We have reached a point in the semester, it seems, when everybody on campus has only one thing on their minds: the glorious week long break from the stresses of the real world that we like to call Spring Break. We are in the home stretch, guys and gals, and in less than five days, we will be shelving the books and hitting the beach…or maybe just your couch, which, for me, is just as exciting.
Many young men and women have been working extra hard lately– putting in the extra mile, choosing a salad over that juicy burger, lathering on that self tanner– to achieve the perfect Spring Break Bod. Because, let’s be honest, we all hope to look our best during our first swim suit outing of the new year.
But Spring Break snuck up on me this year (for goodness sake, it’s still February!) If any of you are in the same boat, you feel my pain. Luckily, there is still time! Here are a few quick exercises you can do each day this week to polish up your beach body in preparation for next week’s festivities.
- Planks, the exercise we all love to hate. Begin by laying on your stomach. With your feet flexed and your toes on the ground, balance on your forearms and lift your body up so that your torso and legs are off the ground. Keep your back straight and your tush down. Remember to breathe, and hold for 30 seconds. You can do this 3-4 times, with 30 second breaks in between.
- Lunges, baby. Tighten those quads and hamstrings by doing 50-100 lunges. Make sure that your knee stays behind your foot to avoid injury. Maintain good posture throughout the exercise. If you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to add weights in small increments.
- Pushups are great for tightening up your arms and chest. Make a straight line with your body, like you would while doing planks. Keep your head up and look forward, and avoid holding your breath. I recommend doing 3-5 sets of 10 pushups. Don’t be afraid to switch things up! Mix in some variety by doing standard pushups for the first half of your workout, and tricep pushups for the second half.
- Power Jacks are a mix between two classics: jumping jacks and squats. Start with your feet together and your arms straight up in the air. As you lower your arms, jump out with your legs and lower into a squat. Then, jump back up to your starting position. If it feels like you are doing the opposite motions of a traditional jumping jack, you are doing it correctly. Do 3 sets of 30 seconds.
- Crunches will help tighten up your abs and eliminate any muffin tops. Begin with 30 seconds of traditional crunches, then switch to side crunches for 30 seconds each. Finish out your ab workout with reverse crunches to target your lower belly. Instead of lifting your upper body off the ground, lift your lower body off the ground and crunch your legs toward your chest.
These exercises will not take long, and by doing them daily, you will tone and strengthen your arms, legs, and core. Try different combinations each day, and don’t hesitate to throw in your own favorites.
My thoughts? Let’s not settle for the “Spring Break Bod.” Let’s continue to commit to our workouts even after next week on the beach, to build our desired year-round bodies that we all so much deserve. Let’s look not only into next week, but also into our beautiful, healthy futures.
Weekly Tips and Challenges
Girls, don’t be tempted to hit the tanning beds pre-spring break. Instead look for self-tanning lotions or spray tans. If your skin doesn’t respond well to such treatments (eh-hem…that’s me), go natural, my lovely pale lady. Be sure to use the appropriate amount of sun screen while outdoors to avoid sunburn, and embrace your pearly (not pasty) bod.
You could even get that Spring Break glow during Spring Break (crazy, I know) by hitting the sand for a game of beach volleyball or by going on a nice morning run before the day of fun zaps your energy. Enjoy yourself, and be kind to your skin!