Do you know what the “Freshman 15” is? It’s a common expression in the United States, which usually refers to a freshman student gaining 15 pounds of fat in their first year of college. In Australia, it’s known as “First Year Fatties”, and in New Zealand – it’s “Fresher Spread.”
The reason why it’s so prominent that it became a common expression is that college sets you up for an unhealthy lifestyle. The moment you step onto the campus- you stress more, socialize and drink to relieve stress, and contribute to an unhealthy life with many other factors.
In general, you are prone to having less sleep, less time to move, and a tendency to disregard health.
Plus, the foods that are readily available for students are mostly cheap buffets or fast-food joints, which aren’t necessarily healthy. Also, let’s not forget about late-night eating.
All of these factors add up and easily result in gaining 15 pounds in your first year, or even more!
With that said, there are exceptions. Plenty of students who leave for college come back in even greater shape than when they left – all while being on a student’s budget.
Here are some easy ways to get fit and eat healthy without missing any of the quintessential college stuff, and staying on budget!
Workout Tips for College Students
After a few hours of sitting down, looking at examples of essays and writing your own, you tend to feel tired. This often leads to you wanting something to eat. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy meal, take a break from writing and get your blood flowing with a quick workout to wake you up.
Check out these “budget exercises” for students that you can do in the comfort of your own room:
Stand and keep your feet a shoulder-width apart. Make sure that you’re able to bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. This will keep your core tight and improve your glutes. Do 20 reps, or until you feel your thighs and butt burn.
If you have time to go to the weight room, you can try 20 rep squats for an even better workout!
Position yourself like you’re doing a pushup – then, bring your knees in and position yourself as you’re about to stand up, jump, and then clap. Burpees are a great exercise to get your blood flowing, get your heart rate up, and sweat – a great way to burn off those calories.
3. Jumping Jacks
Almost everyone here knows how to do jumping jacks. You can do this exercise almost anywhere. Do 20-30 reps of jumping jacks and you’ll immediately feel your blood pumping.
Jumping jacks are a great exercise to wake you up.
Sit-ups can be done in a variety of ways, but the most basic one is laying on the ground, knees bent, then you lift your upper body up to your knees. If you want to move it up a notch, raise your legs and touch your toes as you lift your chest up.
Yes, planks. Position yourself like you’re about to do a push-up, instead, put your forearms on the ground. Try and hold it in for a minute, or as long as you can.
Exercises like planks are excellent for engaging both your mind and body. There’s no guarantee that it’ll be easy, though.
6. Leg Lifts
Lay on your back, put your arms on your sides and keep your legs together. Slowly lift your legs while trying to keep your legs together and straight – lift it up to a 90-degree angle, or as far as you can go, then slowly lower your feet without touching the ground. Repeat until you work up a sweat!
Healthy Eating Tips for Students on a Budget
Of course, those exercises won’t be as effective for maintaining your shape if you don’t eat healthily as well. But as you know, healthy foods are generally more expensive in the United States compared to readily available fast food. Try and avoid it as much as you can while also following these tips:
1. Stick to the Basics
By basic, we mean natural foods. Foods that haven’t been processed in any way, shape, or form. Foods like meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and more.
Just make sure that you have a fridge to stock them up. Most of these items may not be as cheap as fast food, but when portioned right, it can save you money.
2. Stock Up on Fruits and Vegetables
This goes together with the first point. Fruits and vegetables are rich with nutrients that combat the development of some health conditions.
Try and eat one fruit per meal and your body will thank you for it.
3. Eat Protein-Rich Foods
Foods like eggs, fish, beans, poultry, and more help in the development and growth of your body. From the development of your brain cells, skin, hair, nails, and muscles. So if you want to bulk-up, protein-rich foods are a must.
See Also: Vegan Protein Sources
4. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Most students don’t even bother eating breakfast due to constantly being in a rush. But as they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will fuel your body with the energy you need to jump-start your day. Eating breakfast also helps in activating your metabolism.
Your breakfast can be as simple as one piece of banana and a bowl of oatmeal.
Learn More: Metabolism Boosting Foods for Breakfast