One of the most intense fears some co-eds have upon entering college is not getting lost or making friends (okay, those are pretty intense too): it’s the reputation college has for handing us a few extra pounds along with our extra homework. I’m talking about the freshman 15. For some, this weight gain doesn’t stop after freshman year.
Did you see people from high school over winter break and think, what happened to her body? No one wants to be that person. If your New Year’s resolution was to start hitting the gym, or even if you just want to get off the couch more often, perhaps these success stories from real students will give you some motivation:
“When I went to college, I gained 15 pounds because I never worked out and ate whatever I wanted. In college you’re allowed to eat a cupcake at 2 a.m., and that’s exactly the kind of thing I did. Finally, the summer after sophomore year I started going to the gym in my hometown. I hated doing the elliptical and other machines, so I decided to take a Jazzercise class.
The first class was free, and I was hooked instantly. Jazzercise is a group aerobics class that uses Top 40 music, so it’s really fun. I was going to Jazzercise all the time until the instructor approached me and asked me if I considered being an instructor. Since I took dance in high school, I thought it would be fun to get back up on stage.
I had to go to a movement screening, then you get sent a packet and you have to learn 10 different routines and take an anatomy test online to get CPR certified. You also go to an audition and they pick two songs and you have to do them for the training class. Now, I get to teach free Jazzercise classes at my school’s fitness center.
Being able to teach people my own age is great because I can understand their exercise needs and enjoy the same music. You have to take getting healthier little by little. Trying to drastically change yourself is going to make you hate it. You have to find a balance and find something you enjoy. I ended up losing 20 pounds on Jazzercise alone!”
-Chelsea Tirrell, Junior, Hofstra University
“During my freshman year in college I weighed about 140 and I’m almost 6 feet tall. Needless to say, I was a pretty skinny guy. I did a few sports in high school, but now that I didn’t have anything like that to occupy my time, I wanted to start building my muscle and become stronger. I worked out four times a week and focused on a different area each time. The areas were chest and triceps, neck and biceps, legs and shoulders and abs.
Try and work out before dinner because if you’re trying to gain muscle you want to eat right after you work out. I don’t take any supplements or get into protein because it’s really expensive, especially for a college student. Exercising for me is such a good mood booster. If there’s a Sunday where I didn’t do a lot of school work but I went to the gym, I feel like I at least did something productive that day.”
-Cameron Dow, Junior, Notre Dame
The Change Up
“When I transferred to Michigan State sophomore year, I was so caught up in the parties and cafeteria options at my new huge school that I started to get a little rough around the edges. Since I didn’t have my family cooking dinner for me anymore, it was really hard to control myself. After New Year’s 2011, I decided it really was time to make a big change.
I immediately cut out pop, my major vice, and drank sparkling water instead to satisfy those bubbly cravings. Instead of taking the bus to all my classes, I walked at a fast pace. Since MSU is so big, that adds up to about five miles of walking per day. Gradually, I started going to the gym more and more and running on the treadmill. At first I could barely run for ten minutes, but now I’m up to 45!
It feels great to see improvements in my shape. Now that I live in a house with other girls, we cook our own healthy meals instead of hitting the cafeteria. Cooking yourself really helps. Even if you live in a dorm, usually there is a communal kitchen that’s up for use. I wouldn’t call myself a health nut now, but this year I have certainly been on an upward path to success.”
-Rachel Dickerman, Junior, Michigan State University
Photo: at http://www.projectwedding.com/post/list/somebody-shove-me-to-the-gym