I’ve seen a concerning trend with friends in real life and in the blogging world. It seems that everyone is on a diet but isn’t dieting ‘right.’ I understand that figuring out how to get fit is hard because most of us are stressed, we are busy, and ordering a pizza is so much easier that cooking. But make the commitment to yourself and to your health to not take shortcuts when it comes to getting healthy!
A lot of people are sticking to the resolutions they made to get fit in the New Year which is awesome, but so many people are going about it all wrong in ways that aren’t healthy or sustainable. While I’m not a nutrition or fitness professional I have been an athlete my entire life and I know a thing or two about healthy living.
How not to get fit
- Calorie restriction – nothing infuriates me more than seeing magazines or other blogs advertising ‘low calorie meals’ or ‘how to eat less calories.’ Calories are not the problem when it comes to maintaining weight, it’s eating good calories and making sure to get your body moving to burn a few calories, too. (More on that later!)
- Calorie restriction is scary! We are talking hair loss, infertility, moodiness, insomnia, and other unideal symptoms. Even if starving yourself were the best answer to weight loss – it would hardly be worth it!
- Fad diets – I probably don’t need to go far into this because by now most everyone knows the dangers of fad dieting. If you’re really focused on changing your health for the better and are hoping to see long term results, then you need to commit to a sustainable diet – not something that you have to suffer through every day.
- Hiding from carbs – like calories, carbs take a lot of heat in the media and in magazines directed at women. Carbs don’t make you fat, they give you energy and make you happy! There are good carbs and bad carbs, but all in all carbs aren’t the enemy.
With that said…
We can start talking about the things that you should do if you’re trying to get fit. I am going to go over diet, exercise, and healthy habits. This is going to be a long post, full of valuable information so make sure that you bookmark it and pin it for reference!
Eating a healthy diet
So you might know that I’m a veg, but even if you’re not you can still apply these tips into your everyday life and just add meat and other animal products where you see fit if that’s what floats your boat!
- Eat (a good!) breakfast. Don’t roll your eyes, I know everyone has heard this advice a thousand times but I’m here to tell you that not all breakfasts are created equally. You can grab a poptart on the way out the door and call it a day, but in that case you might be better off not having breakfast at all. A good breakfast will fill you up with good carbs to give you energy throughout the day! Here are some ideas:
- Avocado Toast (with a twist!): Ok, so this brings my two favorite things, avocado and refried beans, together. Top it with so sriracha and I’d be in heaven!
- Overnight Oats: Overnight oats are a great option for the girl on the go! They are so easy to throw together before bed and walk out the door with them in the morning! If you avoid dairy products you can always substitute milk with almond milk and yogurt with coconut cream! Delicious!
- A fruit smoothie: Almost morning I blend up a bunch of fruits and vegetables and water into delicious smoothie concoctions. Smoothies are great for your digestion (TMI?) and you’re starting your day with a healthy dose of fruit sugar. I prefer smoothies to juices because smoothies are fiber rich!
- Eat carbs. There is a such thing as bad carbs, but that doesn’t make all carbs bad. Carbs are where you get your energy, they fill you up, and boost your mood. I fill up with mostly rice, beans, oats, and potatoes; all of which are good carbs.
- Eat veggies. You wouldn’t believe how many of my friends just don’t eat vegetables. It blows my mind – I feel terrible without my daily dose of veggies, and I have a feeling that my friends just don’t realize how much better they could feel if they weren’t eating a healthy diet. If you aren’t eating veggies every day you are missing out.
- Drink water. Another one that plenty of people have heard, but plenty of people ignore. I drink nearly two gallons of water a day if I work out, and a bit closer to a gallon and a half when I don’t. Water is going to keep things moving in your digestive system, fight bloat, and help your body know when it’s full so you don’t overeat. Warning: When you start drinking more water you’re going to have to go to the bathroom a lot and it won’t feel sustainable. Your body adjusts after a few days and that should go away.
- Consider cutting down on meat and dairy. Ok, hear me out on this one – I used to be the biggest carnivore. A week without steak at my house was basically unheard of. I started having trouble with endometriosis and read eating less animal products would help alleviate my symptoms. I cut back and my health improved in so many ways.
- Even if you don’t want to be a vegetarian or vegan, Meatless Mondays are a great way to start shifting towards a healthier diet!
- Watch your sugar. And I’m talking processed and refined sugar, mind you, fruit sugar is the bomb! You don’t realize how much sugar the average person eats. I did a challenge to eat only 10g or less added sugar each day and it was hard. I still aim to eat as little as possible (eating a lot of whole foods helps!) because no one really needs added sugar in their diets.
