Good news: Many colleges and universities have some of the best imaginable options for fitness. The bad news is that it can be tough to keep up your fitness routine in the winter months. The weather’s terrible, you have finals to cram for, and there are non-stop holiday parties and vacation plans coming up.
If there was ever a time for the freshman fifteen to creep on, it’s now. However, there are ways to battle this phenomenon and get through the winter healthy and happy.
For starters, if you happen to be on a campus that shuts down for the holidays but you’re staying in your dorm, you’re going to need access to a vehicle. Not having a car is no excuse for skipping the gym or ski trails. Treat yourself to new Audi specials just in time for the New Year and you’ll be zipping to snowboarding lessons in no time. Financing is available, and insurance companies often offer deals to college students with impressive grades. Now that you have your ride figured out, here are some key ways to stay fit on campus even when the snow starts to fall:
- Make full use of the campus gym. A lot of college gyms are state of the art and so much better than what you’ll be able to afford when the student loans come due. However, a lot of college students don’t realize how good they have it with free or low-cost gym memberships until it’s too late. If you want an extra workout, you can always snowshoe there. Speaking of snowshoeing…
- Snowshoe around campus. This can be great fun, especially if you live in a city where snow is rare and the streets are bare when a few inches of powder falls. Snowshoeing doesn’t really feel like a workout, but it’s a great cardio fat burner. You might be able to rent or borrow the gear from your campus outdoor rec club. If you don’t have snow clothes, start perusing your local thrift shop. They always have cheap options in the winter months.
- See what outdoor adventures your campus is offering. There’s a good chance a campus club or organization is putting together snowboarding outings or other winter sports. You’ll be able to take advantage of free or low-cost transportation and can make new friends along the way. The more friends you have who are active, the more likely you are to follow suit.
- Use Grubhub or another food delivery service wisely. Gone are the days when the only delivery options were pizza and Chinese food. There are now a number of services that will allow you to order virtually anything you want—including healthy options. A lot of these services also pride themselves on delivery when nobody else can or will. Ideally, you’ll be able to shop and cook for yourself to have total control over the health factor, but that’s not always an option. Just remember you don’t “have” to order junk food every day just because there’s a snowstorm.
- Check out indoor workouts that don’t require equipment. From free online yoga classes to strength training using your body weight, there are a lot of workouts that require no special equipment. You don’t always have to leave your dorm to squeeze in a good sweat session. To ensure you get a daily workout, try to tackle it first thing in the morning. As a bonus, you’ll be feeling good and energized the rest of the day.
- Make sure you’re getting your protein. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, but also helps you feel full. The average person needs half as many grams of protein per pound of body weight (so a 150-pound person needs a minimum of 75 grams of protein). If you want to build muscle, you need at least one gram per pound of body weight.
Staying healthy on campus is actually much easier than it will likely be in the “real world.” The bigger issue is the temptation to slack off or indulge a little too much at parties. Keep balances in check and aim to get in at least one kind of workout per day. Remember that gentle ones count, too.