Going back to college

  • sfboy987

    Posts: 212

    Sep 07, 2008 8:21 AM GMT
    So I'm going to back to college in 2 weeks, and I'm wondering if anybody can give me some tips on a few things. Last year I wasn't too big on fitness, but this year I'm definetely going to balance academics with fitness and nutrition. Of course academics is my number one priority cause I really need to keep up my grades for numerous reasons. Anyway, how did you guys deal with staying fit under all the pressures and obstacles of college? I'm most likely gonna have to do tons of late night studying and maybe even all nighters (I'm an engineering major). How do I deal with the sleep deprivation?

    Also, my main fitness goal as of now is to lose body fat, and that might be a bit of a challenge considering my school's cafeteria food. It's not completely bad, the place has a salad bar, various choices of fruits and other healthy stuff. However, some of the main meals aren't that healthy. I've been mixing organic foods and other healthy foods from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Therefore, I'm not sure how I will consistently eat nutritional foods at my school. Also, I'm obviously gonna be under tons of stress with academics. Anybody in college or a graduate have any tips? Thanks in advance guys!
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    Sep 07, 2008 11:17 AM GMT
    Okay first off, schedule your workouts like you would any other class. Without keeping yourself healthy and fit, there is no way you will get the most out of your college experience academically, socially or otherwise. Only when it is a top priority will you get the results you seek.

    Next, get used to the fact that it should be hard. Champions in every sport will say the same thing. Change happens when we operate beyond our comfort zone. Too many people are unsuccessful in getting fit because it requires pain, fear, work, etc, blood, sweat and tears so to speak. You are going to have to be willing to work yourself at intense enough levels to be damn uncomfortable but that is where top results happen. Lance Armstrong said something particularly profound" (Paraphrasing here) Pain might last for a minute, an hour, a day, a week or a year, but eventually it subsides and is replaced by something else, but the pain of quiting well that lasts forever. Jeff Thompson a well known UK martial artist said it another way. "Get angry with yourself when that negative voice tells you that the road is hard, get mad and get on with the journey. Remind yourself that it has to be hard, that is has to be a difficult road. If it isn't you won't grow. Discomfort is a sign of growth. Knowing that this is the truth can bring great solace because it allows you to be comfortable in your discomfort."

    Once you have this concept down that its going to be hard then you can drop the excuses and start doing the real work. You can forget about the excuses for not eating well because the cafeteria food, and you can forget the excuses about not working out because you're focusing on academics, etc. The workout takes one hour a day and if planned because it's scbeduled there is never a reason to miss it. The eating question is also a matter of pre-planning. If you don't pre-plan your diet you will find yourself eating whatever. Studying hard and not wanting to waste the time going to chow so you just grab something from the vending machine "to save time for studying". In almost every cafeteria in the country now there are healthy options. For those days when maybe going is inconvenient or repetetive it only takes a little planning to make sure you have protein bars, cans of tuna, fruit, yogurt, etc on hand.

    Plan on the work being work, and schedule it and you will do fine. Fail to do these things and you might as well go buy some bigger clothes.

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    Sep 07, 2008 12:24 PM GMT
    Does your school offer PE classes? If it does, pick something you want to do and sign up for a term. That will ensure that you get a term's-worth of consistency, even if it only meets two times a week. It will also introduce you to other students with similar goals, and that could help you find a workout partner.

    All-nighters are typically a waste of time. No one who stays up all night is in any condition to take an exam or give a presentation the next day. Most papers written the night before are not worth reading. Some colleges offer workshops on time management for students; if yours doesn't, you can probably talk to an advisor in the Student Life/Dean of Students office. Most college students struggle to manage their time, so there's got to be someone on campus who can help you.

  • IdkMyBffJill

    Posts: 148

    Sep 07, 2008 1:07 PM GMT
    Plan the days/times that you'll hit the gym in advance, and make sure you go regardless of how "crazy" that day gets, or what quiz/exam you have coming up. Maybe getting up early and knocking it out before you get hectic/stressed.

