3:57 PM EDT, April 27, 2012
May is upon us, which means seniors in high school are likely in the senior slump.
But what they (and their parents) should be most concerned about is fighting the scary trend of gaining 15 or more pounds their freshman year in college.
Here are eight tips to make it a little easier.
Tip 1: Invest in a whole body workout.
Perform a five-exercise circuit employing body weight-based exercises that's designed with a pushing, pulling, squat/hip extension variation, rotation and a total body exercise within the same workout at least three times per week with a day of rest between workouts.
A good rep range is between eight and 15 reps per exercise, two to three sets, three times per week.
Tip 2: Harness the power of intervals.
Interval training is scientifically proven to burn nine times more body fat than ordinary exercise and elevates metabolism for up to 24 to 48 hours following your workout.
Perform cardio intervals on nonstrength training days three times per week. Selecting your cardio exercise of choice, alternate between 30 seconds of work and 120 seconds of rest. Repeat for up to 20 total minutes.
This routine works best on a stationary bike, for indoor/outdoor running, or for body weight cardio exercises that you can do at home like running in place or jumping jacks.
Tip 3: Eat and hydrate early and often.
Eat immediately upon waking and then every two to four hours to starve fat and feed muscle.
By continuously fueling your furnace, and eating quality protein at every feeding, you'll also keep your metabolism revved up throughout the day and prevent overeating.
Drink two to four cups of water immediately upon waking and then one to two cups of water every two hours, in addition to drinking one to two cups of water for every 15 minutes of activity.
Tip 4: Think fiber when it comes to carbs.
Eat an unlimited amount of fibrous, green veggies during and between meals (avoid corn, peas, carrots, beets, and potatoes).
For optimal fat-burning, try to limit fruit and other carbohydrate consumption to one to two hours post-workout when your body best tolerates starches and sugars.
Tip 5: Be a flexible eater.
Allot yourself one or two "reward meals" per week.
Be sure to plan your reward meals in advance based on your schedule and be sure to earn them.
Tip 6: Lose the booze.
If you drink five beers, your body would be inhibited from fat burning for up to six hours. Not to mention that your body will actually be storing fat during these six hours. The more you drink, the longer your body is inhibited from burning fat. One night of binge drinking can set you back days if not a full week when it comes to fat loss.
Mixing alcohol with sugary beverages promotes even further fat gain because of the resulting insulin surge that triggers fat storage. If you want to be lean, you must minimize or eliminate alcohol consumption.
Tip 7: Sleep.
Get at least six to seven hours (ideally seven to eight) of restful sleep per night and take 20 minute naps to fill in the gaps. Establish a pre-bed routine and avoid caffeine after 2 p.m.
Tip 8: Build your own dorm room gym.
Mandatory items — which cost less than $100 — are dumbbells and resistance bands. For those who want a premium set-up — which costs less than $200 — includes dumbells, resistance bands, a door or wall-mounted pull-up system and a stability ball.
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