Researchers are proving that for most college students, the Freshman Fifteen is a myth. Most students, though, gain five to seven pounds in their first year at school, and things just get worse from there. Starting around college, most metabolisms start to slow down, making it easier to gain weight. Before you know it, those high-school jeans could look like they fit on a pixie, and you could be fighting to lose twenty or thirty pounds. The easiest way to avoid this by far is to focus on staying in shape while you’re in college.
One of the main problems that many college students have with staying in shape is setting goals. You either set no goals at all because you feel so busy all the time or you set completely unrealistic goals. If you aren’t hitting the gym or walking around the block a few times a week, you’re not pushing yourself enough. But, on the other hand, don’t try to stay that size two you’ve been all through high school.
Even though some people stay about the same size their whole lives, most of us gain a few pounds when we get out of our teen years. As long as that few pounds is really just a few, it’s not going to kill you. Keeping up your high-school physique – especially if you were a year-round high-school athlete – is just not going to be possible for most people, and accepting this will actually help you stay in better shape in college.
When you’re thinking about setting goals for fitness, be as specific as you can. Instead of saying, “I want to run three times a week,” say something like, “I will run right after my last class on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and I will run for at least half an hour.” Putting your exercise routine into your actual weekly schedule will help you stay on top of your workouts and actually get to them. Treat your exercise just like it’s a class, and be sure that you’re there on time 90% of the time.
Another way to boost your fitness level while you’re in college is to work out with a friend. It shouldn’t be hard to find someone in your dorm or one of your classes who needs some exercise motivation, too. Instead of trudging out to jog all by yourself first thing in the morning, have someone else meet you and go with you. This will help you work out better, and you’ll be more likely to keep your appointment if you know someone else is counting on you.
One final way to stay in shape while you’re in college is to make it fun. If you can, take a class through school in something you’ve always wanted to do like yoga or kickboxing. You could also get a membership to a local gym to take classes there; lots of them have a special college rate that’s pretty affordable. If you liked playing sports in high school but don’t play on any school teams, check out your school’s intramural sports teams, which can be a great way to get a little competition and fun into your working out.
Instead of just sitting around in between classes this year, focus on getting up and at ’em so that you can feel fit and slim all through college.