Get close to a dream beach body before spring break

Between getting into the swing of a new class schedule and applying for summer internships, it’s easy for spring break to sneak up on some students. This often means getting in shape for vacation is put on the back burner until a few weeks before hitting the beach. For those who haven’t been doing Insanity videos since October in preparation, here’s some advice on how to get a little closer to your dream beach body before March 15.

When it comes to working out and dieting for spring break, both must be done in moderation. Even if you have slacked a bit on your pre-spring break routine, starving yourself and working out like a maniac to make up for it could come with health risks.

When dieting for spring break, Jeanette Andrade, a registered dietician at the University, explained that a simple healthy diet is the best way to go — even though that’s not what everyone likes to hear. Andrade explained that fad diets and cleanses will only keep the weight off for a certain amount of time. 

Instead of attempting these solutions, it’s best to reduce portion sizes and make sure you’re not eating a high amount of salt or fat, she said.

It’s also important to remember that reducing portion sizes can be overdone. Even on a healthy diet, it is possible to not eat enough on that diet.

“For example, if you’re eating 2,000 calories per day and then you’re going to start only eating 400 calories per day, that’s not enough to sustain your body,” Andrade said.

Some people also believe that completely cutting out carbohydrates is an effective method for losing weight before spring break. Andrade explained this isn’t actually the case because our bodies need carbohydrates in order to maintain a balanced diet. 

Foods such as fruit, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and cereals that contain fiber shouldn’t be cut out of diets because they contain complex carbohydrates that are beneficial.

It’s recommended to lose only two to three pounds per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So, with only a few weeks to go until spring break, it’s not realistic to think you’re going to lose an extreme amount of weight before your vacation.

“If you’re shooting to lose 20 pounds in two weeks, it’s probably not going to happen,” Andrade said.

Working out must also be done in moderation in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“You can’t really go too hard on yourself in a short amount of time because it’s not healthy,” said Gina Jenero, first-year law student at the University. Jenero has maintained an active lifestyle since a young age, with intense workouts starting in high school. 

In terms of working out, Jenero recommends doing cardio and working with weights in order to see results quickly. Typically, it’s best to do cardio for a substantial amount of time, even if it means you have to alternate between running and walking on a treadmill, according to Jenero, who works out five times per week. 

For weight lifting, using a small amount of weight with a lot of repetitions can maximize results. However, it’s important to remember to alternate between different types of exercises, said Arielle Penuelas, senior in AHS and personal trainer at the ARC.

“You’ll see a plateau after a while if you keep doing the same things consistently and that’s just because of muscle memory,” Penuelas said. “Your muscles will remember what you’re doing and won’t benefit from the work out.”

To avoid this, switching between alternate forms of cardio and working different muscles is recommended. Jenero explained that she tends to choose a specific part of her body to target each time she makes a trip to the gym.

Recently, Jenero has noticed trends such as CrossFit and yoga being used in preparation for spring break.

“I know a lot of people who are doing yoga and that’s great because it really relaxes your muscles and stretches them out,” Jenero said. “I would definitely recommend yoga, especially for those girls who feel like they need to work out more than once in a day.”

The one downside to getting into shape during this time of year is the crowds at the ARC and CRCE. Specifically, many students tend to work out between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. because it’s after class and before dinner. 

In order to get an efficient workout in without becoming frustrated with a packed gym, Jenero explains that “you might have to consider waking up early or going to the gym during your lunch time instead of hitting the gym after class.”

After working hard to follow a diet and exercise plan prior to spring break, Penuelas said you don’t have to let the entire thing fall apart during break.

“When people are on vacation, they typically don’t think they can work out because they don’t have the facilities they’re used to,” Penuelas said. “But there’s a ton of body weight exercises that you can do such as lunges, push-ups, calf raises — there’s body weight exercises for every part of your body.”

In addition to body weight exercises, vacationers can utilize the beach for running or a swimming pool for laps.

To stay away from bloating while on vacation, foods that are high in salt as well as alcohol consumption should be avoided. Andrade explained that if you can’t avoid drinking alcohol, it’s best to make sure that “you’re eating while drinking alcohol and that you’re not drinking to excess.”

By following a healthy diet while creating a workout plan for yourself, it’s possible to shed a few pounds before spring break but it is probably too late for drastic change.

“With three weeks left, it’s not an ideal amount of time left to get in great shape,” Penuelas said. “However, you can definitely make a difference within that time.”

Taylor can be reached at ellis31@  dailyillini.com