Everyone has heard of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. The inevitable weight gain during our first year of college. For most young people, college is the first major move away from home. It’s the first experiences of life on your own. We no longer have our mother doing our laundry, giving us a curfew, or…cooking our meals. It can be a difficult transition. I know, I’ve done it.
So today I want to help ease the minds of freshman, or really college students in general, and give you a few tips on how to stay fit in college. These tips will help you stay healthier, and while they may not be the secrets to a six pack, they will prevent you from joining the rest of your class at the ramen buffet wondering when you stopped being able to look down and see your toes.
All of these helped prevent me from gaining unhealthy weight in college and helped with my overall confidence and happiness. Each one comes from experience!
How to Stay Fit in College
#1: Walk everywhere you can.
Unless you attend a university large enough to be considered it’s own town, walking to your classes shouldn’t be a problem. In most cases, it will take no more than 10-15 minutes. Pop in your headphones and enjoy some music along the way! Think of it as part of your morning routine. It’s like you’re setting aside YOU time. If you’re more of a social butterfly, invite a friend to join!
#2: Choose wisely in the cafeteria.
I know from experience that it would be so easy to live off of bagels, grilled cheese, and pizza while attending college. Your university will more than likely provide you with an all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeteria just full of tempting goodies! However, instead of heading straight for the pizza and burgers, check out the salad bar first. Make yourself a nice little starter salad and then see what the meal of the day is. Pick one day out of the week to indulge in the greasy stuff, but try to stay balanced the rest of the week!
#3: Carry water with you!
As a busy run-around college student, it is very important to stay hydrated! Most students go-to is Starbucks or sugary sodas or sports drinks. Ditch them. Replace them with water instead! Water is so important for your brain and body to function, especially while learning! Water will not only keep you hydrated, it will also keep you awake and alert, clear up your skin from that college stress acne, assist with weight maintenance, and curve your snack cravings! Especially if you’re walking everywhere as I suggested earlier, water is essential. Run to the store and buy yourself a good water bottle or tumbler. Refill it every time you pass a water fountain. You will feel so much better!
#4: Ditch the parties.
College parties are a MAJOR culprit in weight gain. The alcohol, the fatty snacks, and the consistency at which they are provided is all just one big trap. If you’re going to attend college parties, eat before you go, limit yourself to one or two drinks, and treat yourself to two parties a month. Most universities will have a party every weekend. If you absolutely cannot live without them, just find balance. I often went as the designated driver so I could still hang out with my friends, but not be tempted to drink. You CAN have fun in college without alcohol.
#5: Commit to the gym!
Staying active is key to maintaining weight and living a healthy lifestyle. Pick at least two days out of the week and commit to going to the gym for 30 minutes to an hour. Find out what classes your university provides and take a friend with you! Zumba is always a fun one! If you’re not into working out publicly, use YouTube. I did most of my workouts from the comfort of my dorm room. You could even simply put your headphones in and go for a run around campus. Just do something to keep you active!
#6: Cook more, drive-through less!
If you have an apartment style dorm with a kitchen, USE IT. Even if all you make is pasta, it is healthier than living off of McDonald’s and much cheaper too! Google easy college student recipes. If you don’t have a kitchen, let the university do the cooking. Purchase the full meal plan so you always have the option of the dining hall. It will still be better for you than fast food.
#7: Get a job.
This may sound entirely overwhelming when you think about balancing classes with studying AND having a social life, but trust me…if you’re smart, you’ll spare 2-3 days a week and set aside a few hours to make some money. You’ll be surprised how many of your friends are actually doing the same. By making that little extra each week you’ll be able to afford edible groceries and have some fun money!
#8: Join a sport!
Even if you never played in high school, try out for a team in college! There are lots more options. It doesn’t even have to be an actual university team! Many schools have recreational sports such as a flag football. They get together for the fun of it! If you’re interested, go for it! It will make you friends, keep you fit, and give you something fun to do!
#9: Get enough sleep!
All-nighters are every college students worst nightmare! An easy way to prevent them is to not procrastinate. Among all your other activities, include studying as a priority. Even if it’s an hour a night for a week before the big test, that will keep you from spending all 7 hours on it the night before and will get you better sleep. Learn to say no to invites that will keep you out too late before an early class, have self control during your Netflix binges, and use Sundays to recover. Sleep is so crucial as a college student. Not only for your brain function and well-being, but also for your body. A tired body is a stressed body and a stressed body loves to fatten up!
#10: Surround yourself with the right people!
It is absolutely true that what and whom you surround yourself with can ultimately become you. If you hang out with people who don’t care about class, get trashed every night, and project negativity you will fall down with them. Part of being fit is being mentally fit and your friends can help you with that. Find people with big goals and plans for the future! Find the people who uplift you, support you, listen to you, and care about you. Surround yourself with the balanced and positive people of your university. The ones that motivate you to be your best self! Keeping your mental game strong will keep your physical game strong too.
#11: Find balance.
The most important tip I can give is to find balance. College is one of the most exciting and unforgettable times of your life! It can also be the most overwhelming. It’s important that you take it seriously while enjoying every moment. Health and happiness go hand in hand. So take my tips to heart, but remember to keep it balanced. Exercise, but also watch Netflix. Eat well, but also treat yourself. Hang out with friends, but also hang out with self. Work, but also play. You are there to learn, but also to live.
I hope you found these tips helpful! I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments. Let me know if you enjoy posts like these!