Group Ex with my man Joe at Reily I
hope everyone's semester is off to a great start! Today, we're talking about one of my favorite topics: health and fitness. As you might know, I teach spin
down the street from Tulane at Romney RIDE
and love to stay active. As such, I've created these 15 tips for staying in shape while at Tulane. While the freshman 15 is a bit of fact mixed with a bit of lore, your college experience will be quite different from high school. You're likely not playing the sport you played every day in high school, you're not eating three parent-prepared meals, you're making your own schedule... you get it. It's a recipe for some big changes in your diet, activity level and life.
Never fear, after 15 years at Tulane and a few years of teaching Romney RIDE under my belt, here are my 15 tips for staying in shape in college.
Ready? Let's go!
1) Get creative in what you eat at Bruff
. In many spots on campus, the healthier stuff may be clearly laid out for you. You’ll easily find it labeled at Bruff. Grab your Greek yogurt and mix it with granola and honey. Head to the salad and fruit bars and combine to make a citrus salad. Check out this blog
- lots of great ideas in here for how to make Bruff both delicious and healthy.
2) Take the stairs!
You'll want to make sure you are staying active as much as you can throughout the day. Do you live on the 5th floor of Sharp Hall? Get in the habit of taking those stairs each day. Need to get to class in Gibson Hall but live down Broadway? Don’t get in that car. Take the extra five minutes and walk there. Every little bit helps, trust me!
3) Eat smaller meals throughout the day
. The unlimited meal plan at Bruff is both a blessing and a curse. You'll have access to food 24/7 at Tulane. Instead of gorging on big meals whenever you feel like it, eat a healthy, small meal a few times a day. This whole "eat five or so smaller meals a day" craze caught on a while back, and there is some truth to it for a number of reasons.
Start a team! 4) Eat a ton of fresh fruits, veggies and salads
. Anything that comes in a crinkly bag or plastic, eat that in moderation, if at all. The best rule of thumb is that the healthiest foods you can eat tend to only have one ingredient. Nearby, check out Poke Loa
or St. James Cheese Compan
y for some healthy off-campus options.
5) Drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep
. I sound like your dad, but hey- these are two rules to live by. Most of us don’t drink enough water. Grab a Tulane Nalgene (I can even hook you up with one if you come by my office) and keep it on you all day. You should be consistently drinking water throughout the day. It helps to cleanse you, suppresses your cravings for soda, and keeps your body in the healthy state it needs to be in. And let me just keep it short here with sleep: it will be your best friend in college. I'm not talking about naps; I am talking about legit going to bed at a normal hour and getting a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night as frequently as you can. This will be one of your biggest challenges in college.
6) Skip the soda
. Even the diet kind. Drink La Croix or soda water. Cutting soda out of your life will change everything, trust me on this one. Bruff has fizzy water on tap and you can add lemon or lime. Or head to Rouses and buy a case of La Croix. Soda is just bad. Trust me
7) Get on a routine
. Just like a class schedule, get a workout schedule. Map out your runs, gym sessions, Pilates, yoga, etc. Just like you schedule your academic classes, mark down your health and fitness classes in your calendar, too. Reily's group exercise schedule can be seen here
. Romney’s schedule is available here
. I highly recommend you stop by Tuesdays at 5:30 for the RIDE of your life. Seriously, though, pencil in your workouts and commit to them. Make life even easier on yourself by downloading a few apps for your phone – MyFitnessPal, Nike Training Club and Map my Run are my favorites.
8) Nap time? Gym time
. When you are tired at 4 pm it is so tempting to hit the sack for a few hours. You'll wake up feeling groggy and will have trouble sleeping that night. Instead, when you're tired, as hard as it is, strap on those running shoes and run Audubon Park. Grab your roommate for a game of racquetball at the gym. Throw a Frisbee in the quad, or use the sand volleyball court out front of Sharp. Aerobic activity will quickly squash your fatigue, make you feel energized and will allow you to sleep at a normal time later. No one ever said, “man, I really regret that workout."
9) Avoid the drunken munchies at all costs
. Step away from the Boot Pizza! I had many a slice in my day and never felt good about it the next morning. If you can wait, get back to your room and have some healthier snacks- almonds, fruit, worst case even pretzels. Anything but that fat and grease. I know, I know, it's Boot Pizza and it's incredible. Just don't overdo it.
10) Be aware of what food you keep in your room.
NOLA's got some amazing places to eat at and we want you to experience it. It’s ok to have cheat meals when you are taken out to Commander's or your friends get together for a nice dinner at Jacques Imo’s. But when you’re home, don’t waste your cheat food on gross stuff in your dorm. Instead, replace it with filling but tasty foods. SmartFood popcorn, bananas, baby carrots, readymade smoothies, etc. Mom can help: see below.
Skatin' round Audubon11) Ask mom for a healthy care package
. Moms want you to stay healthy. Have her hit the bulk food aisle at Trader Joe's to send some dried mango, some healthy nuts, some clementines. Stay away from the sugary candy in those care packages.
12) Take advantage of NOLA’s outside space
. Run the neutral ground! Jog the park! Head to the Fly and play Frisbee, football, slack, anything. Just get out and do it. I have previously written about great spots to get this done. Check them out!
13) Start a team
. Intramural sports are big at Tulane, and there are plenty of people who want to play them. All they need is a leader to get the team organized. Flag football, dodgeball, volleyball- we've got them all
. Take that leadership role and gather some friends from your floor to make a team happen.
I admit, I look crazy in this photo.
But still... come take my class!14) Check your booze intake
. In my heavily researched, double-blind tested, sine/cosine formula, beer makes up for 65.78% of the weight you'll gain in college. Beer and all kinds of sugary daiquiris, fruity drinks and sweetened cocktails. I am not going to tell you what to drink or how much, I am just telling you to recognize the effect it has on you. If you abide by all 14 of the rules except for this one, you’ll negate everything else. Booze has calories, fats, sugars and all kinds of stuff that will stay in yer gut. Everything in moderation.
15) Love your body and don't obsess over it
. Your weight may go up in college... It may go down. But love it no matter what. College is a place where you can improve your body but also your mind, heart and soul. So keep you passion about having the best body you feel you can, but don’t get caught up in that. There's more to having a perfect body than the actual figure itself.
Last but not least, get your butt to the gym! And frequently. Campus Recreation and Romney both have a number of great classes. Grab a group of friends and head over to a yoga class, use your roommate as a weightlifting partner, or join up with me at RIDE. Read all about Reily in my Hidden Tulane
post from a few weeks ago.
So there you have it, freshmen (or any college student in general). I hope this list helps. The last tip is the most important one. Enjoy Tulane and welcome back, or welcome for the first time!
How could you not want to get outside when you're on such a pretty campus?