With school coming to a close shortly and summer right around the corner, you probably have a lot of ideas running through your head.

Summer plans such as hiking, long walks on the beach with your significant other, swimming and camping are all healthy activities for college students. Many of you also would like to be in better shape and be happy with taking your shirt off or wearing your swimsuit.

What if I told you that if you start planning now, you could feel great about your body inside and out and enjoy your summer even more?

With May closing in quickly, we don’t have the usual three-month period to get a photo-shoot-ready body that we had under quarters, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start now. The most important factor, considering your time frame, is diet. After diet comes your exercise routine, which will have to consist of a weight-training routine and cardio.

          

Here on campus, we are lucky enough to have a great catering service, Bon Appétit, which not only has healthy options every day, but accepts requests and follows through with them very quickly. You’re going to have to drop your calories lower than what your body needs in order to lose weight. You can find many tools online to give you your daily requirements. Subtract 500 from that number, and you’ll be easily losing a pound a week.

Now, what to eat? I always recommend starting off with a salad consisting of as many vegetables as you’d like and topped with three whole eggs. Dressing is optional, but remember it is part of your calorie count. By doing this, your body obtains vitamins and minerals from great, fresh sources.

These foods tend to also be low-calorie for the weight they carry. The entire salad mentioned above has no more than 400 calories, compared to the small portion of mashed potatoes you may have chosen instead. Other foods I recommend would be fruits, whole grains such as wheat bagels and lean proteins such as chicken, eggs and tuna. As for tracking calories, I would suggest using an online program, such as MyFitnessPal, which even has an app for Android and iPhone.

          

Cardio: Some love it, some hate it. An easy solution is to just walk. Use the treadmill, go to the park, go wherever. I’ve lost more pounds this way than I have with any other method. When you keep your heart rate at around 120 beats per minute, the body tends to use fat as fuel.

Walkers, try 40-60 minutes a day of continuous activity. Runners, try to keep it around 30 minutes to spare muscle tissue.

In weight training publications, you’ll find whole workout routines telling you to do this and that. Well, we have two months at max. So what do I suggest? Just go. Grab a buddy and go grab some weights. Watch others or even ask for help. Use what you feel comfortable using and do it right. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to do different exercises online.

This will make your body healthier on the inside and out, but it won’t make you into a fitness model or a bodybuilder. It takes years upon years of strict dedication to reach a physique like that.

You will see improvements, however, and will be amazed at how beautiful your body is becoming. If you are truly wanting to improve yourself, take this advice and expand on it. Even doing one of these will help you improve your health.