Many people have heard a college student utter the phrase, “It's hard to stay healthy in college.” Healthy food can get expensive and working out takes time away from studying. Sometimes all students need is that extra push to motivate them to take time out of their day and budget in order to look and feel great.

Savannah Tully, a junior at the University of Georgia (and Spoon UGA photographer), found that extra push she needed when she joined the Georgia Rowing team. I sat down with her to discuss the substantial differences in her health habits before and after joining the rowing team and how she turned her routine around.

pizza, tea, coffee, beer
Savannah Tully

What were your eating habits before rowing as well as work out habits?

I ate pretty unhealthy. The dinning hall food was constantly making me sick, so I ended up eating a lot of fast food and microwave meals. I also didn’t work out at all. I had access to a gym, but it was far away and my heavy class schedule made it difficult to find the time to go.

Did these take a drastic turn once you joined the team? If so, how?

Yes, in the time leading up to tryouts and conditioning I started to learn erg (rowing machine) technique and workout patterns to increase my athleticism and knowledge of the sport. Now that I am an official member of the team, I work out at least twice a week for one to three hours. Now that I am working out regularly, I have to eat a more nutritious diet so I may prevent exhaustion and soreness from rowing.

What have you noticed about your health since joining the rowing team?

I have noticed that I have a lot more energy and enthusiasm and interestingly I do not get sick very often. I’ve also seen regularization in my sleep schedule, because most practices are early in the morning, making it important for me to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

wine, beer
Savannah Tully

Has your smaller size been an obstacle with the team or an asset?

It has been both a blessing and a curse. I am unable to keep up physically with most of the members of my team. However, because of my size I am a coxswain which is the individual that steers the boat, directs practices, and motivates the rowers during races.

What physical challenges have you faced since joining the team?

When I first started the team I was extremely out of shape, and I could hardly keep up at all our conditioning sessions. Sticking with all of the workouts, I have seen improvements in my strength and muscle definition, however, I still pale in comparison to my other team members because of my size. It can be hard to motivate myself since my progress is not as defined as their own.

Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy diet in order to stay in shape for rowing?

Not particularly. My diet consists of a lot of vegetables, proteins, and fats. If I have one problem, it would be fitting in enough meals. As someone who is in training, carbs are important for maintaining energy, and I do not always have time with my workouts and school to eat enough.

Do you see yourself making any other changes in your health routines in the future?

I am continually trying to improve my workout schedule. I am also working on eating regularly even though it is difficult to with the way my class schedule is arranged. I also plan on learning to cook for myself so that I may prepare meals for myself that meat all of my dietary needs as a coxswain on the rowing team.

beer, water
Savannah Tully

Savannah Tully is continuing to study and work hard at maintaining her health to be on the University of Georgia's Rowing team.

Her story proves that no matter how much you tell yourself you don't have time to work out or eat a nutritious diet, all you need is the right motivation to turn your health around.