The freshman fifteen: you hear it, you fear it, you’re convinced it can never happen to you. Yet, whether the food at your college is great or terrible it happens easier than you think. The next thing you know, you’re home for summer break and swimsuit season has never seemed less appealing. If the food is great, the all you can eat option gets taken full advantage of. If it was gross, like it was my freshman year, you develop a newfound fondness for French fries and barbecue sauce because whatever the main hot meal is looks vile and the fruit has definitely been dropped several stories before appearing in the fruit bin. This coupled with what is for many people the first time without organized sports can make motivation to go to the gym rather hard to come by.
In the context of my family’s healthy eating habits at home, my newly discovered school eating habits seemed painfully obvious. I had also always liked exercise, I was a gymnast and conditioning was always my favorite part of a gym session. But at school the gym was a decent walk from my dorm and the motivation to go was far less tempting than spending time movies and drinking wine with friends. Another key piece to college weight gain is alcohol. Many people over look this, but beers, glasses of wine, shots of most hard alcohol come in at around 100 calories each, and for many people the night does not stop at one. Mixed drinks pack and even bigger calories load, especially when mixed with sugary juices or sodas. That’s without taking into account the effects alcohol has on slowing down one’s metabolism. Sorry liver.
So I came I home, took a look at my swimsuit and said it was time for a change. I had a previous interest in jogging, the summer before college I had been pretty consistent but never really went further than 3 miles or so. Then I discovered HIIT, short for high intensity interval workouts. They are right up my alley, short burst of giving it 100% energy followed by shot periods of active rest. They seem manageable, and change it up to keep it from getting monotonous plus they boost your metabolism to keep you burning hours after the workout.
With access to the gym at school when I got back (and a newfound motivation to go!) it was easier to maintain this lifestyle I reclaimed at home over the summer. Running intervals on the elliptical became my everyday staple along with running, jogging, sprinting intervals in the treadmill and power walking uphill. Some days I combined these with HIIT and abs and dumbbells. Find whatever it is that works for you and stick to it!
They say its 70% diet 30% exercise. I don’t know how much I buy into that, but I absolutely agree you can’t change your body without changing your lifestyle and what you eat. I was a former lover of mac and cheese, bagels, grilled cheese, muffins, desserts, and all other things carb-loaded and calorically disastrous. So I changed my eating habits. Editing those old staple foods out bit by bit until I stopped eating them almost completely and found a new love of healthy food, even cooking! Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t indulge time to time, but find a balance, and you might just find over time that you want those old crutches less and less. I now love foods I would have never tried before, so I was inspired to share my new eating and exercising habits. I promise if you saw what I was eating a few years ago you wouldn’t believe this was the same girl. But it feels so much better, and looking better doesn’t hurt either! So I’ll post exercise routines and recipes and pictures in hope that it inspires you to be healthy and be happy!