The countdown is on my friends: spring break is a mere three weeks away (but I’m sure you’re already crossing off the days on your calendar). For those of you that are going away to a warm, tropical, beachy place that may require a swimsuit, here are a few last-minute tips to help rid of any unwanted or excess weight we all tend to put on over the winter, courtesy of Livestrong.com.
First, don’t cheat your warm up. Skipping it or not warming up properly can cause you to be too sore the rest of the week to get your workouts in. Warm up your muscles on a treadmill or bike for five to ten minutes on a low speed. Be sure to stretch each muscle for 15-30 seconds.
1. Limit your intake of carbohydrates but don’t get rid of them altogether. The best foods to cut back on are pasta, rice and bread. In doing so, your body is lacking its preferred/favorite energy choice, causing your body to burn fat at an accelerated rate. To make up for those carbs, focus on eating more vegetables and nuts. Limiting your carbs decreases water retention, too, so you’ll have less water weight when you’re Baywatch-running in the sand (don’t pretend you haven’t done that before).
2. Interval training burns a large amount of calories in a short period of time. Try jumping on a treadmill or stationary bike after a solid warm-up and sprint full speed for 15 seconds, followed by a 45 second coast or rest. Alternate the two for about five intervals, and add a rotation each time you do it. Shoot for about 15 intervals by the time break rolls around.
3. Ah, the classic kettlebells. A simple iron ball with a handle that is making a comeback because of how it is effective for short-term weight loss: it involves the entire body at once, building strength while burning fat. Try some simple swinging and lifting movements and perform them with a high repetition count.
4. Finally, the meal plan: eat small and frequent meals. Don’t starve yourself or miss meals, it only slows down your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. Spread your calories out throughout the day by eating small meals every three hours. The frequency and portion size boost your metabolism and prevent cravings.
Hopefully, some of these quick and easy tips help you squeeze into that teeny bikini or feel a little more confident when soaking up the sun. I’d warn you about sunburns and awkward tan lines, but it’s kind of funny to see who comes back with the worst one. My teammates and I get goggle lines across the middle of our foreheads…jealous?
Kelly Foley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org