The “Freshman 15” can be frightening to anyone heading off to their first year of college, but there are ways to avoid it. Or if you’ve already put it on, you can follow these simple ideas to get your body back to what it was before. It’s unreasonable to try to convince most college students to workout every other day and to follow a healthy diet all of the time. You’re busy with homework, classes, and a social life, while probably having to eat in a cafeteria. But if you set reasonable goals and follow the tips below you can keep yourself in shape.
1) Free workout classes – A lot of schools offer free workout classes if you pay attention. While you usually have to pay a small fee for a workout class, there are times when they will offer free ones. Usually these are at the beginning of a semester, and they will offer a variety of different classes to let you try in hopes that you will love one and come back. Even if you don’t, you learned some workout tips for yourself!
2) Student gym – Most schools have a gym that students can use for free. This is good for 2 reasons: no pesky over-priced gym fees and they are on campus. You don’t have to deal with the front desk worker trying to get you to renew your gym membership, and you don’t need a car to get there. Scout out the gym at different times to see when it is less crowded.
3) Set an easy routine – Saying that you’re going to workout every day for 3 hours a day will probably only have you lasting about a week. Start out easy by going twice a week for 30-45 minutes at a time, that way you won’t dread going. Gradually build up your frequency and time spent there when you feel comfortable. And if you really can’t stick to a routine, then workout classes are a great way to force yourself to actually get a workout in and switch up your routine.
4) Pay attention to food – The cafeteria can be a evil and tempting place. A pizza bar every day of the week, an ice cream machine at all meals, and plenty of fried foods can be a bad mix, but don’t deprive yourself. Indulge for the first week and get it all out of your system. Try all of the deliciously fatty foods, and then after that week go for the healthier options. Hit up the salad bar and search for the lower calorie foods. I promise they are there if you take the time to look.
5) Stairs, stairs, stairs – Basically avoid the elevators and work those glutes by taking the stairs to class. It’s one of the easiest things to do.
6) Take a PE class – At my college PE is a general education requirement, and I was less than thrilled when I saw that. I mean didn’t I deal with enough of that in high school? But I learned more in that class than I ever did in high school, and if it wasn’t for that class I probably would have never started working out. I learned a bunch of new work-outs, as well as how to use the intimidating machines at the gym. It’s a lot less scary going over to the usually male-dominated machine section of the gym when you already know how to use them.
Following these easy steps can be a great way to avoid gaining weight in college, and most of them don’t involve too much extra time. Also, it’s a great idea to find a workout buddy. Just make sure it’s someone you actually like to spend time with and will motivate you. Bring a best friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend to the gym so on the days you feel like leaving after 10 minutes, or skipping the workout altogether, you have someone to tell you no. A lot of times it can lead to a little friendly competition, since of course you want to be the one who can last longer or lift more weight.