What felt like the longest winter ever is finally past and the weather is starting to warm up. With nicer weather comes fewer layers and more “exposure”. You may be ready for the warm weather, but is your body?
Especially if you’re a freshman who attends a school where it’s really cold for most of the academic year, like many others you’ve probably found that you gained some weight since school started. It could be from a plethora of reasons that might include taking the shuttle to class instead of walking, taking advantage of the all you can eat cafeterias, lack of physical exercise because “it’s too cold to go to the gym” or even the standard excuse of “I drank too much”. Regardless of your personal situation here is a list of 8 ways you can get yourself back on track and in to shape just in time for bathing suit season.
- Change your eating habits- If when you arrived at school you found that the cafeteria hamburgers were the best things ever, perhaps it’s time to change your go-to meal. It is also important to monitor the frequency of snacks and meals during the day. Living in a dorm room means your kitchen, bedroom, office and living room are all probably within about 10 feet of each other. Try to minimize your regular snack sessions and don’t fill up on snack food before you go to sleep. When your body is resting, let it recover and catch up from everything you did that day. It doesn’t need to be tasked with metabolizing more food.
- Be active- Throwing a frisbee, playing catch, join an intramural sport, play tennis with a friend, run around town, skateboard, bike through the city and even golf is a great way to work off those extra meals that you’ve “picked up” and carried with you through the winter months.
- Get your butt to the gym- Whether you’re Mr. Olympics or you feel you’re so out of shape it’s not even worth it, you’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about or lose (or everything to lose depending how you look at it). Contrary to what most people believe, the “real fat girl” (or guy) at the gym who is making an honest effort gets the most respect in my book. To make the decision to go to the gym takes not only a lot of motivation but it takes even more courage to actually go and workout. The girls (and guys) who go to the gym just to say they go need to leave and find another hobby. The gym is meant for working out and getting in to shape. Regardless of what shape you start at, everyone is working towards marginally similar goals.
- Turn your dorm room in to a mini-gym- Sit-ups, push-ups and other calisthenics can easily be done in the privacy of your dorm room. You can even do one of those dvd workouts like p90x or a Richard Simmons special. Once you get past the concept that you’re working out right next to your bed, you may find that you can work up a pretty good sweat without even leaving your dorm room. You can even burn some serious calories by using your bed but that’s easier for some than others and certainly a topic for an entirely different article.
- Drink Less- “A study at Indiana University in Bloomington found that female respondants reported drinking double to triple their high school beer intake while males reported drinking two to four time the beer they drank in highschool” (livestrong.com). Sure, it’s a pretty standard fact that students drink a lot more than they did in highschool (if they drank at all). Simply drinking less won’t get you back in to shape but it will certainly help the process. Instead of taking three steps back for every step forward, by drinking less you may only take one or two back.
- Find a fitness buddy- Most people who want to get in better shape have a friend that is also in a similar position. By working together you’ll find that you help each other stay motivated and on task. Don’t just find a friend, who says “sure”, you want someone who is going to be committed otherwise they may hurt your progress. Set goals with them, perhaps even train for an upcoming event (i.e. 5k, triathlon, biathlon, bike race etc…)
- Be patient- A wise sign in the Caribbean once read, “Good things take time, now chill out”. The first few days you start to eat healthy, your extra weight isn’t going to just fall off. Likewise, the first few times you go to the gym you may think you’re experiencing nothing but soreness and pain but don’t worry, you’re just getting all your muscles back in to gear. Some people don’t like being sore but I think it’s great. It proves that you’ve worked your muscles so hard that they need to recover. When muscles recover they usually rebuild and are stronger than they were before you worked out. Work out frequently enough and your muscles re-build themselves to a point where you don’t get sore nearly as easily or frequently. When you feel you’ve reached that point, you’re either not working hard enough or you can consider yourself to be in great shape.
- Drink lots of water- In layman’s terms, when your body becomes active, it learns to process more of the “junk” you’ve been carrying more efficiently. To help flush out your system, drink plenty of water.
Any one of these tips can help you get back in to the shape you want to be in. Set goals, stay motivated, be consistent and you’ll have that beach body you’ve been dreaming about all winter in no time.
Written by: Jeff- Founder, FullDorm.com