Losing the Freshman 15

The big, the bad, and the ugly of your first year of college: The Freshman 15.

Your first year away from home means different eating, sleeping, and exercising habits which ultimately wreaks havoc on your body.

Here are 15 of the best ways to avoid the dreaded freshman 15:

1. Avoid the CATA Bus

I get it, CATA is convenient especially if you’re living the average freshman life in East Halls (like me). The dread of waking up in the morning and not wanting to walk is too real. Instead of dreading this walk, learn to enjoy it! Listen to some music, walk with friends, and take in the beauty of campus, especially while it’s still warm out. Walking is a great way to exercise moderately and gives you an endorphin boost class starts. It can also help you relax after a long day, so remember to walk (not uber) everywhere!

2. Take the stairs

Elevators are great, but taking the stairs is a fantastic way to get your heart racing and your blood flowing. So skip the elevator and get moving!

3. Invest in a gym membership

$110 for the entire year isn’t a tremendous price to pay for access to all of the gyms on campus, free fitness classes, and free sports rentals. So put the money in now and you won’t regret it! The on campus facilities have weight rooms, indoor tracks, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, cardio rooms, spinning rooms, and so much more! With all of that available at the swipe of your ID, the freshman 15 has nothing on you.

4. Schedule a PE class

Penn State requires that you take a physical fitness class once in your undergraduate career, so why not schedule one for next semester? With classes ranging from skiing to scuba diving, it’s impossible to find something you won’t enjoy. (Bonus: you get credit for it which is extra motivation to try your hardest.)

5. Try out the outdoors

Penn State is located in one of the most beautiful regions of Pennsylvania. We are surrounded by mountain trails, rivers, waterfalls, and so much more. Luckily, PSU makes it easy by offering a wide range of student organizations dedicated to anything outdoors! So join the equestrian club, find a white water rafting adventure, or grab a group of friends and go hike Mount Nittany. The possibilities here are endless.

6. Make every weekend count

Tempted to sit around in your dorm room on a Saturday? Well, don’t! Game weekend or not, Penn State always has something going on that will get your FitBit steps for the day. If nothing else, grab some friends and hit up a few of State College’s many downtown stores.

7. Join an IM or Club sports team

Play softball in high school? Like to figure skate? Want some running buddies? You’re in luck because Penn State offers a wide range of club and IM sports that cover all of these activities and so much more. These are a great way to stay in shape and make some friends with similar interests.

8. Get lost!

Take a road you have never walked before. You’ll get some great exercise and maybe you’ll find a cool new study spot too. One of my favorite locations is the Peace Garden which I stumbled across trying (and failing) to locate a class in my first week here. I won’t tell you where it is, so go get lost trying to find it!

9. Carry water everywhere

Do your wallet and gut a favor by taking a reusable water bottle everywhere. Fill it up at one of the multiple water bottle filling stations around campus or invest in a Brita pitcher to fill it up every morning (10/10 would recommend). I love fountain drinks just as much as the next person, but the amount of sugar in them will make you feel sluggish and bloated all day. Always opt for water instead!

10. Take advantage of your meal plan

The campus meal plan gets you discounted access to a number of eateries and dining halls around campus, but with it comes responsibility. Instead of grabbing a $2 bacon cheeseburger from Fipps in Findlay commons, run upstairs for a healthy salad with mixed greens, veggies, some grilled chicken, and a light salad dressing. You’ll feel so much better afterwards and the scale will thank you when you get home.

11. Take advantage of the healthy options in the Hub

The Hub has a fair share of unhealthy options like Burger King and Chick-Fil-A which are great in moderation, but it also has tons of healthy options! Next time you’re fighting through the lunch rush, instead of grabbing a slice of pizza from Sbarro, jump in line for the Hub’s extensive salad bar, pick up a Poke bowl with brown rice and loads of nutrient dense fish, or grab a filling and delicious smoothie from Jamba juice! The options are endless.

12. Stock up on healthy dorm snacks

Ditch the candy Mom sent you in a care package and grab some fresh fruit from the dining hall, trail mix, or some butter-free popcorn instead. If it’s at arms reach, it will be eaten. Don’t keep things at arm’s reach that add to the Freshman 15.

13. Go for skim milk in your morning coffee

I can’t function in the morning without coffee, but instead of going for a calorie and sugar rich latte or macchiato, I grab a black or flavored coffee with skim milk. It will give you the boost you need in the morning without the sugar and fat that does a number on the body and it still tastes just as great!

14. Skip post party snacks

I love Canyon pizza just as much as anyone else, especially after midnight when slices are only $1. Instead of drunkenly grabbing a slice every time you head home from a night of partying, limit yourself to once a month. That goes for all of the unhealthy drunk food stops that we all know and love (Wings Over, Gumby’s, Are U Hungry, etc). Don’t completely cut them out of your diet, just limit your consumption. We all need to treat ourselves once in awhile!

15. Allow yourself a cheat day

A cheat day once in awhile is actually proven to keep you on track far better than completely trying to cut junk foods from your diet. Just because it’s your cheat day doesn’t mean you should double your average calorie intake or have some creamery ice cream three times in one day, however. Still maintain a healthy diet, but if you want some Pokey Stix or a bowl of Peachy Paterno go for it! Just don’t make it an everyday thing.

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