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Returning to college, or going there for the first time, is an exciting experience. Surrounded by friends, sports, and campus diners full of tasty treats – no wonder everyone loves college.

Yet, as the fun piles on, so too can the pounds. The freshman fifteen can quickly become the senior thirty-five if fitness and nutrition aren’t a priority. Although, there is a lot you can do to make sure you are improving your body at the same rate you are improving your brain.

Check out these five training and nutrition tips that will be sure to make this year a great year at school!

  1. Walk or Bike Everywhere5-fit-tips-article-4-1

It can be incredibly tempting to jump on campus bus services, or snag a ride to the parking lots nearest your building with a friend. However, one of the secrets to a leaner, fit body is to keep it moving.  You’ll already be sitting down enough between your classes, classwork, and down-time with friends, so look for any excuse to get moving and stay that way.

College campuses range from about a thousand acres to well above ten-thousand, so make the most of your school. While it may seem like a small dent, keeping your heart rate elevated above rest, but below working threshold, is one of the secrets to burning stubborn body fat and maintaining a healthy weight.

  1. 5-fit-tips-article-1Play Social Sports

Whether it is an intramural team in a sport you love, or a random game of pickup on your quad – sports are an outstanding way to get outside, meet new people, and stay in shape.

Instead of being focused on how many calories you are burning you’ll find yourself lost in the details of the sport you are playing. Setting the volleyball, scoring a goal, or nailing the three point shot take priority over thinking about exercise even though it is exactly what you are doing – exercising.

If competitive sports aren’t your thing you can look for a running group, cycle enthusiasts, or individuals who love to kayak, hike, or climb just like you. You’ll burn calories, have fun, make friends, and form valuable memories all at once.

  1. Round Out Your Schedule with an Activity Credit

Most colleges offer credited classes that center on a particular sport or exercise modality. Some majors,5-fit-tips-article-5-1 such as kinesiology or physical education, require students to take a given number of them. Every other major, however, has a given number of electives available to the student to use at free will. So, if you’ve filled out your schedule for the semester and are looking to take an extra credit that isn’t academically challenging – look to these classes.

If you are someone who struggles to maintain a regular exercise schedule, then this could be an excellent motivation to get your work out in. Classes like weight-lifting, running, cycling, and more offer a legitimate workout that will burn calories, build muscles, and reshape your body – all while teaching you a lot about exercise and your body.

Look to take a class that makes you learn something new or pushes you to do something that you struggle to do on your own.

  1. Keep Water on You at all Times

5-fit-tips-article-2-1Water is the basis of life. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that you are getting enough of it.

Keep a bottle of water in your book bag during the day. Try to drink half as many bottles as you have classes that day. For example, if you have four classes – drink at least two full bottles of water.

Have a glass of water in the morning after you wake up and right before you go to bed at night. Drink water with every meal, and don’t stop after the clock strikes midnight. Your body will use this water to digest food, keep your body in balance, and fuel your life.

It may seem like you are drinking a lot of water. Perfect! A hydrated body is one that burns more calories at rest, and performs better in motion. Stay hydrated and stay fit.

  1. Fill Your Dorm/Apartment with Nutrition

It can be tempting to fill your place with all the chips, cookies, candy, and frozen meals that satisfy your cravings. Free to purchase anything you want – you may not even keep food on hand, opting instead to just purchase things as you want them.

Avoid this dietary pitfall by keeping healthier snacks such as mixed nuts, fresh fruit, and protein bars on hand. It is much better to put down a bag of almonds and pistachios while you study for your midterms than it is to unknowingly polish off a bag of salty chips.

Even when eating out, on campus or off, look to make a decision about what you are eating before you arrive. Don’t show up hungry and expect to have the strength to walk past the pizza line. A hungry mind will chase anything! Think about where the grilled meats and vegetables are and make a straight line in that direction.

College is a time to create memories, friendships, and habits that continue into your adult years. Make sure you aren’t building your brain at the expense of your body. Build them together!

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