    Regarding school food -- that can be a problem. I would either, bring some fruit etc with you, or try to leave campus depending on the set up of your campus & how long of a break you have for lunch on any particular day. On short-lunch-break days, salad bar should work... until you get sick of it.
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    Sep 07, 2008 2:14 PM GMT
    I went away to college last year for the first time, and I came home 50 pounds lighter. Pretty much what everyone here has said; stay consistent and definitely plan ahead.

    For your eating, if you can, try to get foods that you can make pretty quick and you can take with you. For me, I'd usually eat the microwaveable oatmeal from Quaker. Just gotta add some water and after two minutes, you have a good tasting meal that's healthy and fills you up. Other stuff I'd eat for breakfast was a bowl of cerial (Fibre1) with skim milk. I'd add bananas/strawberries or blueberries as well if I had them. Egg whites with some onion/peppers/fat-free ham is good too, you can mix them up and put them in a microwaveable bowl to cook them.

    As for the cafeteria eating, you will likely get bored with what you're eating there, but definitely try to stick with the salads and wraps. My college made wraps, so I'd just load up on vegetables and have chicken with it. Try to stay away from condiments, the calories can really start adding up. Pre-cooked chicken, small potatoes and microwaveable vegetables are great too for lunch and supper. Just gotta have a microwaveable bowl with a lid, poke holes in the potatoes and add a little water to the bottom of the bowl and flip them halfway through cooking. For snacks I made sure I had apples, bananas, granola bars or a bag of almonds with me. Granola bars with around 160 calories, 3-4 g's of fat with fibre are great. Nature valley has some called "Healthy Heart" that are good. For quick meals, I really like some of the stuff Lean Cuisine has. I think they have a few of their meals that are around 140 calories with nearly 22g of protein which is really good, and they're pretty cheap as well.

    Another thing that made a HUGE difference was drinking lots of water. I would take a big bottle of water with me wherever I went. You can refill it using the water fountains. Saves you money, helps out the environment and you're cleaning out your system. Win win win!

    As for working out, definitely make a schedule for when you go and stick to it. Even if you don't feel like going, go. You will be glad you did. Unless you're sick (then stay home and rest), but if you're just feeling lazy make yourself go. Make sure you have a good combination of weight training and cardio. Both are very important. And about the stress, I'm pretty sure if I didn't work out and exercise, I would have been a lot more stressed out! Working out and doing cardio are in my opinion the best ways to relieve stress.

    I pulled a couple allnighters and as MikeonMain suggests, it was because I did not manage my time well. You should be getting around 8 hours of sleep a night, because your body needs time to rest and repair itself from your workouts. If you don't get enough sleep while you're doing school work and working out, you're going to be very tired. Just try to manage your time well. If you do have to pull some allnighters, don't go to the gym completely fatigued. You could end up hurting yourself, which would set you further back from your goals.

    As for college life, just because you're trying to be fit and healthy doesn't mean you can't go out and have fun. Just make sure you limit your booze. I only drank on my b-day and a few other b-days/special events. Try to make sure you eat before you go out too, otherwise you might get hungry later and find that there's nothing healthy to eat! Just be consistent and make healthy choices. I hope this helps! Good luck!
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    Sep 07, 2008 2:29 PM GMT
    (Without reading the other posts..)

    Workouts should be considered a top priority, just like studying sleeping eating etc. You should try to get at least so many hours a day/week in the gym, even if it means less free time.

    If you're living at home / at school, and have access to a kitchen, drop the cafeteria food and start buying your OWN groceries. Learn to make yourself some good nutritious food and stick to that , ignoring cafe food as much as possible. (I live at home but have two vegetarian friends that live on campus, and they are both doing just fine ignoring caf food.) Drop pop/cola/soda whatever you call it, and drink more water and juices. Don't overdo the protein drinks unless you find time to burn all the calories and USE the proteins!!

    you're "junk food" should be no worse than subs from subway (though don't get me started on subway.. it's definitely junk food) and stay away from all the different dressings - stick with a healthier dressing (i dont know which ones are healthy.. i just use salt/pepper, vinegar/oil)

    Also you should stay away from the salad/fruit diet!! This diet is total rubbish, it just makes you hungrier and you don't get enough nutrients to keep you going through the day. The best diet is a mixed one getting all kinds of "healthy" foods as you go. Stay away from chips and pop obviously, but ***meats and (good) breads are essential to working out***!

