Oh, the famous freshman fifteen! ”Will it happen to me?” you may wonder. Freshman year of college is an interesting time. New freedom, new friends, new responsibilities, and for many of us, new pounds. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of college, lose yourself in your studies, eat whatever you find, and “let yourself go.” So how do you manage it all? The keys are balance and time management.
If you’re anything like the average college student, you’re always on the go, and it seems difficult to make time for fitness. Here are a few pointers to help keep your body and mind in good shape!
- You have a schedule for classes—work, labs, etc.—why not create a schedule for fitness? Create a weekly calendar with time slots from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. You can do this on paper or digitally using your phone or email account. Set times for things you need to do, for example: Bio lab 8 AM; study group 9:30 AM; work 5 AM – 9 PM. Then write down things you have to do such as study, laundry, practice, etc. Figure out where you have extra time. You should try to squeeze in at least one hour of physical activity every day. Not enough hours in the day? Do a little bit in between. Use the fifteen minutes between English literature and American history to walk the stadium stairs; do push-ups and sit-ups in the campus green; do anything to get yourself moving!
- Save hour-long workouts for your light days (if you have any), and use intervals on the other days. You’ll find that if you manage to squeeze in a little bit at a time, it’s easy to get your hour in without interfering with your studying or socializing!
Weekly schedule outline:
Don’t Skip Meals
We all know you need need energy to get through the day, but don’t eat just anything. If you know you’re going to walk the stairs after class, don’t eat a bag of chips. Have something light and easily digestible like an orange or a bag of grapes. If you’re hungry or too stuffed, you won’t have the desire or fuel needed to stay fit throughout the day.
Make Sure You Plan Ahead of Time
Pack what you need the night before. Make it easy on yourself. Don’t waste time in lines buying snacks when you could be doing lunges to your next destination!
Stick to It!
It’s so easy to say to yourself: “I just don’t feel like it today” or “I just want to eat some cool ranch Doritos and sit around.” You can choose to be your own worst enemy or your best friend. If it’s too challenging to get motivated, involve a classmate or two. You can be each other’s support system. If it’s on your schedule, act as if it’s a class you need to attend or a study group to engage in. Once you get into a routine it will become second nature. Of course, make sure not to let it get in the way of studying or classes. If you have an exam or need extra help, school always comes first.
Exercise does release endorphins and helps clear the mind. Endorphins make us feel better and give us energy throughout the day. By becoming more active, you will increase your energy levels and improve your state of mind. Don’t be another victim of the freshman fifteen, practice time management and balance!