We’ve all scrolled through Instagram, Facebook, or even seen Snapchat stories and discovered countless lists, get fit quick tips and insane diets that worked for one person thousands of miles away. Since the New Year, countless people have told me that they want to get in shape and stick with it. Fortunately, for them and for you, I, a normal human, am here to help.

Whether it be a New Year’s resolution, or a spring break diet, it is important to go about losing weight and getting in shape the proper way. Fad diets are simply that: a fad. Cutting carbs out of your diet seems like a simple fix until day three when you’re exhausted and gain all of the weight back from re-entering carbs back into your diet. The following points are healthiest because get skinny quick scams are never as effective or healthy as they let on. I am absolutely no fitness guru, but I do know a healthy and fun way to stick to getting in shape.

The first and simplest way to get in shape is to make it fun. No one wants to go to the gym on a cold, windy, groggy day, but there are alternatives. There are thousands of hits on Google regarding “in dorm workouts” or even “hotel workouts.”  I love Sara Fit’s YouTube page and Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide Program. If you’re looking for weights, use that psychology textbook that cost hundreds of dollars that you’ll only read the night before the exam. The most important part of any work out is to keep your heart rate up.

Second, try a new superfood. Superfoods are just that — super (healthy) foods, packed with nutrients and antioxidants. I recently saw on Spoon University how to shop vegan for under $20. Even though I love a good steak, I figured I would try it. I ended up buying a sweet potato and really liked it, which is awesome because it’s an excellent source of vitamin A and C and manganese, which helps promote bone health. Of course, there’s kale, but as you’ll soon understand, I stray from anything green, especially when it has to be baked and smothered in oil and salt for me to even fathom tasting it. My introduction to superfoods and healthy eating as opposed to the term “dieting” reminded me that crash diets result in rapid weight loss (and gain) and no-carb diets are extremely unhealthy and result in increased weight gain. The good news for choosy eaters like me is that superfoods are everywhere. Things that you would never expect are actually incredible superfoods such as blueberries, yogurt, salmon, oats and broccoli.

Third, grab a friend. No one wants to work out alone. If you grab a housemate, classmate, friend or a cutie from your dorm, it makes working out that much easier. If the two of you have a pre-set time, there’s no way you can talk your way out of a 1:30 p.m. workout. Add an awesome playlist and you’re totally set. I personally recommend some club remixes — yes, I do pretend I’m crushing it on the ‘Grape dance floor while on the treadmill — or 90s pop hits. Cue Spice Girl’s “Wannabe.”

Fourth, push yourself, but not too hard. Pushing yourself each day just a little bit more makes the workout even more effective, and adds a great boost of self-confidence. For those of you who are gym newbies, don’t be ashamed. I go every day and still can only use the 15-pound dumbbells. There is no shame in working out and not being like “that guy” making eyes at himself in the mirror, especially because you’re there, when the rest of the school is still sleeping past their 8 a.m.

Fifth, do it for you. I’ll be perfectly honest — when I started working out, I was doing it to make an ex-boyfriend jealous. But now, I realize that was the wrong motivation. I decided I needed to make a life change for me. I wanted to be able to keep up with my friends when they went for a jog on a cool summer’s night, or feel confident in a shirt that my friends insist looks great, but shows a personal insecurity.

These five tips are essential to a healthy, regimented weight loss and maintenance of that weight loss and muscle gain. Also, keep in mind that skipping meals makes your body hold onto fats you’ve consumed because it assumes you’re starving. Let this serve as a reminder to eat plenty of proteins, vegetables and healthy carbs. Introducing friends, new tunes and a new move or additional rep truly makes the difference. After doing an extra rep, going another quarter of a mile for me, myself and I, or kicking some serious Zumba butt, it is truly possible to learn the importance of confidence, which directly coincides with feeling and looking good, inside and out.

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