Moving to college is a big change, but also a new beginning. I like to view college as a chance to start over. Your fitness and health should be a part of those goals.
I assume everyone heard about the infamous Freshman Fifteen, as in the average amount of pounds a person gains within their first college year. What’s scary is that 25% of freshmen gain a full ten pounds their first semester. And then from there a person can keeping gaining.
Research says the biggest contributors are lack of exercise, picking the wrong food in the cafeteria, poor sleep habits, and sugary beverages. Luckily, all of these are changeable.
I was rather smart about my fitness endeavors in my freshman year of college, and managed to slim down quite a bit. I found time to exercise every morning and made healthy food choices every day. I did the little things during the year that built my passion for bodybuilding.
Here are some tips:
- Quench Your Thirst Wisely
An easy healthy choice is to cut out caloric and sugary beverages. Honestly, they don’t do much for you besides the taste. Water is excellent because it is a natural detoxifier that cleans out the body, provides fuel for the cells, and can ease bloating. Tea is my personal favorite. I would highly recommend green tea, as it has many health benefits. It has antioxidants, burn extra calories, and if you buy the wonderfully caffeinated type, it will provide a boost of energy. Awesome news is that coffee is healthy in moderation. It would be the healthiest options to use black coffee with few ingredients, as additives to it can contain extra calories and sugar.
- Walk Everywhere
Students often spend all their class-time sitting down, followed by hunching over a desk for a few more hours when doing homework. Even just simply walking around campus helps the body rev up slightly and gives you the chance to stretch out those stiff muscles. Depending on how big your campus is, you could get as many as 8,000 steps in while most people average around 1,000-3,000.
- Carry Healthy Snacks
During days you have back-to-back classes and no time to stop at the cafeteria, try packing your own snacks. There can be cute tupperware containers or quirky lunchboxes that can make it fun. Crackers, nuts, homemade trail mix, carrots, celery, mixed fruit, and many more options are rather easy. All you really have to do for finger foods is pack them up and go.
4. Choosing Meals in the Cafeteria
Being healthy while eating cafeteria is hard. But I managed to do the last of my leaning out while eating solely cafeteria food, so it is possible. There’s a general rule of thumb I like. Half your plate should be fruits or veggies, one quarter of lean protein, and one quarter carbs or starch. If there is something you really want in the cafeteria, like french fries, then get one or two. A treat I would have for every lunch was making my own iced coffee with black coffee from the dispenser, milk, one packet of sugar, and lots of ice. I believe diets should be sustainable, so it shouldn’t be in extremes.
5. Finding Time to Exercise
I am a bodybuilder and a full-time student. I find time to exercise by seeing it as a time to treat myself and relax. Exercise can help boost productivity, clear your mind, and enhance your mood. Campuses often have a gym open for students to use, and I highly recommend using. If you are shy, just start using the easy machines like the treadmill and elliptical while watching how others lift free-weights or use the machines. If you truly do not have time to make it to the gym, then find a workout you can do in your dorm room. You can do a bodyweight routine, or use some small dumbbells and resistance bands. Even just doing fifteen minutes of exercise can make the difference.
I hope this give insight of how little habits can contribute to overall being healthy and happy. Small changes are what causes the big changes overtime, and it is important to be consistent with them. Maybe it will spark an interest of wellness and bodybuilding for you like it did for me.