Let’s be honest, most of us literally CAN’T step into a bathing suit right now considering Spring Break is only two weeks away. (Yes, TWO weeks) So, I decided to interview Health and Exercise Science Professor and exercise expert, Dr. James McCall, of Rowan University, to get the inside scoop on what to do when you think you might crack the camera screen in pictures of you on the beach.
Nothing is better than an expert supporting your eating and partying habits. Well, not exactly supporting. But, if you read more, you will find out what Dr. McCall suggests to make sure you look good for all eyes on Spring Break; not including your own when six strawberry daiquiris deep.
Dr. James McCall (left), Professor at Rowan University, and myself (right) show off our muscles after our interview. (Photo by: Dr. Gregory Biren)
Realistically, most of us aren’t going to eat Quinoa for the next two weeks. Rather than saying what we should eat, what foods should we avoid eating?
“I do think there are some foods that lend themselves to being less healthy for you; the ones that have trans fats in them, or really high fat levels. They tend to be problematic because they are usually high chloric levels. Anything that your body doesn’t use as fuel will get stored as fat. The sad part is that where ever you gain it first is the last place that it leaves. That’s where you have the majority of your fat cells.
Too many people think that you can change fat into muscles or muscle changes into fat but they’re too separate cell types. So, it’s really a storage factor in that if you are ingesting more than you’re burning, it’s going to be stored. So, whatever you decide to eat, mainly healthier decisions, make sure you balance it with a proportionate amount of workouts.”
We all love to snack. What are some decent snacks that will hold us through until the next meal that aren’t too unhealthy?
“The healthiest snacks are fruits and vegetables but sometimes that doesn’t do it for people. Sometimes they need to find something that’s crunchy. Even though celery is crunchy, that might not do it either. There are healthy versions of popcorn, for instance, that are a lot healthier than others help in that they’re lower in calorie but still high in fiber. This usually will fill you up. That is just one of many ideas.”
(Reader’s Digest gave me more tips on healthy snacks to try. Check it out!)
To be honest, most of us are guilty of have baby “beer bellies” whether we want to believe it or not. What are some exercises you recommend when we are running short of time?
“It’s really, really difficult to target different body parts for specific weight loss. You’re better off targeting ways that you can burn up a lot of calories. The biggest misconception is that doing a lot of crunches and sit ups will help you lose weight. It will tighten up your abdominal area, but, if you’re still eating more than you are taking in, you are still going to have more fat stored.
An example of a comprehensive activity you can do are:
(Photo by: Fitness Magazine)
Circuit Training is where you keep your calorie burning level up high rather than just doing the typical exercise where you do a set, wait a while and repeat. Your heart rate level indicates how intense you’re working. So, if you can keep that heart level up, that helps effectiveness. If you maintain an increase in the intensity of your workout, you will have a better chance of attacking those fat cells.
You also have to be careful that you don’t overdue it. That’s a problem with young students; they want to get in shape so fast that they overdue it and they get injured.”
“You don’t need to have equipment. All sorts of resistance training will help tone your arms. If you do them on a regular basis, the more you do it, the more tone you’re going to be. There are millions of ways to do push ups, for instance:
You don’t have to do a traditional push ups. There are all sorts of modified pushups, like salute pushups, walking pushups.
(Photo by: Tony Gentilcore– click link for more pushup workout options!)
REMEMBER: You don’t have to worry that you’re not strong enough to do pushups like everyone else. Every little bit counts!
(Photo by: Fitness Magazine)
Resistance Training is also great, whether they’re stretch bands, weights or kettle bells. It is nice to use a variety of different kinds because you’re more likely to really increase the strength of the muscle use in a bunch of different techniques.”
(The best part about these workouts is that they can be done at Rowan’s Rec Center or even at home with the right equipment!)
Do you have any final advice for Spring Breakers to stay safe, healthy and hydrated while they’re there?
“The most important thing is to drink lots of water. If you are drinking a lot of alcohol, you think you are getting enough fluid. But, in actuality, alcohol dehydrates you. A good trick is that if you have a drink; follow it with a glass of water. Once you get into that habit, it is kind of easy to make it a habit.”
There you have it! Continue moderate exercise and stick to healthier foods and minimal snacks. And of course, if all else fails, thank God we have photoshop. I hope Dr. McCall answered most of your questions and you end up looking fabulous in your Spring Break pictures that will never get you a job after college. If you want to find me in two weeks, you can find me here: (Sorry, Dad)
Be sure to keep up with me when I return to America the following week to find out how you Literally CAN survive PTSBD (Post Traumatic Spring-Break Disorder) when we get back!