8 Tips to Keep the Pounds Off at College


When you’re busy balancing college life, your body often pays the price. Here are some simple fitness tips to keep your weight in check.

This time of the year, when you’re heading off to college for the first time or returning after the summer break, it can be challenging if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. The “freshman 15” weight gain becomes a reality for many new college students, and a return to a standard college diet of fast food becomes a reality for those coming back. The only way to avoid weight gain is to find ways to stay active, reduce stress and stay on track with a healthy eating plan. Here are some tips to help you squeeze in daily activity and avoid gaining weight.

Start walking: Walking can help you burn calories, improve muscle tone and reduce stress. Using a simple pedometer that clips to your waistband is a great way to monitor your daily walking activity. A healthy goal to try and reach is 10,000 steps per day.

Build up your pace: As you add regular walks to your day, slowly increase your duration until 30 minutes feels comfortable. Then increase your intensity level by walking faster. Start including varied terrain, such as hills, and then progress to a jogging or running pace.

Climb stairs: Climbing stairs is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness level. Plus, it works all of the muscles in the back of the legs and butt. If you can’t find a good set of stairs to climb, do step-ups instead. Aim to do the equivalent of 50 stairs per day.

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Lunchtime catch-up: It’s much easier to complete a training program when you have a partner who is doing it with you. Invite a friend or family member to exercise with you during your lunch break or any free time you may have between classes. It’s a great way to catch up while doing your body some good.

Find a fitness deal: Many colleges have recreational sports leagues and offer discounted gym memberships or fitness classes. Also, look online for a program that allows you to try out lots of local or virtual fitness classes at a discounted price.

Learn a few moves: Perform body weight resistance exercises, such as simple squats, lunges and push-ups in your dorm or wherever you live. When you’re ready, you can progress to using weights. If you know how to do the basics, any time you have just a few minutes to spare, you can maximize your time by getting stronger with simple exercises. There are lots of exercise routines that you can do for free online when you have a little more time to spend.

Snack well: Don’t fall into the bad habit of grabbing unhealthy snacks on the go. Instead, be prepared and carry healthy treats in your bag. Try to find snacks that are high in protein, as they will help you to stay fuller for longer. Avoid empty calories and opt for nutrient-dense foods that are essential when you’re stressed and busy.

Stay hydrated: When your body is well hydrated, you may hold on to less water weight. I also find that when I’m drinking fluids throughout the day, I’m less likely to snack. Quite often we mistake thirst with hunger. Aim to drink a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses per day and even more if it’s hot or if you’re exercising.

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If you stick to a healthy routine and squeeze in my tips, you’ll sail through the busy school season with your body composition intact!

Samantha Clayton, OLY, ISSA-CPT, Vice President, Sports Performance and Fitness


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