The do’s and don’ts to stay fit in college

Jessica Valverde


Fall semester is in full swing at Troy University, and many freshmen are wondering how to avoid the dreaded “freshman 15.” Oftentimes, students find themselves gaining weight as they learn the ropes of college life. Most of this weight gain can be attributed to the convenience of fast food, a serious lack of exercise, one too many good parties and a great deal of stress that a full-time school schedule can bring.

Tonya Clarke, a senior biology major from Robertsdale and also a majorette for the Sound of the South, is known by many of her bandmates as a health nut.

Clarke was proud to say that during her first year at Troy she was able to avoid the freshman 15 by staying active and avoiding overeating. She did, however, confess that she did not have a particular diet that she followed, nor does she have one now.

“I use simple common sense when deciding what food to eat and how much to eat of it,” Clarke said. Clarke suggests that students stay far away from fast, cheap foods that students often find convenient, such as potato chips and ramen noodles. Instead, they should turn to fresh fruits and raw vegetables as their snacks.

Clarke also suggests that students find a way to stay active. “I work out at least twice a week, as well as walk a half mile to class every day,” Clarke said. Clarke also said that she weighs in weekly and that it serves as a reminder for her to watch what she eats and ensure that she makes time for exercise.

However, it must be said that we are not all majorettes who need to stay active to fit in the petite uniforms. So, how does the average student go about avoiding the freshman 15 or just shedding any unwanted pounds?

Well, take it from a 29-year-old, full-time college student who commutes over 60 miles a day, five days a week, and manages an extremely busy life while being self-employed, and a mom: it can be done.

In January, I made it my mission to become a healthier person, and the first step of this mission was to lose 100 pounds. I weighed 248 pounds when I started, and now I weigh 188. My goal is to lose 40 pounds more.My personal advice to all college students, not just the freshmen, is to make time for exercise and find a trainer, or someone who knows a lot about nutrition, to speak with you about your diet. My own fitness regime includes cardio classes at X-treme Fitness in Dothan four times a week, on top of lifting light weights for one hour, twice a week, with my personal trainer.

The Troy University campus offers a full gym that is free to all enrolled students. The gym is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 2 to 8 p.m. on the weekend. This makes it easy to fit in your workouts before, between, or after classes.

I avoid foods that have no nutritional value and monitor my portions closely in addition to drinking at least half of my body weight of water in ounces each day. I completely avoid sodas or any other drinks high in sugar content. To those students who live in the dorms and do not have the option of preparing their own meals, you should be conscientious of what you choose to eat when you are eating on campus.

Making a decision to eat the grilled chicken nuggets instead of the fried nuggets could make a huge difference in how you feel and what the scale says at the end of the week. Instead of going for the french fries as your side, choose the fruit cup.

 If you cannot find any healthy options when getting ready to eat that quick breakfast or lunch between classes, make sure you watch your portion sizes. If you are eating a portion size that is larger than the palm of your hand, you are eating too much. Also, I encourage you to find an accountability partner. Everyone needs someone to count on to push you to work out and eat right even when you are not really feeling up to it.

With an upcoming wedding in December, I have six bridesmaids to hold me accountable.

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