Cheap beer, little sleep, dining hall food, tight budget. The college lifestyle sounds like a recipe for weight gain, and many freshmen fall victim to this trap. You come home for winter break, exhausted from copious amounts of studying (or drinking), with a noticeable change in physique. Without the discipline of high school sports, or the home-cooked meals and evening walks with your mom, habits change. Whether this means gaining fat or losing muscle, it takes a toll on your well-being.
"Fit" is a term associated with bodybuilders and marathon runners, the type of people you assume dedicate their entire day to weights and stair steppers. It is true, such people exist, and such people are fit. But being fit in college does not mean you need to cut social activities and library time to spend hours at the rec center. In fact, you may find you aren't making sacrifices whatsoever, once you realize the benefits reaped from staying active on campus.
By making an effort to stay healthy, you will find academics much easier. Exercising helps relieve anxiety and promote focus, and gives you a chance to recharge.
Here's some tips to get you started.
Find Your Fit
Maybe you played sports in high school and know which workouts suit you, or maybe not. Either way, the key to sticking to a fitness program is finding workouts you enjoy. Take a few fitness classes, find a nearby running trail, ask some friends to meet at the basketball court. Explore your options until you find a workout that feels best. This makes fitness less of a chore and more of a hobby.
Pick A Workout Buddy
On days when you dread getting out of bed, a workout partner will help. Together, you can push through bad days and hard workouts. Plus, this may encourage a sense of friendly competition to help you reach new levels of strength.
Make A Schedule And Stick To It
Rather than telling yourself, "I'll probably go for a run before math class," write it down. Start each week by planning when you'll work out, so you don't lose track of time and miss an opportunity. Morning workouts are always beneficial, boosting energy levels and metabolism for the day, but plan according to your schedule.
Obviously college will greet you with some sleepless nights, whether they are spent in the library or hurling outside a bar. But in general, sleep should be a main priority. There is no way you will make it to a 7 a.m. kickboxing class if you're watching Game of Thrones until 3 a.m. Be smart about sleep. Give your body the rest it craves.
Having energy to work out will depend on the fuel you feed your body, so make smart choices. If pizza is lunch, salad and chicken can be dinner. Always wake up with the intention of having breakfast. And if you fall off track for a week with your meals, don't dwell. Always focus forward with the intention to eat right and exercise as much as possible. It is a long, imperfect process, but worth every failure.