Spring break is just around the corner, which means we’re nearing the end of hibernation season. Gone are the days of chunky sweaters and hot cocoa. We don’t know about you, but this is coming to us as a bit of a rude awakening.
Make like Beyoncé, ring the alarm and don’t press snooze because it’s time to reset our routines, ASAP. Here are seven tips to do just this before you get sidetracked by the latest episode of The Bachelor.
1. Work with the resources you have
There’s no need to splurge on a pricy gym membership! One benefit of living on or near campus is a free gym membership. Grab a group of friends to hit the gym with you so that you can motivate each other to get your beach bods ready. Your school gym may also offer free classes like yoga and spinning, so check those out if you prefer more organized workouts.
If you’re not into the gym scene at school, grab your girlfriends and go for a walk! Andrea Riggs, founder of Get Body Beautiful, suggests, “Try to gradually add 15 to 20 minutes of walking three days per week. This will help you burn 250 to 500 calories per day. Over the long term, this can add up to a weight loss rate of 1/2 to 1 pound per week.” Sounds easy enough, right?
2. Ditch processed foods
Want to feel healthy and slim quick? Ditch the processed, packaged foods in favor of something whole. Certified holistic health coach Carly Lockman says, “Foods without wrapping are typically whole, unprocessed foods that contain important nutrients and lack many of the dangerous additives found in packaged foods.” So next time you’re cruising the aisles of the grocery store, make it easy for yourself to make those tough decisions and ditch the wrappers. It’s way cheaper (and better for you!) to make your own breakfast muffins than to buy them pre-made. A word of caution: some organic or “health” foods can be expensive, so be sure to take note of specials at the grocery store and work your meal planning around the marked-down produce, grains and proteins.
3. There’s an app for that
There are a number of free apps for fitness that can help you stay on track of your health goals. MyFitnessPal allows you to track your food and exercise for the day, showing you the calories you’ve burned in a fun little graph. The makers of the app recently did a study on the social effects of their app. Over all, they found that users of the app who shared their food diary and progress with their friends lost twice as much weight as other users. Not to mention, 65 percent of users say it’s more fun to work out with friends (duh!), 50 percent say they get a harder workout with friends and 55 percent say they’re more likely to get off the couch and work out with the motivation of their friends.
4. Say hello to your new best friend, YouTube
You don’t even have to leave your dorm room to get in shape. YouTube is an excellent source for free workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home; even celebrity personal trainers like Mike Donavanik have their own YouTube channels. Donavanik’s videos provide full-length, follow-along workouts that takes anywhere from five to 40 minutes. Donavanik explains, “I inject humor and personality into my workouts.” Because who wants a serious, boring trainer yelling at them through their computer screen?
5. Don’t skip breakfast
You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll say it again: you have to start your day with a healthy, filling breakfast. Riggs says that eating breakfast “will jump start your metabolism because it starts the digestion process early, so it is very important for weight management.” She adds, “This will help you eat less throughout the rest of the day and provide you the energy and fuel you need to make it to lunch time.” So set your alarm a few minutes earlier than usual, crack those eggs and finally make all of those avocado toast recipes on your Pinterest board.
6. Have a home-cooked dinner
If you get in a nutritious breakfast, you won’t need a carb-and-fat-heavy dinner. If you’re not on a meal plan, skip the cafeteria and hit your own kitchen—it’ll be way cheaper to cook at home—and not to mention, a lot healthier, too. Donavanik suggests, “Eat your lightest meal for dinner. Aim to have just dark leafy green veggies and a lean source of protein,” he says. “Stay away from heavy carbs at night.” Eating carb-heavy dinners could lead to late night snacking (hello, midnight pizza delivery!) and sleep issues.
7. H2O is the way to go
Juices, sodas and alcoholic beverages add hundreds of unnecessary calories and sugars to your daily diets. Not to mention, they cost a lot more than twisting the water faucet! So at least until you start whipping up margaritas for spring break, stick to water. Riggs suggests, “Make the effort to switch to water all day to help you detoxify your body, release water weight and achieve more radiant skin.” You’ll feel better and a happier you is a healthier you, so hit the H2O like it’s going out of style!
With tiny adjustments like the ones above, you can totally transform your lifestyle to snap into shape, eat healthily, and save a couple bucks in the process. How will you boost your health before spring break?