This article was written by Julianne Grauel and was originally posted February 29, 2012 on the www.hercampus.com website.
In order to be bikini-ready for Spring Break, you swore you’d hit the gym hard every day and eat right… but it never happened. Now Spring Break is less than two months away and there will be tons of swimsuit photo ops that you’re just not feeling hot for.
Have no fear! We’ve got a few healthy tips to help you slim down in just a few weeks —because we all know crash diets and exercising your life away in the gym for a few days is unhealthy, un-fun and unlikely to produce any results.
In these weeks before your trip, you should switch up your normal cardio routine. According to Kevin Schultz, director of strength and conditioning at Carnegie Mellon, rather than just spending your usual 60 minutes on the elliptical, you should “do repeat high intensity bouts with short rest periods.” Go hard for 10-30 seconds with 10-30 second breaks. Repeat this 10-20 times for a set. Do up to 3 or 4 sets with a 5-10 minute rest period in between each set. This cardio plan can be done on the bike, treadmill, elliptical or stair master…so mix it up! However, you can use it on strength machines too and incorporate both strength and cardio into your workout if you have time. Just keep in mind that you tend to burn more calories in a high intensity 10-minute interval than at a low intensity 30-minute interval.
We all know the usual tips: avoid bloating by not consuming gum, fried foods or salty foods. Don’t eat sweets, etc. But there are a few other pointers that can help you to become Spring-Break-ready by next month! Schultz suggests drinking 2 cups of coffee or tea a day (which should be a breeze for sleep-deprived college students) as it will help with fat oxidation, i.e., will help boost your metabolism. Just be careful not to add too many extra thrills to your drink, like cream, sugar, and flavor shots, as these are unwanted calories!
Registered dietician at Carnegie Mellon University, Paula Martin explains that many popular (quick weight loss) diet plans can be very harmful to your health. However she does offer several tips to begin slimming down in time for break:
- Eat Both Proteins and Carbs: Meals and snacks with protein as well as complex carbohydrates are desirable for weight loss. Consider a veggie burger on a whole grain bun with lettuce and tomato or a bean burrito with salsa and lettuce to take with you on the go.
- Eat Frequently: Eating every 3-5 hours will keep the hunger pains away and you will be able to stay focused and on task. Remember, overly restrictive diets tend to keep your mind focused on FOOD and not your next task for the day, and can lead to binge eating later.
- Breakfast of Champions: Have breakfast within an hour of getting up. 6 oz of yogurt and a ½ cup of multi-grain cereal is a great way to get both the carbs and protein you need. How about an English muffin sandwich? Or whole-wheat toast with a teaspoon of peanut butter, an apple and some yogurt?
- Or At Least Drink Something in the A.M.: If you are not an early morning eater then consider drinking in the nutrition with a yogurt smoothie, or skim milk latte. Something is always better than nothing.
Remember everything is best in moderation, in terms of BOTH diet and exercise. Don’t go too far to one extreme. Martin says, “Less is not more when it comes to weight management. Our bodies need energy to lose weight: this means you have to eat!” Exercising too much or eating too little will not be effective.
After all this just go out and have fun! Happy Spring Break!