Photo courtesy of Clipart
Photo courtesy of Clipart

Eat cleaner to get ready for Spring Break

Now that it is February, everyone knows Spring Break is right around the corner.

The gym seems to be more packed than ever, and people are attempting to change up their daily slice of pizza for a salad.

However, there is a lot more one can do to make the most of their time in order to get “spring break ready,” starting with building some good habits

My first tip is to stop eating processed foods. A lot of processed foods lack nutritional value, and most of them are filled with empty calories.

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Instead of a Lean Cuisine meal, try buying yourself some fresh veggies and protein, like chicken. Stick to cooking with olive oil and fresh seasonings.

In addition to staying away from bad preservatives and additives, eating wholesome, fresh food allows you to keep your sodium levels down.

Most people tend to check labels for calories, carbs and fat, but I challenge you to start to prioritize keeping track of your sodium.

If you eat fresh food, you should be able to stay under 2,400 mg (the value recommended by the American Heart Association). To put this in perspective, one teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium.

It is so easy to consume excessive sodium if you eat food like crackers, pre-seasoned chicken and bread.

Aside from it being bad for your heart and blood pressure, sodium makes you drink more water, and retain it. So, even if you are working your butt off in the gym, racking up the sodium with all of your meals will make you struggle to obtain a nice lean physique.

My second tip is to start mixing cardio with weights. Many people will step on the treadmill and elliptical for an hour or more, several days a week, hoping this will fend off the bad eating choices of the weekend.

However, this is not the best way to go about getting in shape, nor is it the most effective. To burn fat, one must lift weights. Lifting weights allows people to burn fat and replace it with muscle. This will leave you feeling more energetic, strong and feeling better about your body.

Also, the more muscle you have on your body instead of fat, the more calories you burn while sedentary. This allows you to indulge once in a while without having it throw your system out of whack.

My third and final tip concerns drinking — and not just alcohol. This is another common area of diet that most people do not consider when trying to make healthier choices. Most drinks, aside from water, are loaded up with sugar and carbs — but not the good kind. Most drinks are filled with these empty calories, which backs your system up with awful preservatives, dyes and other undesirable ingredients.

Start replacing most — if not all — drinks with water. The difference is amazing. Water is also crucial for flushing toxins out of your body and helping your muscles regenerate after those hard workouts at the gym.

These are three small adjustments that can make a huge difference in your daily life. Though you might adopt these in order to prepare for spring break, try utilizing them year-round to obtain an overall healthier lifestyle. Clean eating and the right balance of exercise and water are total game changers.

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