With school firing back up again, a common comment I hear from people is that “Staying healthy and fit in college is so hard”. I’m sure all of you have heard of the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”. Because, you know, that all-can-eat dining hall filled with unlimited pizza, pancakes, and Chinese food is pretty dang tempting. But what if I told you this. . .being healthy at college isn’t that hard and in fact, extremely simple.
Now, let me just throw out a few things to remember and keep in mind. Fitness is a lifestyle, but also shouldn’t consume you. You need to find a nice balance and not let it run your life. Use these tips to not just be healthy, but to enjoy life while you’re at it! And no, eating less doesn’t mean “healthy”. We will get into macros and proper nutrition in a future post. Food is fuel, remember that.
So, lets get this show on the road. I know you’re eager to find out these tips!
Tip #1: Protein Powder is a must
This is a simple one. Buy some protein powder. Keep it on deck at all times. Most students’ meal plans include to meals a day at the dining hall. However, it is important to have an adequate protein intake to maintain lean muscle, keep yourself full, and for muscle growth.
Protein powder is a supplement. Although its not optimal to get all of your protein from supplements, whey protein is a good option to get your protein intake a little higher. Key Sports Nutrition Pro-ISO is lactose free (goodbye bloat!), sugar free, and fat free. Ice Cream Sandwich is my go-to flavor, but of course all of the rest are Amazing (with an emphasis on amazing).
If you aren’t eating enough protein you’ll have more cravings. Protein takes longer to digest, so it keeps you full and evens out your blood sugar. Most people eat carb-heavy diets. The problem with a high carb/low protein diet is that carbs are digested FAST in the body. This spikes insulin levels and just makes you always feel hungry! A rule of thumb is to consume about .8-1g of protein per pound of body weight.
So fill up that shaker cup and let’s get #WHEYSTED
Tip #2: Plan Your Workout Into Your Day
This also may seem simple, but it is a game changer! It’s easy to have a long, busy day and skip the gym. However, if you create a schedule and designate certain days and times for workouts, you’re more likely to get into the gym! Days where you don’t feel motivated you have to remind yourself of your goals. For me, I always tell myself, “While you're sitting on your butt, your competition is out there working harder.” No one likes someone beating them! Plan your workout times in advance and stick to a schedule! If you’re feeling drained and tired, take a scoop of Key Sports Nutrition Key Ignition Pre-Workout!
Tip #3: Get a Workout Buddy!
Get a friend to come workout with you! Having a friend that commits to a workout schedule helps keep you motivated and accountable. It’s not as easy to skip a workout if you are working out with someone else, because who wants to be the one who says, “Hey I actually am going to sit in bed and watch Netflix instead.” Don’t be that person! Keep pushing and motivate each other to be better. Plus, working out is a great way to relieve some school stress and vent to someone else!
Tip #4: Load up on the Veggies!
Almost every single college has a salad bar in their dining hall. Before you start every meal, get a nice big salad. Veggies are very low in calorie and high in volume. So, you can eat a ton of them for very little caloric value. Veggies are also loaded with fiber, which makes you feel full. It’s a great way to prevent overeating and to get some important nutrients in your diet. Stick to cleaner options for your main dish. Some easy and nutritious meal ideas are a burrito bowl (romaine, rice, grilled chicken, salsa, guac, cheese and sour cream!), a whole wheat sandwich, peanut butter with celery as a side, veggie burgers, etc. Remember, “junk” foods may taste good at the moment, but the feeling after your body processes it isn't too great. Food is fuel. What you put into your body directly impacts energy, performance, and overall health. Would you put terrible gas into your car?? Think about it.
Tip #5: Stick to Low(er) Calorie Drinks (21 yr olds only!)
We all know college students are known to party. But, don’t get trapped in a cycle of drinking excessive amounts every single weekend. Drinking on occasion won’t kill you, but remember not to overdo it. Stick to drinks lower in calorie, like vodka and diet pop/soda. Consuming mixed drinks could be delicious, but they are also a loaded sugar trap. If you consume multiple drinks, you also are consuming loads of carbs and sugar! Limit yourself to only a couple drinks, and have them mixed with a diet drink. That will cut down on the calories and carb content. Also, do your best to not order any “drunk foods”. Eating pizza, Insomnia Cookies, or Chicken and Waffles (an Ohio University thing!) will not only sabotage progress you made, but also probably won’t make you feel so hot the next day when you remember all that you ate. Drink lots of water in between drinks as well!
I competed while living in a dorm room with no kitchen and no car. Being healthy can be done, but you have to make it a priority. No one ever regrets a workout, so even on days you aren’t feeling it, push yourself. I promise you will feel amazing after.
Let’s just recap and make this very simple: Consume enough protein, plan your workouts, get a workout buddy, don’t forget your veggies, and drink wisely. Simple, right? College is a once in a lifetime experience. Have fun and stay healthy!
Until next time. Have a great week Fit Fam. --- Kristen Soinski