Feeling slumped at the start of the summer and not sure how to nourish your body in a way that will make you feel like yourself again? You’re not alone.
For many, it can be hard to get back to treating their body right after months of skipping the gym, going out multiple times a week and binge eating Canyon and DP Dough at 3 a.m.
Finding an effective way to get back into the swing of working out and eating healthy on a regular basis shouldn’t be hard, but many people find themselves struggling. That’s why VALLEY is here to guide you on your way to focusing on your fitness and health this summer and beyond.
Work It Out
The first step in creating an exercise regimen that works for you and benefits your body is figuring out what you like. Many fitness studios and gyms offer free trials — taking advantage of free classes and free memberships can help you find a workout that makes your body feel good and makes you feel good about your body. For anyone staying in State College this summer, CrossFit gym F45 offers the first two weeks free, and Orangetheory Fitness, a group training studio which is set to open later this summer, is offering a free week-long trial during their first week of business.
Forming Good Habits
Finding a workout that you enjoy comes first, but next is finding the time to participate in that workout regularly. Those who don’t have jobs and have a flexible schedule can enjoy the luxury of exercising on their own terms. For others, however, it can be harder to find the time, even in the summer. Finding a gym that has early hours, late hours or classes at specific times can help in planning workouts that don’t interfere with other responsibilities.
During the semester, sophomore Alanna Cioffi often finds it difficult to get to the gym on a regular basis. Between morning classes and evening club meetings, hitting the gym for even a quick cardio session isn’t really something Cioffi can fit on her plate.
“Timing has a lot to do with it,” she says. “At home, we have more time to meal prep and work out when we don’t have to focus on school and homework.”
Watch What You Eat
Another component of bringing your body back to better health is eating right and eating regularly. Odd class times and late-night study sessions in the library make it easy to reach for foods that aren’t so nutritious, simply out of convenience. At home, it’s easier to choose the foods you like and actually want to eat rather than those that are available to you at the time.
Although it’s easy to just reach for whatever is in the refrigerated case at Starbucks, it can be even more convenient to know what you’re going to eat ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about finding something tasty and nutritious on a whim.
Buying food in advance and making a meal plan can be beneficial for anyone who wants to eat healthier in addition to exercise, and it can be especially helpful to those who have busy days. Planning a grocery list over the weekend and shopping/prepping your lunch on Sunday can be helpful later in the week — when you’re late or running out the door, all you have to do is grab your prepped lunch from the fridge and go.
Meal-prep can get boring if you’re eating the same thing every day of the week, so something to try is preparing one meal for the first half of the week and another for the second half. Meal-prepping can be fun, especially for those who like to plan, but groceries can get expensive. It’s important to budget how much you want to spend on food and make sure that you’ll be able to eat most, if not all, of what you buy before it goes bad.
A benefit of spending the summer at home is being able to take advantage of the wide variety at grocery stores, specialty food stores and markets. Since grocery stores have many more options than the HUB or a dining hall, it’s easier to eat to a specific diet if one wants to.
Freshman Ally Moore struggled with finding food she likes in East Halls’ Findlay Commons, especially toward the end of the semester when soup and salads just weren’t cutting it anymore.
“For me it’s definitely a lot easier to eat healthy at home due to vast options of vegan, vegetarian, etcetera in California,” Moore says.
Finding a diet that works for you — whether it be full of chicken and pasta or green smoothies and avocado toast — and pairing it with a workout regimen that leaves you feeling energized and refreshed can make this summer the best one yet.
Need inspiration? Head on over to Instagram and stalk your favorite health-foodie or fitness blogger for some insight on how to start your journey to a happier, healthier, more active lifestyle.
Meal-prepping all summer? Found the perfect workout for you? Tweet us at @VALLEYmag about how you’re improving your health and working on your fitness this summer!