Fending Off the Freshman 15

You may have been in the shape of your life during high school, thanks in no small part to athletic programs and your own youthful metabolism, but it is far too common for college students to suddenly see their abs morph from muscular to doughy. To prevent yourself from becoming one of the victims of the dreaded "freshman 15," devise a workout plan you can commit to and stick with it.

College campuses are rife with unhealthy food options. Dining halls typically serve up greasy burgers and cheese-slathered pizzas to hungry students because these options are cheap and easy to create. But if you indulge in one too many late night meals of what is essentially college-sanctioned fast food, you will find your favorite pair of jeans becoming a little too tight for comfort. To prevent this from happening, devise a workout plan that you will be excited to participate in. Some people love physical activity and can go to the gym day after day and never get sick of it. However, if you’re not one of those people and you loathe the idea of running on a treadmill after class each afternoon, consider joining an intramural sports team or participating in a group exercise activity. Working out with other people on a team or in a class will encourage you to stay engaged and will prove to be more like a social activity than a boring workout. This way, you will be more likely to stick with it rather than if you tried to stick with a workout plan you ultimately find dull.

It is also important to pace yourself. While you may be embarrassed that you can’t run a full mile without taking a break every five minutes, you should not let that deter you from future workout sessions. Push yourself as hard as you can, but also set realistic goals for yourself so that you can see your progress and stay encouraged to keep fit.

In the end, the most important thing that you have to do to keep off the freshman year pudge is to devise a workout plan and stick with it. It is dangerous to skip gym days because you will end up skipping far more times than you actually go, so when you find yourself reluctant to get off your duff for a run, push yourself to get up anyway. In the end, you will feel much better about yourself and your body.

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