13 Tips for Staying Fit at College

13 Tips for Staying Fit at College

For advice on staying healthy and fit at college, we turned to personal trainers, nutrition experts and relationship experts. From dining hall tips to fitness hacks, this is the information every college student should follow for a healthy and successful semester.

Tips for Staying Fit at College

For advice on staying healthy and fit at college, we turned to personal trainers, nutrition experts and relationship experts. From dining hall tips to fitness hacks, this is the information every college student should follow for a healthy and successful semester.

Find a Regular Yoga Class

Whether you head to a yoga class in town or on campus, April Masini an author and relationship expert says it could be good for your fitness, psychological well-being and your relationships. “The regularity is great because it’s a healthy way to stay fit, burn off stress steam, and meet people who you know you’ll see on a regular basis,” she said. “College is a wonderful academic opportunity, but it’s also a stressor for many young people away from home for the first time. The expectation that college can be the best four years of your life isn’t always true—in fact, many times, it can lead to depression and damaging behavior as a result. Seeing the same people in a yoga class is a great way to make friends. Friendships plus exercise can lead to an absence or alleviation of stress. Yoga mat anyone?”

Join a CSA Group

CSA stands for “community supported agriculture”. “Many colleges will sell you a reasonably priced ‘share’ in this type of club where each week you get a box of farm to table produce,” said Masini. “It will feel like a little present that comes weekly, and the (usually) organic, super fresh food, offsets the evils of dorm cafeteria fare.”

Get Your Steps In

Leave a little earlier and walk or bike to and from classes. “Don’t take shuttles,” said Nick Brennan, a NASM certified personal trainer and the founder and CEO of Unbeaten Fitness. “You can easily end up walking more than a 5k a day without feeling like it on a college campus.”

Control Portions at the Dining Hall

“Limit yourself to one plate at the all you can eat dining halls,” said Brennan. “It may be tempting to scarf down as much as you want, but your waistline will pay for it eventually.”

Get Involved

Trying new things and meeting people is what college is all about, so try branching out with your fitness regimen as well. “Sign up for (and attend) at least one group fitness class and intramural sport a semester,” said Brennan. “These are great places to make friends and the group atmosphere will help with accountability on the days you don't feel like working out.”

Think About Electives

“Consider taking a physical elective every semester,” said Brennan. “Many schools have a flat tuition rate based on a range of credits (12-16) so if your core classes end up at 14 or 15 credits, you can generally squeeze in a 1 credit fitness class too. You're already paying for it after all.”

Make Smart Food Choices

“Your choices in college are everything, from friend groups, to majors, to late night study sessions and more,” said Jenny Schatzle, fitness and nutrition expert and creator of the Jenny Schatzle 6-Week Program. “A choice that affects only you is what you put in your body…If you need more to fill you up than a salad, seek out healthier options other than pizza, burgers, or cereal (my personal favorite in college). Find full protein sources, whole-grains, and vegetables to help power you through your college days.”

Get Some Zzzs

“I can’t stress this enough—when I was in college, partying, studying, eating became my cycle. I was worn out, fat, lethargic, and flunking out of school,” said Schatzle, highlighting the importance of sleep. “I know we all like to procrastinate and have late night study sessions, but try instead to create a schedule for yourself the week you have a big exam...This way, you will ensure you have enough time to learn the material without staying up until 3 a.m., only to wake up at 7 a.m. to go take your test. Not only is a lack of sleep bad for your health, but this lifestyle does not produce high quality results.”

Do Some Research

“Eating healthy when getting used to your new school can be challenging,” said Marisa Demos, a personal trainer and college student. “Make sure that you take the time to find healthy food joints near and around campus. Also, do your research on the foods offered around campus. I did this and was very surprised at the nutrition content in some of the food items.”

Keep Healhy Snacks in Your Dorm

Dorm food is very important because if you don't have healthy foods in your place, you more than likely won't eat healthy,” said Demos. “I try to keep lots of fruits, veggies and water in my mini fridge and have healthy granola bars, nuts, seeds, etc. in my pantry. When going out to eat with your friends, try to keep drinking to a minimum and find healthier food joints. But, of course, everyone deserves to indulge once in a while.”

Eat Breakfast

“Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast filled with fruits, oatmeal, greek yogurt or eggs to avoid eating junk or fast food later in the day,” said John Cantu, head trainer at Orangetheory Fitness Houston. “Also, avoid eating late at night as your body has less time to work this food off before you go to sleep.”

Set a Schedule

Aim to work out three to five times a week and if you have trouble sticking to it, write it down in your schedule. “With all the studying, tough class schedules, the partying and hangovers from drinking, it may be difficult but if you can set a time that you will go every week day and make it a routine, it will definitely help keep you fit.,” said Sam Karl a top instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp in Miami Beach. “Get a friend on the same schedule and you can push each other.”

Find Fit Friends

“Surrounding yourself with a group of peers who have similar health and fitness goals will make sticking to healthy habits a whole lot easier,” said Christine Parker, owner of FitHouse. “Find a group of friends who will help keep you accountable to your workouts and with your nutrition goals. Challenges are a great way to add a little motivation and fun to your fitness plan.”