By SARAH IDRISS, Guest Writer

Zac Efron

New Year, new you, right? Maybe, if you are willing to work for it. Everyone talks about their New Year’s resolutions, and boy, do these run the gamut. Resolutions range anywhere from “I want to run a 5k,” to “I want to see my friends more often,” to the all too well known, “I want this to be the year I get healthier”. Only about 8% of people that set resolutions actually see them through to the end of the year. This is because they do not see results as fast as they thought they would, so they give up and resort back to that leftover pizza and two liter of Coke in the fridge.

There’s no reason for YOU to maintain that dent in the couch this year. You’ve got six months until summer, and this is the time for you to get the beach bod that would make Baywatch lifeguards jealous. Here are a few, fast lifestyle changes to give you a jump start:

1. Curb the cola. This might be the easiest tip of all. The worst way to try and lose weight is to diet and exercise while drinking all of your calories. Colas have about 40 grams of sugar and artificial flavors that the human body is forced to recognize. For those of you that think you’re in the clear because you drink diet colas, you betta watch yo’selves too: diet colas have aspartame and fake sugars that the human body also does not recognize. This can lead to bloating and weight gain in the long run. Solution: go for natural drinks like teas and black coffee with little to no sugar, and do not forget about good, old-fashioned water.

2. Walk when you can. Believe me, I know how awful the parking lot is here. I feellike I’m in a twisted dream every time I pull onto the school’s property from Evergreen Road. However, this could work to your advantage. It takes six steps to burn one calorie, and, correct me if I’m wrong here, but walking from the Social Sciences Building to CASL takes several steps. You could essentially burn close to 100 calories a day simply by walking more to your car! Think about this too: you will not have to do the classic “UMD Parking Stalk,” and you also will not have to clean off your car in the winter. Sounds like a win-win.

3. Go to the campus gym and do your time. Scared of going alone? All of us are, at first. Let’s be honest here, though: no one gives a hoot about what other people are doing in the gym. When I am there, the only thing I really care about is whether or not I can find the weights I need and if I will be able to finish my workout in a certain time frame. Just go in there, try some things, and walk out feeling refreshed and ready to go. Don’t have time, you say? One hour is only 4% of your day; FOUR PERCENT!

That sounds pretty miniscule when you think about it. Maybe you don’t feel like going because you don’t know what to do or what to start with. Again, so what? The least you can do is try. You’ll learn about yourself, your muscles, and what you’re capable of. This is how learning happens: with trial and error. How will you know your limits if you’ve never pushed them?

So be the best you you can be this year. Put in the time and you’ll see results. For that matter, others will see them before you do, but that is by no means any reason to quit. Next week, we can talk about a not-so-superfood. This food’s true alter-ego will be revealed.

I am not a real personal trainer. When going on a diet or exercise plan, be sure to consult your physicians for professional medical advice. Most of my information has been accumulated over the years from various sources. If any specific questions arise, I will be happy to answer them or provide further evidence regarding my points. Contact me at: