Back To College

It’s been great seeing all of our college kids back in the gym these past few weeks! I thought I would send you back to school with some very basic fitness, nutrition, and health advice so that, when we see you in the spring, you are even more fit than you are now. These are very simple rules to live by when on campus and enrolled as a full-time student. I know that organic, whole food isn’t always available. I also know that time is limited and stress can be high. Here are my simple tips on how to get fitter while away at school:

  • WORKOUT: It only takes 30 minutes. You don’t have to be in the gym for two hours. And doing a ton of long cardio everyday won’t be a big help. The best bang for your buck is to do some short, high-intensity interval training. To keep things simple, you could do anything that looks like this:
    • Warm up 5-10 minutes. Just move on a bike, treadmill, or whatever you have available.
    • For the work, do intervals of something: run, row, swing a kettlebell, or a mix of anything. You could even do this with body weight movements like push ups, squats, sit ups, or lunge steps. Work for at least 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes. The work has to be an all-out effort for you. It should put you out of breath with hands on knees.
    • You should need rest after each interval. Make your rest about a 1:1 ratio to your work. If you work for 1’ then rest 1’ or less. Do this for about 10-15 minutes.
    • Then, cool down and do some mobility for 5 minutes. Done!
    • Do it at a minimum of 3x per week and up to 7 days a week.
  • SLEEP: It has such a strong relationship to not only cognitive performance and physical performance, but mostly to weight gain and weight loss. Lack of sleep is closely linked to weight gain and high stress, as well as a strong decrease in academic and physical performance. I know it’s hard to do, but the ideal is 8.5 hours in every 24 hour period. Naps count!
  • NUTRITION: How do you make good nutrition choices when you don’t have healthy options? There is a way! You just have to be willing to give it a try.
    • Go to the salad bar. Eat hard boiled eggs, ask for the chicken plain without the sauce, and have the sandwich wrapped in lettuce, etc! You get the idea.
    • Make your snacks all whole foods. By making your snacks all come from whole foods (things directly from the earth, sky, or sea), you eliminate processed carbs. Carrots, apples, berries, jerky, cheese sticks, and a limited amount of nuts and seeds are good things to have on hand.
    • Weight gain occurs at anything above 150 grams of carbs a day. Just for reference, a bagel has 55g, a soda has 50g+, and a small bag of chips has 15-20g.
  • ALCOHOL: Not that you would drink if you aren’t of legal drinking age, but, just so you know when you do turn 21, it isn't a great choice. Alcohol is a toxin and it’s processed. So what?! Well, the big problem isn’t the calories. The problem is the effect it has on our metabolism. A big part of our ability to burn calories comes from our ability to release a thyroid hormone that is converted in the liver. Well, when the liver is busy detoxing from alcohol, our metabolism slows down by about 5x it’s normal amount.

What are your struggles on campus with fitness and nutrition?

See you in the gym,