College- (n.) an educational institution or establishment, or better known as some of the best years of your life. Your first year in college is exciting — everything is new and you have been entrusted with endless amounts of freedom. But with that freedom comes daily choices you will have to make including what you’re feeding your body. The Freshman 15 could sometimes seem impossible to escape from with the buffet-style dinning halls or having Hawk Dollars to swipe at your convenience at the local convenience stores. But by taking the necessary precautions, this feared disaster could be the least of your worries while you’re livin’ up your freshman year.
1. Four Words: Campus Recreation & Wellness Center
Not only does the CRWC host health expos and supply top notch workout equipment, but dietitians are also there for you to consult with. You’re already paying for it so might as well use it, am I right? Plus if those massages you can U-Bill aren’t enough to get you to the CRWC, then I don’t know what is.
2. Ditch the Cambus
Let’s be honest, although the Cambuses are extremely convenient, they are usually pretty crowded and smelly. Walking the beautiful University of Iowa campus is the way to go. The fresh air will do you good and you will get better acquitted with campus. #SpoonTip: Have a Fitbit? Challenge yourself by taking different routes to class, and see which ones get you the most steps!
3. Join an Intramural or Sports Club Team
There are so many opportunities to play sports on an intramural or club team at the university. This is especially exciting for freshman who played a sport in high school, and are itching to play in college but don’t want the commitment of an NCAA activity. The best part is that not only is it a great way to get exercise, but bragging rights to whoever wins! Here is a list of the intramural sports available if you’re ready to get your game face on.
4. Fresh Tops Fried
Navigating Burge and Hillcrest can sometimes be tiresome when you hear those crinkle fries or freshly baked sweets calling your name. Next time, instead of fries, stop by the salad bar or grab a bowl of fresh fruit. Eating healthy in the dining hall will also help your stomach from making weird gurgles in your 12:30pm lecture.
5. Take a Physical Education Class
Iowa offers several conditioning classes that you can register to take for credit. Some highlights include cycling, kickboxing, yoga, or Taekwondo. Grab a friend and stack up on semester hours while gettin’ a nice workout in.
6. Say No to Drunchies
So you’ve survived the night and closed the bar. Now what? Head on down to Marco’s Grilled Cheese or stand in line for thirty minutes to get a slice of mac and cheese pizza from Mesa? The answer is none of the above. If you really need some food in your tummy, go to Pita Pit and get a chicken caesar wrap or a fruit cup from the c-store. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
7. Join the UI Running Club
There are so many fun races that are held in Iowa City — everything from 5k’s to half marathons to Warrior Dash. Joining the running club is a great opportunity to meet new people, train for these races, and show off those cute new gym shorts you just purchased.
8. Brothers! Summit! And Union! Oh my!
Limiting yourself to only going out a few times a month will in the long run not only benefit your bank account, but your health as well. Three shots of Hawkeye Vodka is double the amount of calories than a bag of popcorn. Looks like a GNI isn’t such a bad idea after all.
9. Investigate Downtown Alternatives
Iowa City is busting with healthy chains. Whichwich Superior Sandwiches offers lettuce wraps or “skinny wiches” where they cut the extra bread out of your sandwich. Heirloom Salad Company is a popular joint among the Hawkeyes, where they can go and grab a freshly prepared salad while also completing homework in their study spaces.
10. Learn the Art of Grocery Shopping
Sometimes (or more like always) you have to grab that fro-yo to go or a box of cookies from the c-store. Grocery shopping can be a battle but with Bread Garden and Hy-Vee less than ten minutes away, it doesn’t have to be. Stocking up on food you can make at home will not only save you a pretty penny but also a few calories. Treating yourself once in a while is never a bad thing either, but hey — the heart wants what it wants.
11. Skip Starbucks
I’ll take an iced caramel macchiato; hold the whip, extra shot of espresso, four pumps of caramel and skinny it!
Any Starbucks drink can range from 200-600 calories. Replace your usual with a yummy smoothie from the Power Café at the CRWC and boost up on your vitamins!
12. Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is a no-no. By the time lunchtime rolls around, you’ll be so hungry that you’ll be willing to eat anything in front of you. Because you have deprived your stomach of food all morning, your body will want more food than it actually needs. This’ll lead to a major caloric intake. You know the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? ‘Nuff said.
13. Water is your best friend
Health experts suggest drinking eight glasses, or half a gallon of water a day. Water is proven to help clear up skin, leave you more energized, and help kill the craving of snacking (take that Freshman 15!).
14. Mount Everest meets Iowa City
Installed upon you while on your first tour of campus is the myth that if you walk up the the hill in front of the Old Capitol at least once a day all four years, it equals the distance of climbing Mount Everest. That counts right? Wonder how many Fitbit steps that would be…
15. Stairs, Stairs, Stairs
An easy way to get steps in your day while also getting a work out. Ignoring the elevator is one of the simplest changes you can alter to your daily routine but also one of the hardest because of the convenience and lets face it, we all have our lazy days. Plus, there’s nothing better than that burning calf feeling after walking up three flights of stairs, am I right?
At the end of the day, your health is what matters so say goodbye to the Freshman 15 and hello to some of the best years of your life!