There are plenty of diets, training programs, and gimmicks for losing weight and getting toned solely for the sake of flaunting one’s body on the beach during spring break. Often around the middle of February college students in particular flock to the gym to try to get their “beach body.” But I have a different philosophy about this. Obviously, you should strive to stay healthy year round, but life happens believe me, I can fully attest to that. So for those of you who may not have the body that you want, or if you missed your usual last minute spring break training sessions, should you give up?
Just because you didn’t reach your goal, or you don’t feel good for spring break, that’s not an excuse to stop and be complacent. Especially with studies coming out finding that more and more adults aren’t trying to lose weight. Look take it from a college student who has a family: if you’re a young adult who’s overweight, you gotta get that excess fat off. There’s no other way around it, you gotta eat high-quality healthy food, drink more water, and work your butt off. So instead of boozing it up for spring break, here are some things to do over spring break that will maximize the time you have off and help you stay or get back on track with your fitness goals.
1. Plan Ahead
If you know you’re going to be busy when school resumes, and you aren’t on vacation, work ahead on assignments, job searching, etc. No, it doesn’t directly correlate with fitness, but if you have the other areas in your life scheduled and set up, then you will be less stressed later on. As we’ve all felt it before, when you’re stressed you make bad eating choices, which compromise your goals. So plan ahead before you come back from break so that your stress levels are low.
2. Actually Exercise
One thing I’ll be using spring break for is to catch up on those long workouts I try to do when school is in session. Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, so I make sure I still workout but time constraints can lower my desired workout time. That long high interval training session I was eyeballing: yep you’re going down.
Those ridiculous supersets of failure I was gonna punish my arms and legs with: I don’t know why I talk myself into these things, but I’m gonna do it. If you’re not out on the beach, now would be a good time to either stay consistent or to catch up on your goals. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant by releasing endorphins into the brain which create a sense of euphoria or happiness that lasts without any negative side effects. Just make sure you’re consistent, which is why you should workout over break to remain consistent.
3. Pick up extra work
For those of you who pay your own rent or any other bills, this could be a good time to find some temporary work to bring in a little extra cash. One of the main problems facing college students is finance. Often not having enough money for rent or food can create so much stress that it derails your fitness goals and causes you to backtrack. Using a little foresight during break can possibly help smooth things out in the long run. And if you’re not struggling, who doesn’t like extra money in their pockets? Look online for temporary jobs or better yet walk around asking various companies if they need extra help during break.
4. Have fun
Many are spending this time on the beach with friends or with copious amounts of alcohol. Not particularly my cup of tea, but the idea of having fun is understood. All work and no play makes for a very tense individual. But as a husband and father, I still don’t have time to just lazy around. So what will I be doing? Spending more time with my family, playing that late night board game with my wife(PayDay is our latest adventure), or just reading some books that are on my list. Remembering to put the recreational things AFTER the responsibilities are taken care of will eliminate what I call “leisure remorse.” Essentially the same as buyer’s remorse, but instead of spending money you’re spending time. Ever binge-watch a show that was exhilarating to watch but when it was over and you consider how much work you still have to do, you felt terrible that you wasted so much time?
Well, if you spend the extra time you have during spring break tackling those tasks, you can truly spend some time having fun without the remorse. For example, today I fixed pretty much everything that was broken around the house and ran errands that I usually can’t run during school. Guess what my reward is gonna be? I’m gonna read a book I just bought and eat guacamole. May not sound fun to you, but if you knew how rare it is that I actually have time to read a book for leisure, you’d understand.
Spring Break is a great time for students to unwind a little, regather their thoughts, just to hit it hard a week later. If you’re not careful, all that rest and relaxation can be more detrimental than beneficial. Enjoy break, but do so with a modicum of responsibility and foresight.
Out of the 6 collegiate spring breaks I’ve had, only two of them are etched in my memory, this year’s being one of them. During those two breaks, I was more productive (and will be more productive) than the others. My health increased and my stress decreased, both which gave my confidence to get my goals accomplished a huge boost. You should try it sometime.