10 minute ab workout that you like, or try belly-dancing (my roommate used to do that!). The beauty of YouTube workout videos is that they are short, free and by people just like you. It is motivational to workout with people (virtually) who aren’t professionals or have 8-pack abs and yelling at you!
6. Work hard: but do not get disappointed if you do not achieve results right away. Getting in shape takes time.
7. Set up a healthy eating plan: but look for alternatives to unhealthy snacks that you may not be willing to give up. Fruits are yummy and great for your diet… and you can always add some chocolate chips to make it even yummier for those with a sweet tooth.
8. Alternate your workout routines: Do a few days at the gym, switching between cardiovascular exercises and strength exercises. On another day, go running outside (drag a friend along!), take your dog for a walk, or play a sport with friends (my favorite is going to the batting cages since I used to play softball).
9. Have fun: and don’t lose your determination to get in shape! You’ll get the results you want in due time.