How to get fit: Physical fitness
You guys, I’m the weirdo who thinks that exercise is fun. Maybe I’m just channeling my inner Elle Woods (we’re both gemini vegetarians, afterall) but I totally ride on endorphins to get me through rough mornings.
But I do understand that there are a lot of people who hate exercising. But no worries, not all hope is lost. Here are a few tips that will help you get fit in college designed for those who can’t stand going to the gym:
- Walk to class, work, or the grocery store. Depending on where you live this might not be an option, but if it is take full advantage! My college apartment was about a ten minute walk from the quad and I loved using that time to put my earbuds in and start thinking about the day ahead. In New York I lived fifteen blocks from work and the walk home each evening was often the most relaxing part of my day.
- Sit on the floor. If you’re watching TV or just hanging around opt to sit on the floor instead of sprawling out on the couch. Sitting upright (with decent posture!) engages your abs and helps burn more calories! It’s not going to get your ripped, but it’s an easy swap.
- Stretch before bed. Ok, stretching isn’t going to give you six pack abs or buns of steel either, but just a bit of extra motion in your day can improve cardio health and help you relax before bed.
- Park further away. If you’re going shopping opt for one of the further parking spots and walk. Again, this isn’t a big commitment, it only adds a few extra minutes of motion into your day, but these little things can add up!
- Wear ankle weights. Ok, I’m making fun of myself for you so you don’t even have to. I know this sounds ridiculous, but Chris got me ankle weights for Christmas and I’m kind of obsessed. Wearing them around the house doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, but I’m sore the next day so they must be doing something!
Those options seem to be a bit lacking to you? If you’re more serious about getting fit in college (but not quite ready to commit to working out in public then I’ve got some options for you, too!
- Watch workout videos. This is my chosen method of working out. I usually opt for a blogilates video or ballet beautiful (when I really want to torture myself) and I’ve seen some great results! In just two or three videos I can guarantee that I’ll be sore the next morning!
- Buy some weights. My brother got me a pair of five pound weights for my birthday a few years back and I still use them all the time. I’ve really been working on strengthening my back and shoulders, and most of the workouts I find require weights!
- Squat it out. Squats are great because you can do them anywhere with no equipment, and they’re effective.
Ready to really commit to getting fit? These options require a bit more dedication, but you are going to see greater results and you’ll be stronger for it!
- Pick up running. Whether you are doing sprints or long distance, running is a great way to slim down, tone up, and get fit in college. It’s great cardio and I think being a good runner is one of the most impressive physical feats.
- Go to the gym. So many people get way intimidated by the gym – but no worries! The gym actually isn’t so bad, and if you don’t go at peak times there won’t even be a crowd! If you’re looking to get fit in college, chances are there is already a gym membership included in your tuition, so don’t let that go to waste!
- Take a group fitness class. You guys, group fitness classes are so fun. Whether it’s zumba, or yoga, or belly dance, or anything in between you are sure to get a great workout. I recently went to my first hot yoga class, and it was amazing. Whereas all of the yoga classes I’d done before had been low intensity and relaxing hot yoga is a workout. I highly recommend!
Other healthy habits.
Being fit and healthy goes much further than what you eat and how much you workout. I so wish that a healthy diet and 20 minutes of cardio was all it took for good health, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
There are so many healthy habits that can make a big difference in your life, adopting just a few can make you healthier!
- Sleep. If you aren’t sleeping everything your body is supposed to do is going to be sluggish and inefficient. I remember hearing so many of my peers in college bragging about how tired they are or how little sleep they got the night before like it was a competition – that’s a bad thing! Take care of your body by giving it the rest it needs. Taking care of yourself is something to brag about 😉
- Get organized. Being disorganized can lead to stress and stress is something that we want to stay away from. Whether you need an intense planner system or just a todo list in the morning, get your days in order to stay stress free!
- Carry a water bottle. This is piggybacking off of my ‘stay hydrated’ tip. But the easiest way to guarantee that you’re going to keep hydrated is if you ensure that you have a water bottle on hand. My water bottle comes with me wherever I go – people notice when I don’t have it!
- Wear sunscreen. I’ve lectured here before about sunscreen dozens of times (it’s so important, folks!) so I won’t get on my high horse this time. But by simply wearing a moisturizer with SPF in it you’re saving yourself from early aging at the very least, but potentially from a nasty fight with skin cancer, too.
If you really want to get fit it’s important that you take time every day to do something for yourself. Whether you’re cooking a nutritious meal or going on a walk every little thing counts. Eventually the steps that you’re taking to get fit in college are going to work themselves into your life and become second nature – so push along for now and you’ll see great results in the future!