Freshman hear many rumors–true and untrue–about college life. One of the more infamous rumors is about the dreaded “Freshman 15”: gaining weight during the first year of college. While 15 pounds may be an arbitrary number, many freshman find themselves a few pounds heavier by the end of their spring semester. Fortunately, there are some decisions freshman can make that can easily prevent weight gain, and Mercer offers great workout programs for students of all ages to take advantage of.
With newfound freedoms and independence, many freshman find themselves drinking a lot during their first year. A study at Ohio State University found that the main cause of weight gain during college is heavy alcohol consumption. For example, 12 ounces of beer has an average of over 100 calories–even light beer. A shot of vodka also can have over 100 calories.
It may be fun to party hard now, but it won’t seem so fun a few pounds later. If you are serious about staying in shape during college, heavy drinking shouldn’t be part of your routine.
Many students believe the main cause of weight gain is the cafeteria food. The cafeteria (Caf) offers buffet-style dining every day, with carbonated beverages and soft serve ice cream readily available. Making a conscious decision every day to eat healthily will help keep extra weight at bay.
It is common sense, but it bears repeating: Try to avoid unhealthy food in the Caf.
However, the Caf is much less of a danger compared to Chik-fil-A’s greasy and calorie-filled fried chicken. Chik-fil-A milkshakes from the University Center every week probably contribute more to weight gain than Caf food. Sweets and desserts aren’t bad every once in a while, but buying peach milkshakes every week is a bit excessive (even if they are delicious).
Another culprit of the freshman 15 is what some college students call “fourthmeal.” That is, late-night trips to Waffle House, Steak n’ Shake or other 24-hour eateries. You may love a good waffle at midnight, but eating late, right before sleeping, contributes to weight gain.
If you are staying up late to study, try drinking water if you feel hungry. When our bodies are hungry, it sometimes means we aren’t drinking enough water. Or, keep healthy snacks on hand to curb your hunger.
Being healthy in college isn’t just about what you do or don’t eat. Regular exercise helps burn calories and fat. Mercer’s University Center (UC) has a weight room available to all students who are dedicated to staying fit.
If you have trouble keeping a regular schedule, Mercer has a variety of group workouts available. There are cardio classes, body sculpting classes, kick boxing classes, Zumba classes and more. To see the fitness schedule, visit the UC’s website.
Mercer also has many opportunities to play intramural sports such as volleyball, flag football, soccer and softball. Getting involved in an intramural team is another way to stay fit and avoid the freshman 15. Information about intramurals can be found on Mercer’s website.
Student organizations that involve athletics, such as Mercer Cycling, Mercer Swim Cluwb and Mercer Wrestling, among others, offer more ways to burn calories. Sports aren’t the only way to stay in shape, though. The Ballroom Dancing Club is a great way to have fun while working out. Check out Mercer’s student affairs website for a list of student organizations.
Make a schedule, and stick to it. If you are consistent with your exercise and eating habits, you will never have to worry about the freshman 15.