How to Stay in Shape While in College: Diet & Exercise


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When it comes to staying healthy and in shape, there are some basic concepts that never change. Whether you’re a middle-aged adult trying to get back into shape, or a college student trying to avoid the freshman 15, you need to eat healthy and exercise.

Eating the right foods

The hardest part of staying healthy is always the diet.

However, when it comes to simply staying in shape, a rigorous diet isn’t always needed. Forget no-carb, vegan, or strange juice diets.

The most basic concept is “calories-in vs. calories-out”. It is impossible to gain weight if you burn more calories than you eat. If you go on a strict vegan diet and still eat more calories than you burn, then you will still gain weight. So when it comes to preventing weight gain, count the calories. Foremost, you will need to calculate your daily calorie goal. From here, all you need to do is make sure you keep the calories from exceeding that number.

Foremost, you will need to calculate your daily calorie goal. From here, all you need to do is make sure you keep the calories from exceeding that number.

If you cut out the junk foods, then you will quickly save hundreds of calories from your daily intake. This is why junk food is so dangerous. If you eat one bag of chips, you may consume over 1,000 calories–and you’re still hungry! This doesn’t mean that you need to cut junk food out completely. Simply be wary of what you eat. In fact, going cold turkey and cutting junk food out completely usually results in failed diets. Instead, work your way into healthier eating.

Start by adding fruits and vegetables into your meals, and gradually make wise decisions to limit junk food as time goes by.

Exercising: Aerobic vs Anaerobic

If you simply watch what you eat, then you will likely avoid gaining weight, but that doesn’t mean that you’re healthy or in shape. It’s important to get to the gym to maintain a healthy body. Exercise comes down to two main categories: Aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic exercise consists of cardiovascular exercises that raise your heart rate and are sustained for longer periods of time. Swimming, jogging, running, and biking are all good examples of aerobic exercise. These are very helpful for your cardiovascular health, lowering your cholesterol, reducing your risk of diabetes, and strengthening your lungs.

Anaerobic, on the other hand, deals with high-intensity exercises. Rather than prolonged exercise of moderate exertion, anaerobic are quick and powerful movements. Sprints and weight lifting are the two biggest exercises of this category.

Lifting weights isn’t just to get good-looking muscles. Not only does weight lifting help avoid injury, it also helps with sleep, focus, balance, and lowers blood pressure. This applies to both men and women. One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to fitness is that women will get “bulky” if they lift weights. Women are not biologically the same as men, thus can’t naturally produce as much muscle–lifting weights alone will not dramatically change a woman’s physique.

In addition, women can benefit from doing many of the core lifts that are often associated with male weight lifters. These consist of compound movements. Things like squats, deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups all fall into this category. Unfortunately, doing simple exercises just don’t have the same effect.

Creating a Routine

At the end of the day, all of this means nothing if you are not consistent.

Start by creating a schedule so you won’t fizzle out like you did on your last diet. If you want to work out, then set a time every day to go to the gym. You could get it out of the way with in the morning, or go right after class. However, once you start, you’ll quickly see the progress in the mirror, and won’t want to stop.

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Jordan Farris is a current student at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. He is working on his Bachelors of Science in Informatics, in addition to his minor in Computer Science. Outside of school and work, Jordan, like other college students, is very interested in sports, politics, and music.

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