Many people want to lose weight quickly and amongst college students this generally means losing weight in the month leading up to spring break. Now as I am writing this spring break is about a month away (5 weeks for me and up to 7 for some others) and getting on a diet and fitness regimen now can really help to improve the aesthetic appeal of your body. With that in mind let me just say that in a month you should realistically on expect to lose 6-8 pounds in a healthy way so if you’re significantly overweight this guide will help but if you really want to be at your best on the beach I would say aim for the summer. Losing weight fast can be done but it takes complete dedication in the gym and with your diet and with such a small time frame you have no room to make mistakes. 30 days to lose weight is not a long time but since you procrastinated on getting your butt in gear that is what you’re going to have to work with. Put in the effort each day and you will be on your way to a great spring break body. Also, check out How to Get the V-Cut Abs Look
1. Know your maintenance caloric intake
Your Maintenance caloric intake is the amount of calories that you will need each day to maintain your current bodyweight. For our purposes we are going to drop that number by 500 calories in order to lose a pound of fat per week through diet alone (theoretically). A pound of fat is about 3,500 calories if you didn’t figure that part out. You can find these calculators online that will tell you how many calories you should be taking in based on your weight. Now each week it is going to change slightly due to the amount of weight you have lost the week before so adjust accordingly.
2. Look at the most obvious places to cut
If you want to lose weight in a month you are going to have to cut out all of the junk, no exceptions. This means that you will not be having any cheat meals either (sorry champ we don’t have that luxury). Soda and alcohol are hereby banished from your diet also. Processed foods should also be avoided.
3. Ok so what can I eat?
It may take some experimentation to calculate the amount of macronutrients that you are going to need to take in (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) but I like to use a 40/40/20 split meaning the percentage of calories will be 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fats. You need carbohydrates and fats so don’t do any low carb diets before hand and yes I’m aware that bodybuilders may utilize various extreme diets before a competition to really get cut up but you are not a bodybuilder. They can afford to lose bulk and some muscle tissue you on the other hand cannot.
Let’s do an example. Say your caloric intake for the day is supposed to be 2,000 calories. That means 800 calories should come from protein, 800 from carbohydrates, and 400 calories from fat. Per gram of protein and carbohydrates is 4 calories, and is 9 calories for fats so your macronutrient breakdown would be 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbohydrates and 44 grams of fat per day.
Maybe you don’t want to have to count calories all the time and calculate the macronutrient intake and that is fine. For the most basic of guidelines here are some of the types of foods that you should be eating for each category.
Good sources of protein- eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, lean cuts of beef, lentils, beans, whey protein powder.
Good sources of carbohydrates- brown rice, oats, vegetables, whole wheat bread.
Good sources of fats- nuts, olive oil, fish oil, flax seed oil, natural peanut butter.
Notice that for carbohydrates that whole wheat bread is listed and oats that you have to cook and not instant oatmeal this is because they are less processed.
4. How often should I eat?
Eating smaller meals will actually increase your metabolism so you should aim for 5-6 small meals each day. Remember that you have a caloric allowance so you are going to have to learn portion control and it really does help if you count calories. Eat until you are satisfied and not full and under this plan you will be eating every 2-3 hours so the cravings shouldn’t get too bad.
5. Drink plenty of water
Water will keep you hydrated, keep you feeling fuller, give you a little boost to your metabolism, and help you recover from your workouts. Water is going to be your drink of choice over this month so learn to love it and I don’t mean drink vitamin water because that is even more calories. While we are on the subject you should also be taking a multivitamin each day.
6. Get plenty of sleep
Try and sleep for 8 hours a night I know that it is difficult to do sometimes but a lack of sleep will make your body want to hold on to more fat and also make it difficult to recover from your workouts and we need all the recovery time we can get.
7. Lift Weights
Cardio alone is not going to cut it and we are going to be lifting weights during this 30 day period because it helps burn more calories each day, tones your body, and builds more muscle which burns extra calories throughout the day. If you aren’t a weightlifter then you should probably try starting out with three days a week, say Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Any more than that and you will probably be too tired and sore to get through your workouts and we don’t need to be missing scheduled days.
Personally when I need to cut down I usually ramp it up to 5-6 days a week of lifting and cardio but I’m used to working out and generally only use this training method for a short amount of time (like 30 days) to avoid overtraining. Only you know your level of fitness so see what works for you.
We are going to need to get that heart rate up and our bodies in motion between 3-5 times each week for 30-45 minutes. Again if you are a beginner start on the lower end of the scale with three 30 minute sessions a week and maybe add a 4th during the last two weeks. I like to do shorter 15 minutes sessions but do a couple of exercises like run for 15 minutes, then get on the bike, and then get on the elliptical. This allows me to keep it short and not get bored doing the same monotonous activity for 45 minutes. Try to make it fun and you can go play a sport like basketball for your cardio that day but since we have a month you can’t afford to miss one of the sessions or not do it because you’re bored.
Losing weight in one month can be a good short term goal but if you want real results you need to stick to a healthy diet and exercise program. Be realistic with how much weight you can expect to lose in a few weeks because you cannot lose tons of weight in a short amount of time in a healthy manner and believe me you really wouldn’t want to put that stress on your body. If you utilize these 8 tips I know that you will get to spring break looking much better than when you started your 30 day mini transformation. Have fun and go show off your new results.