    Also remember, Working out and Eating right are just the first steps. It takes longer for different people to start seeing results than some. I have such a hard time gaining weight, i've tried eating 3000 calories a day and working out heavy and i didn't gain a pound. It's all about doing it healthy, doing it right, and just sticking to it. It's a Life Goal. Not an immediate change!! Stick to it and don't drop the routine, no matter what!!


    ***actually i'm being hypocritical, i'm vegetarian/pescatarian and don't eat meat at all and have no problems keeping my energy levels and protein up. Hell, i get more protein as a vegetarian than i did as a carnivore...
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    Sep 07, 2008 7:29 PM GMT
    Cobalt saidyou're "junk food" should be no worse than subs from subway (though don't get me started on subway.. it's definitely junk food)

    I'm curious... why is subway junk food?
  • sfboy987

    Posts: 212

    Sep 07, 2008 9:01 PM GMT
    Wow I didn't expect so much feedback thanks guys! Yea I know time management is crucial in my situation. Frankly, I know this is an excuse but I've always really sucked at managing my time. Therefore, I think I'll seek help from my school if they offer it. I know my school's gym offers several fitness courses. I'll look into it, but I'd rather do cardio and lift weigths on my own. I shouldn't have implied my school's cafeteria is really bad. I heard my school is one of the "fittest colleges" in the country, so if other students can do it so can I. I don't really have a kitchen available to me, so I'll mostly stick to the healthy food at the cafeteria. Thanks for the help guys!
  • sfboy987

    Posts: 212

    Sep 07, 2008 9:01 PM GMT
    Oh and I'm also curious on why you think subway is "junk food?" I heard it was actually healthy compared to other places.
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    Sep 09, 2008 5:00 PM GMT
    Coming from a software engineering major, I know what you mean about not having much time to do anything beyond math, graphs, and tons of reading / studying. It's as if every spare moment you may have should be spent studying more efficient ways of doing, well, anything. What I like to do is use my workout time more efficiently by considering my homework during my workout times. If I'm doing cardio where I am only running on an elliptical or pedaling on a stationary bike, I bring reading materials with me. There's really nothing you have to think about while you do cardio besides getting your heart rate up. And honestly, does that require much thought? Use this time to do your reading / memorization assignments. If you have any type of mathematical problems to work on, you can always think about solutions to these problems while you lift. Once again, while lifting requires a bit of focus to make sure you're keeping good form, you can always keep your mind on other, more important things, such as your studies.
    Ever hear that a good workout will enhance your learning? It's true. If you have your classes back-to-back, try your workout before your first class. You'll be surprised at how willing and able you are to make it through the lecture, concentrating on what your professor has to say. Give it a shot!
    The hard part is still getting a full night's rest. But then again, as an engineering student, you're not allowed to rest yet, lol. You've got about 4 to 8 years before you're allowed to get a full night's sleep. ;-)
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    Sep 10, 2008 8:57 PM GMT
    I myself am quite busy with schoolwork as well.
    I have to read a lot from the textbooks and do a lot of homework.
    What I do is train in the mornings before my courses start.
    I also trained at my university's sportscentre for a while after my courses, but that didn't work out for me, because it's quite small and lacks more professional equipment, like a real gym has.

    I now go to a gym closeby my home. It's from walking distance, so that's a lot better qua time. I work out in the evenings if I've got class and in the mornings if I'm free for that day (or have class later in the day).

    What YngHungSFSD said is great advice. Plan your workouts just like you would schedule your classes and homeworktime.

    You don't necessarily have to eat at you college cafeteria. You can make your own meals at home and eat them during the day. That is more fullfilling and better for your body. Live your own life.

    Good luck!