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How to Stay in Shape This Semester: Tips for College Students

Tips for College Students

College can be a tough time, especially on the body! The stress of studying, the parties every night, and the late night eating habits will definitely get you in trouble. However, if you have a plan and good focus, you may just survive college without gaining that dreaded freshman 15 (now 30lbs!).  Here are some awesome tips, provided by PFC Nutritionist Jessica Janc, that are sure to help you get through:

1. Try to set yourself up with either a small fridge in your room or access to a kitchen in your dorm so that you aren’t relying on campus food for every meal.

2. Things to keep in your fridge:

  • String cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • 1% milk or Almond Milk
  • Nitrate free deli meat
  • Mustard
  • Olive oil based Mayonnaise Light

3. Things to keep in your room for breakfast or healthy snacks:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Kashi Go lean Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Quest protein bars
  • Whole grain crackers (if you aren’t tempted to snack on them too often)
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Tuna fish

4. Try to start your day with something healthy! If you start the day off with something light and nutritious, your chances of continuing on your healthy meal plan raises by 70%. If you start with something greasy and sugary, you will be miserable all day and will continue to crave that food. This will also make you sluggish and grumpy.

5. Begin your day with a workout. Maybe make your first class be a gym class so that you can start your day burning calories. If you tend to not be a morning person then grab all of your friends and go to the gym later in the day before eating dinner. Your best bet is in the morning though, so nothing social gets in the way of your workout.

6. Tips for eating in the cafeteria:

  • Stay away from the fried foods
  • Go for a salad every time. (Watch the cheese, nuts and dressings though. These can add calories and fat fast)
  • Have a half a sandwich on whole grain bread with a tomato or broth based soup or salad
  • Make sure to get plenty of protein to keep your energy up
  • If they don’t have whole grains, skip the carb and add more veggies and maybe some fruit. Better to skip it then eat it!
  • Try to only have dessert, like frozen yogurt, on the weekends or once a week. This sugar can add up fast
  • Try not to over eat. If you eat more than your body can handle at any one sitting, your body will store whatever it can’t use for muscle repair and energy as fat reserves. Stop eating when you are satisfied, not stuffed!

7. Try to stay on an eating schedule and don’t snack in between those times. This way you won’t nibble all day and add up those un-thought about calories.

8. Don’t eat while you are watching TV, studying, or on your computer. Be mindful! If you are doing something else, you are not thinking about what you are putting in your mouth or how satisfied you are. Every time you eat, you should be trying to eat at a table and eat it slowly.

9. Drinking alcohol is inevitable in college. Try to keep it on the weekends if possible. Remember that alcohol is pure sugar. Your body stops everything it’s doing to burn off the alcohol and if it can’t burn it off, then it will be stored as fat.

10. Tips for drinking:

  • Always cut out your carb with your meal while drinking. Having pizza and beer is going to put pounds on you no matter what because there’s too many carbohydrates for your body to assimilate at one sitting. Having protein and vegetables like a chicken salad or a piece of steak with asparagus and a salad will help you to not store as many calories and be able to turn those calories into fat.
  • Drink red wine or clean alcohol like vodka and tequila without adding sugar to it. Alcohol is sugar and then if you add more sugar to it, a) you will be sick the next day, and b) you will store even more sugar as fat! Drink a vodka soda or tequila with lots of lime.
  • Stay away from Beer if possible. This tends to be the drink of choice in college. Beer is pure yeast which tends to stick to your belly and organs. It is one of the hardest alcohols to burn off. It makes you feel bloated and horrible. Either skip it or sip on it all night and try not to drink a lot of it. You will feel better the next day!
  • One way to steer clear of the drinks, offer to be the designated driver for the night! This gives you an excuse to stay sober and keep the calories off.

11. What do you do after a night of binge drinking? (It’s bound to happen)

  • Try to make that a once a week thing if possible
  • Keep the drinks clean
  • Get back on track that night!
  • If you do end up going to Denny’s late at night, the best thing you can do after a big night of eating and drinking is to eat Egg whites! I know, weird, but egg whites are the cleanest protein you can put into your body and it will not only help you feel better the next day (less hung over), but also help to reduce the craving of fat and sugar.
  • Eat a lot of protein the next day. This might look like:

10am (slept in from late night) Egg white Omelet and tomatoes

1pm: Chicken Salad with balsamic dressing and sliced almonds

4pm: Protein Bar (quest) or turkey jerky, or turkey slices and string cheese

7pm: Grilled chicken or Lean steak with veggies

9pm: Greek yogurt with stevia and cinnamon

  • Make a huge effort to really work out hard the following day. You most likely took in a lot of calories the night before that you have to burn off. An example:

-1 hour spin class & 30 minutes full body circuit on weight machines

-1 hour cardio interval workout on the treadmill (walk/run) & a 1 hour weight training full body workout

-1 hour circuit with cardio and weight intervals, 1 hour yoga class

Here are a list of some of the best things you may want to have on hand:

1. Best on the go snacks to bring to class:

  • Turkey Jerkey
  • Quest protein bar
  • Almonds w/fruit
  • String cheese w/fruit
  • Single pack Almond Butter with apple or celery
  • String cheese/whole grain crackers (7 triscuits or 15 Brown Rice crackers)
  • Greek yogurt and Berries (bring cooler pack to keep it cold)
  • Protein shake (bring shaker and fill up with almond milk or water and ice and shake)
  • Almonds/Dried fruit from Whole Foods without added sugar or sulfates (prepackaged)

2. Best Protein Bars:

  • Quest (By far the best bar! No trans fats, high fiber, high protein, no sugar!)
  • Think Thin (Does have transfats but high protein, no sugar)
  • Pure Protein Bar (Does have transfats, but high protein, low sugar)
  • Atkins Bars (Does have transfats, but high protein, no sugar)
  • Met-RX Protein Bar (make sure to look for the lower sugar version- high protein)

3. Best Drinks (alcohol)

  • Vodka Soda with extra lime
  • Dirty martini
  • Skinny Margarita (tequila & lots of limes, can add stevia)
  • Red Wine
  • Sugar Free Red Bull vodka

4. Best Drinks (non-alcoholic)

  • Water! I know, boring. But it is the absolute best thing you should be drinking. Get all of your water in and use the rest of the list as something different for dinner.
  • Crystal Light Pure (Does not have aspartame in it)
  • Vitamin Water Zero (Does contain sucralose so drink in moderation)
  • Gatorade G2 (Does contain sucralose so drink in moderation)
  • Propel Zero (Does contain sucralose so drink in moderation)
  • Ice Tea sweetened with Stevia (Green tea would be a good metabolism booster!)

5. Best Late Night Study Snacks:

  • Popcorn is by far the best snack (air-popped of course) that you can eat 4 cups of and only take in 100 calories. More bang for your buck if you will)
  • Greek yogurt with berries (150 calories)
  • 30 Fish Pretzels with string cheese
  • Protein shake w/almond milk or water (150 calories)

*Try to keep those late night snacks at 150 calories and do it two hours before you go to bed!

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