First off I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS because you're on your way to a college degree! If you are anything like me you're eager to leave high school behind and start your new journey of higher education and self discovery on your own! (NO PARENTS ALLOWED)
Although you're probably leaving behind a world of sports teams and activities that have kept you busier than a bee, and about to enter a new world where YOU decide what fills your days.
Just to give you some background on my high school to college transition…. I ran Varsity XC & Track all 4 years, in addition to dancing competitively. I would go straight from running my little butt-off at a XC race, jump right in the car and drive to dance practice for another 3 hours!
I was overly active to say the least! Then college happened… Don’t get me wrong it was the best thing that ever happened to me, although I didn't have my XC Team or Dance Team to keep me motivated. It was kind of a shock, and hard to stay active. Not to mention the DINING HALL, which was packed with everything you ever wanted to eat that your parents wouldn't let you! CHICKEN FINGERS, PASTA, FRIED EVERYTHING, ICE CREAM, LUCKY CHARMS…. Literally everything you ever wanted and more! It was really hard to turn down. So here is your experienced Freshman Year Guide to staying active and eating semi healthy. Because let's get real, those Lucky Charms every night for dessert are too good to give up.
To Stay Active
#1. Set A Fitness Goal & Stick To IT!
OK get your planner out and schedule in your workouts in between your classes. Writing it down and sticking to it is the only way to stay committed! You might think… I don't have time to workout, I need to study! But you're WRONG, working out is proven to boost neural activity to improve your memory. So go workout and then hit the library.
#2. Plan your class schedule around your routine.
The best thing about college is you make your own schedule for the first time in your life! So if you like working out in the morning, schedule yourself some free time then, It's the easiest way to get a workout in when it's best for you!
#3. Take advantage of cheap fitness classes!
Most college campuses have high tech fitness centers, that offer cheap fitness classes, like boxing or hip hop! Take those classes!
#4. Run Virtually With Friends - The Empowered Race Series
The race is August 5th & 6th which is perfect timing for a freshman, it will keep you active throughout the summer and you will arrive at college fit & ready to take on your new journey!
Oh and here is 20% OFF - Code: RUN
#4. Get a fitness tracker and walk everywhere!
Walking counts as being active, get an awesome fitness tracker that can calculate your mileage to stay motivated. Start to walk everywhere and see if you can beat your previous day's goal. Need groceries? WALK THERE! Want to catch up with some friends? TAKE A WALK!
#5 Online Workouts!
Ummmmm YouTube. That's all i have to say about that. Get online and workout in your dorm hallway.
Your Healthy Diet Strategy…
I say strategy because it really takes strategic planning. Trust me.
#1. Stock Your Mini Fridge
I know you will have a great big dining hall, but stock your mini fridge with snacks that will fill your cravings but are not frozen burritos and mac & cheese.
Keep it stocked with hummus, carrots, low fat cheese, salsa, whole grain wraps, eggs, yogurt, berries, apple, peanut butter, okay and maybe some mac & cheese.
#2. Don’t Wait Until You're Starving To Eat.
This is a CLASSIC… I still struggle with it, but when you have access to immediate junk food in the dorms I can not stress enough to pack healthy snack to bring with you to class & the library. Just throw hummus and carrots in your bag, it will help keep you away from the chips and frozen burritos. (why do I keep talking about frozen burritos? oh because I lived on them!)
#3. Pre-Plan Your Late Night Snack.
Okay we can all pretend you're going to be home and in bed by 9PM every night, but we know that's not going to happen! If I had taken this bit of advice freshman year… OMG lets just say it's gold.
Stock the fridge with these items. PLEASE
When I would get home late night I felt like I had never eaten in my ENTIRE LIFE! Avoid the bad meal decisions late night like the plague!
Here are some ideas…
- Soup: OMG you would be surprised but a nice Vegetable or Miso soup just hits the spot.
Microwave Popcorn: No explanation needed, you can binge eat the popcorn OKAY!
Avocado Toast: Soooo good! Just Toast, Avocado & some salt. YES you did it!
Quesadilla: Okay this might not be the best but it is way better than your two mega large slices of pepperoni pizza. You can make it in the microwave and boom you have a cheesy snack. (just don't make 5 of them because that defeats the purpose, I was GUILTY of this!)
When Eating At The Dining Hall
#1. Go In With A Plan
Don’t just accept the fact you can have whatever you want. Get some structure PLEASE! Get a routine down.
Breakfast: eggs, oatmeal, yogurt & berries.
Lunch: get a nice salad with some protein and a bowl of grapes for the sweet tooth.
Dinner: Protein & Greens, keep it simple!
Stay away from the fried mac & cheese, because it will be there!
#2. Salad Bar
Okay I know you will have access to an epic salad bar. Take Advantage! Hard boiled eggs are my favorite on a salad, stay away from the heavy creamy dressing. Once in awhile is fine!
#3. Stash something healthy for the road
I don't want to tell you to break the rules here but snag a banana, or paper to-go cup to put some grapes in! That was always my go-to.
Tip- My friends and I used to load paper coffee cups with grapes and freeze them for later!
#4. Single Ingredient Foods….
What i mean by this is avoid the casseroles with mayo and butter. Go for the grilled chicken, the salmon, the raw veggies, the brown rice and not the marshmallow sweet potatoes.
Alright now you're on your own! I have given you my rundown on how to stay active and avoid the bad dining hall food freshman year.
Now get out there and eat pizza! Just KIDDING!
I was not perfect freshman year, but If I had known these tips going into it, I would have at least had a plan. Don’t worry all hope isn't lost, I went on to running more miles than you can image after college, but it was definitely a struggle to stay committed in school.
I promise you will feel so much better if you try and find a balance of staying active from your old life and eating healthy.
#IAMEMPOWERED (for realzz)
Good Luck & Have Fun!