Here’s the truth - some things you are told about college turn out to be myths, or little white lies told to you by your parents or teachers to scare you straight in college. But mixed in among the myths are truths, some that you automatically assume not to be true. There is one in particular that nobody ever really wants to talk about - the thought of it actually happening to them is nerve-wracking. It’s the elephant in the room, yet it always seems to be on the mind of every college freshman: the dreaded “Freshman 15."
For those who don’t know what the Freshman 15 is, it is a term commonly used in the United States that refers to the amount of weight that a student gains during their freshman year of college. While it’s true that college students do in fact put on weight, a student on average only gains about 2.5 - 3.5 pounds, but can gain up to the whopping 15 pounds by the end of sophomore year. But the fact remains that when young adults go off to school, they end up gaining this unwanted weight.
As the stress of finding the right classroom, buying the right textbooks and beginning this new chapter in life come bearing down on you all at once, it’s easy to turn to poor eating habits to help get you through the day. It’s also extremely easy to take all of your new free time and turn into a long nap session, which leaves you dormant and inactive; this is exactly what you shouldn’t do if you want to avoid the frightful Freshman 15.
The only way to keep those undesired pounds away is by staying active in college. With these truths, tips and tricks, you can kick the Freshman 15 in the butt and lead the healthiest and fittest freshman year that you possibly can!
I’m too busy to be active!
Adjusting to the college-life schedule can be tricky. You have to balance school work, extra activities and early mornings/late nights all at the same time. It may feel like you have no time to be active, but you just have to know how to weave physical fitness into your daily life.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for getting in some activity! Whether it be setting aside a longer period of time to go running, taking a fitness class, using the gym or just making small lifestyle changes like taking the stairs or parking further away, there should never be an excuse as to why you have no time to exercise!
What else can I do?
“How can I keep off these unwanted pounds?” If taking the stairs and parking a little bit further than usual aren’t enough for you, you may find yourself asking what else you can do to keep active in college. This helpful infographic, with their informative fruit characters, by TheBestColleges.org, explains that with the right fitness routine, those extra pounds won’t even be a thought in your mind! Your weekly routine should include the following types of exercise:
Cardio: this type of exercise burns calories, strengthens the heart and lungs and helps your body use fat as a fuel! For cardio to be useful, you need at least 30-60 minutes of cardio, three to six times a week.
Strength Training: this term is used when talking about exercises that help maintain muscles, building muscles and tone your body. A college student should do eight to twelve strength training exercises about twice a week.
Flexibility: just as it suggests, flexibility improves fitness levels, reduces chances of injury and it can even lengthen your muscles! To become more flexible, you should complete a full stretch routine after each workout.
But how do I get into a routine?
One of the hardest things to do when deciding to be active is getting into a routine of exercising every day. I wish that there was a specific formula for this, or supplement that you could take to make you exercise everyday, but unfortunately the only real way to get into a routine is to just go ahead and do it. You need to use your own motivation and willpower to find time each day to get in some cardio exercises, strength training exercises or flexibility exercises.
Many people struggle with staying motivated when starting a workout routine, and that's totally okay. Here are some ways to help you stay motivated.
Start with a goal: TheBestColleges.org infographic not only teaches us what exercises we need to do each week to get in shape, but it also teaches us that we need to start with a goal. Writing down a goal makes it 10x more likely for it to be actually achieved.
Recruit a friend: Sometimes working out alone can be boring, or going to the gym alone can be quite scary! Take a friend with you to make a foreign place a little bit more comfortable.
Create a motivation board: Whether it be on Pinterest or in real life, looking at pictures of people, quotes and other images of things that inspire you to live a healthy life all in one place is a great way to start the day. If creating one in real life, try using a cork board and cutting out pictures from magazines, newspaper or even from online. Start your day with some inspiration to help motivate you to working towards your goal.
Don’t expect miracles: It is so important to realize that living a healthier life does not happen over night. It will take time, and the effects of working out/keeping away the Freshman 15 won’t show right away. Keep working towards what you want, and don’t give up just because it is taking longer than you had wanted it to take.
What can exercising do for me?
Exercising is all about balance and commitment. When you work out your body, you are actually working out your mind and brainpower. But ultimately, the more work you put into becoming the best you you can be, the more you will get out of it. Miramont Lifestyle Fitness, a gym that gives tips and tricks to leading a healthier lifestyle, lists 5 great benefits of regular exercise.
1. Improves your mood
2. Improves your memory
3. Reduces risk of disease
4. Boosts Energy
5. Controls Weight
But exercising regularly can do many more things for a college student such as reducing stress, preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and brain aging, and serving as a social scene to meet new people who has similar interests as you!
As you embark on this new chapter in your life, remember these truths, tips and tricks to help keep the Freshman 15 away! Exercising daily can do plenty more than just control body weight, and with a little bit of patience you can achieve any goal you set for yourself. And always remember that while you enjoy your new freedom, you should simultaneously take care of your body - especially because you only get one.
Lead Image Credit: Gregor via Flickr Creative Commons