Spring break is quickly approaching….Have no fear! We have put together a few healthy tips to help you slim down in a short amount of time-because we all know crash diets and exercising your life away in the gym is unhealthy, un-fun and unlikely to produce any results.
Exercise: Before your trip, you should switch up your normal cardio routine. Rather than just spending your usual 60 minutes on the elliptical you should do repeat high intensity bouts with short rest periods. This technique is useful because while moderate-intensity steady state aerobic exercise results in an increased percentage of fat burned during a workout, total caloric expenditure and lipolysis (fat breakdown) are substantially greater in HIIT [high intensity interval training].Keeping this in mind, here’s how to implement it: Go hard for 15-30 seconds with 15-60 second rest periods. Repeat this 10 times for a set. Work your way 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! You can also use it with strength exercises 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 20-minute interval than at a low intensity 30-60 minutes of walking or running.
Diet: 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 be spring-break-ready! Drink 2 cups of coffee or tea (green tea is ideal) a day, as it will help with fat oxidation and will help boost your metabolism. Just be careful not to add too many extras to your drink, like cream, sugar, and flavor shots, as these are unwanted calories! Registered dietician at Carnegie Mellon University, Paula Martin explains that, “‘lose weight quick promises’ of many popular diet plans can be very harmful to your health. Here are 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 chicken burger (no bun) with lettuce and tomato and a side sweet potato.
- Eat Frequently: Eating every 3-4 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 binging later.
- Breakfast of Champions: Have breakfast within an hour of getting up. 6 oz of plain greek yogurt and a fruit or ½ cup of multi-grain cereal with almond milk is a great way to get both the carbs and protein you need.
- 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 whey protein 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!