When I started college, I was adamant about not gaining the infamous “Freshman Fifteen.” I hit the gym every single day. I ate nothing but Greek yogurt and salads. I refused to be a statistic. Since that freshman year, I discovered crossfit and have learned how to eat to maximize gains. I have lost about 40 pounds since high school, defeating the Freshman 15 for sure.
So, I am here to let you know, you don’t have to come to college and gain a few extra pounds, I promise it is not a prerequisite to adulthood. Really, your college years should be the fittest of your life, and here is why:
- Free gym. My small private college has a fairly decent gym, equipped with a weight room that features free weights, benches, and machines (although, regrettably, no squat rack), a cardio area with rows of treadmills, ellipticals, and stair climbers, and three basketball courts. It contains all the essentials to getting in a good workout at absolutely no charge. When you move up into the adult-world ,you may be lucky enough to work for a company with a small fitness center, but other than that, this is the only chance you’ll have a FREE state-of-the-art gym at your fingertips. Take advantage!
- Discounted memberships. While the school gym is stocked, it doesn’t have any area or equipment for performing crossfit moves, so I had to venture outside. I found that most gyms offer student discounts. Gym owners realize that as college kids we are always strapped for cash, and they are more than willing to help. Not only can you find discounts at crossfit boxes, but also types of gyms as well. For instance, the yoga, pilates, and pure barre studios in my area all offer student class rates.
- Free Classes. Weight room or treadmills not your thing? Not comfortable working out alone? No problem! Most universities offer a wide variety of group fitness classes. At my school, we have yoga, pilates, core, full body, latin dance, zumba, and barre. Most classes are offered at various times, multiple times a week, so you’re sure to find something that fits into your schedule.
- Graded Fitness. If you still can’t motivate yourself to get into the gym, stake your grade on it. Take a physical education class. Again, they’re available in a variety of activities. A class will guarantee you are active several times a week. To make it even more fun, get some friends to sign up too.
- Healthy Food. The real culprit for the Freshman Fifteen is the dining hall. Passing the buffet trays filled with mac & cheese, pizza, all day breakfast cereal, and an ice cream bar to boot can be a dream for your taste-buds, but a nightmare for the waist line. Hidden among the seductive treats are actual healthy options. If you play it smart, you can create healthful meals all day long. For breakfast, skip the waffle maker or bacon, instead, head to the omelette station and get a egg white omelette with veggies and no cheese. At lunch and dinner time, hit up the salad bar. Get plenty of veggies, but go easy on the other toppings like cheese, nuts, and dressing. The add-ons can sneak some serious calories onto an innocuous salad. To add some protein to your salad, try and grab some grilled chicken from the sandwich line. Whenever something healthy pops up in the main areas, grab it. For instance, brown rice, steamed veggies, and grilled fish are always good options. If that ice cream bar is still tantalizing you, grab some fresh fruit to crave your sweet tooth.
Of course, there are still a lot of factors that add to the freshman pounds to include stress eating and partying. But if you take the steps to stay active and maintain a healthy diet for the majority of the time, you can stave off extra weight and experience the fittest years of your life.
Your assignment for next time is to discover what inspires you to get active and to be mindful of your diet. Class dismissed.