By Robert Small
College is an exciting time. It’s the time that a person is just beginning adulthood. You are finally out on your own, making decisions, picking classes, and learning what you want to learn; but it is also a very stressful time on your body. Usually the average college freshmen gains 15 pounds that first year in college, we call it the Freshman 15.
So how do I avoid this Freshman Fifteen?
How do I keep myself healthy during college?
What is the key to begin this journey when I never worked out before?
Step 1: Get your mind right
Allow your mind to know that you are making a change. This is not a diet; for the most part diets do not work and are very stressful on the body. College will place enough stress on your body and we don’t want to add anymore to it so we need to know the difference between healthy and diet. I suggest doing some research online or pick up a book like The Dolce Diet: College Diet, which can help guide you in nutrition and daily routines. Once your mind is set and ready for the change then the body will fall in line. It is also important to know that we do not want to make an extreme change. Every day we make healthier choices. Little steps become permanent steps.
Step 2: Set a schedule
Between classes, studying and socializing, college days tend to be very long and run together. It is still very easy to forget things or lose track of time. Setting a weekly schedule can help with this. I know we all have a date book app on our iPhones, but who uses it? Buy a planner and PLAN. In this schedule include everything for the day from waking, meals, classes, workouts, and bed times. The first few weeks it will take time to adjust to using the schedule, but believe me, once you adapt to that schedule you will become more efficient in everything. Make sure to take the date book with you everywhere, and give it a name. Naming the date book gives it meaning and a purpose so you will never forget it.
Step 3: Food consumption
Eating junk food is a college kids right of passage. At least it USED to be! We’ve all heard about or seen the endless of pizza box towers and cans of energy drinks scattered all over the dorm floor while cramming for a mid-term. A $10 pizza seems inexpensive, but not when you consider you can buy a large bag of oats and a bag of raisins for less than $10 that will last you a WEEK and give you way more mind fuel. Buy actual groceries! Consult the Dolce Approved Shopping Guide, and plan your food the week. The Dolce Diet: College Diet Guide will point you on the right path and help keep you there!
Step 4: Take a health or physical education class
With each major comes some electives classes. Most colleges offer physical education classes or some sort of health and nutrition classes. Take advantage of your electives to learn about the body and help get it in shape. Mixing your college education with your health is another way to stay motivated. You can get an A in becoming healthy and meet people who are also on the same path!
Step 5: Make a motivational playlist
On my iPhone I have three specific playlists. I have one I call Runaway Train, which I play when I go on a light jog; Inspire Me for Five More Minutes, which I play when I am doing my cardio; and Ultimate Workout Mix, for when I push my body and do extreme workouts. I can’t stress how important it is that music can fuel you in working out. Which songs motivates YOU? Take some time and scroll through the 15,000 songs you have downloaded and put the ones that make you want to move, run, and push weights around on a playlist. A sick playlist makes for a sick workout.
Step 6: Keep a morning workout routine
Yes, I said morning! Early morning physical workouts give time for your brain to recover and relax and your body gets charged with energy for the day!
The best way to incorporate these tips is by introducing them little by little, one step at a time, day by day. Stay motivated, get excited about it, and make sure to try and incorporate the healthy lifestyle in all you do so it becomes ingrained in your daily routine. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process.
I am only small by name. I am a 300+ lb. man who, believe it or not, loves nutrition and the gym. I trained in MMA and in Ju-Jitsu and even competed in some grappling tournaments as a super heavyweight. My goal with this blog is to inspire and help people who have a little more than a couple of extra pounds to lose (and to not only lose it, but enjoy the process of losing that weight! Remember, the gym is not just for people who are in shape, it’s for people who have a goal!