Oh, the freshman 15! The fear of so many new college students. What is the freshman 15? It’s the phenomenon where college students somehow magically gain 15 pounds their freshman year. Yes, this does commonly happen for a variety of reasons, but don’t worry! By no means are you doomed! We have rounded up 11 tips for you and your squad to stay fit during the best four years of your life.
1. Join the Marathon Club
Joining a running team or club is a great way to stay in shape and meet new friends! Having a group of buddies to train with will keep you accountable and on track for beating that dreaded freshman 15. Plus, running in a group is always more motivating than going to a new gym by yourself. Added bonus: you’ll get a campus/neighborhood tour while running off all the new-college-student stress!
2. Don’t Skip Breakfast
We’ve all heard the old adage, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” That’s because it’s true. Eating breakfast not only gets your brain ready to retain all that chemistry knowledge, it can also keep your waistline trim. It may be tempting to pull yourself out of bed at 7:55am and bolt to 8am lecture just in time, but prioritizing breakfast will keep your metabolism running strong. Your first meal will also give you the energy to kill it during your morning work out!
3. Take a P.E. Class
You may have dreaded P.E. class in middle school, but most colleges actually offer some really fun classes. You could learn how to surf, become a master yogi, school all your friends with your awesome hip hop dance moves or pick up paddle boarding! Sign up for a P.E. class and boost your GPA while fending off those unwanted pounds.
4. Bring Your Gym Bag With You Everywhere
What is Freshman 15? A lot of people say it’s the result of just sitting around. Keep yourself accountable by carrying your gym bag with you to class. Don’t give yourself the excuse of having to go back to your dorm for your gear (where you’ll ultimately wind up napping for 2 hours). If you keep your equipment with you, you’re a lot less likely to skip that afternoon workout. Carrying around two bags is totally worth it if you really want to avoid the freshman 15!
5. Make Morning Runs Part of Your Routine
College is incredibly busy. Between 3-hour lectures, weekly labs, club activities, sporting events and parties, it can be hard to find time for exercise. Why not start your day with a run? Even just 30 minutes of good cardio each day does wonders for your health and your waistline. Running in the morning will keep you happy with the scale and leave you feeling ready to tackle the rest of your day! For tips on how to make those early runs easier, read this great article.
6. Take Advantage of Free Fitness Classes
Most college gyms offer free fitness classes. Yeah – free! Grab a friend or two and try something new. Spin is always a great one! We’re also big fans of Zumba, HIIT, kickboxing and cross fit. Keep off those unwanted lbs by stepping out of your comfort zone and having some fun while you’re at it!
7. Schedule the Gym Around Class
If you’ve got long breaks between classes, why not hit the gym! Squeeze in a lifting sesh during your down time, or jump in the pool between lectures (you’ll be able to freshen up or shower in the locker room instead of going all the way back to your dorm). Making the most of your time and being savvy about your schedule is an important part of staying fit in college. Heck, in life!
8. Eat Healthy
It’s all too easy to grab a candy bar when stuck on campus with few breaks. If you’re really pressed for time, though, opt instead for a quick and healthy smoothie or meal-replacement shake. If smoothies aren’t your jam, munch on a wrap on your way to class. Almost anything is better than that nutty, caramel-filled, chocolate candy bar! Keep healthy snacks on hand, watch your portion sizes, keep late-night snacking to a minimum and don’t let your dining hall go-to be pizza. Unhealthy eating could stand between you and beating the freshman 15 no matter how many miles you log!
9. Participate in Campus Races
Enjoy some friendly competition and sign up for a campus race. Most colleges hold annual 5ks, especially around Thanksgiving. Challenge a friend, start training and set a new personal best! Check out your school’s events page to register for your next run. You can feel confident that your efforts will help you keep that nice bod.
10. Drink Lots of Water
Sugar-filled, caffeinated drinks might seem appealing when you’ve got the most boring professor in the history of boring professors, but relying on them everyday is a guaranteed way to achieve the freshman 15. Drink water instead. It has zero calories, keeps you hydrated and is literally required for staying alive. If you really need some flavor, try adding lemon or infusing it with your favorite fruit (all free at the dining hall!). Staying hydrated will also help keep your muscles happy so you can dominate your workouts!
11. Create an Epic Workout Playlist
The right tunes are essential for a good workout. Pump up jams will pull you out of that all too familiar workout funk. Curate a list that will have you feeling like a total badass ready to conquer that pesky freshman 15! Want to know what we’re listening to? Check out our list of the best workout songs!
So there you have it – our tips for staying healthy in college and avoiding the ever-dreaded freshman 15. Just remember, if you don’t want college to derail your healthy lifestyle, it’s all about eating right and getting plenty of exercise!