This month thousands of students either started or returned to University, so I figured what a better time to talk about the best ways to stay fit and healthy whilst you are there! So as we roll onto Week 4 of my Masters Degree, I figured everyone else would have ‘settled’ into university too. And by ‘settled’ I mean, if you’re an undergrad you’ve very likely drunk too much, and haven’t eaten a proper meal yet – sound familiar at all?
First up let’s talk FOOD.
I’ve been a Fresher once – we’re talking pre fitness – and I remember living off pizza, crisps and ready meals for breakfast (yes pizza for breakfast), lunch and tea. If I’d have known what I had known now my first year at uni would have been so much healthier, and so much better for my health! The common phrase I hear is that ‘eating healthy is too expensive’ and I completely understand that whilst being a student, 9 times out of 10 you’re tight for cash. However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive if you follow some simple rules:
Buy Frozen Fruit and Veg: As a student, you generally buy food for one. Unless you find yourself living with a bunch of brilliant humans who all love avocado as much as you do – frozen is definitely the way to go to avoid unnecessary waste. Frozen also is a lot cheaper than fresh, and tastes just as good!
Bulk batch meals and freeze them: If you have freezer space as a fresher, make use of it with some frozen meals. Bulk batch your evening meal and portion it into freezer safe containers. All you have to do is lift out, defrost and cook ready to go to ensure you always have something healthy to eat. This is especially handy when you’ve had a long day at university and you can’t be bothered to cook – trust me! If you don’t have freezer space, this can still apply to you. Double up your portion sizes and save a serving for your lunch the next day. University food can be expensive up on campus, and also not the healthiest of options. At my Uni the only healthy option was a salad bar (that cost £3.50 for a tiny bowl) with like six options – so it was definitely not the variety I wanted on my dinner.
Stock up on healthy snacks in your room: Getting a healthy snack drawer in your room is literally one of the best tips I can give you. 1, people will steal the snacks from the kitchen if you leave your tasty grenade bars or pip and nut sachets laying around. And 2, having something on hand is perfect to stop you reaching for the cheaper, sugar filled unhealthy options when you’re at the supermarket or near a vender.
Now let’s talk Fitness.
When I first went to uni I wasn’t into fitness. I did the odd treadmill session here and there, and did crunches once a week because I thought that equaled abs – how things have evolved! But in all seriousness, coming to university doesn’t have to equal a sedentary lifestyle. There are LOTS of options to stay healthy and fit whilst studying.
Join a Gym: Now this may sound simple – but a lot of students don’t have access to ‘£50 a month gym membership’. If cash is tight, university gyms are perfect. They may be more limited and not have as much kit – but it’s better than nothing. Usually Uni gyms offer discounted rates for upfront yearly payments in line with student loans. So take advantage of this, and then you don’t have to worry about choosing between spending you’re last £30 on the gym membership that month or your next night out.
Join a Sports Team: Not only is this an amazing way to make friends, joining a sports team basically guarantees you to get active. Uni sports teams generally compete in a league called BUCs (in the UK) which is where universities play each other on a weekly basis. So not only are you training every week, you’re competing too – which is a great way to insert a bit of activity into your life.
Workout at Home: Yes, this is a feasible thing! It’s something that I do now when my day is jam packed. When I have zero time to breathe, let alone driving to the gym, training and then driving back – before you know it BAM three hours from my day have gone. If that is the case I’ll do an at home circuit or a yoga session. I have a matt, a couple of kettle bells and a foam roller. I’ll rotate between one of my workouts from my guide (click to find out more), a youtube yoga video or just a random thrown together circuit that I decide on the day. Either way, activity CAN happen at home so don’t feel like you have to go to the gym to stay fit and healthy.
Next up- let’s talk ALCOHOL.
Although I don’t drink alcohol now, when I was in my first two years of university I did. I’ve never been a big drinker but going to university I fell into the pressures of excessive drinking – not cool guys, not cool. To be totally honest, this is probably one of the biggest reasons I ended up gaining weight. The kind of amounts of alcohol university student consume is a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I’d recommend if you’re going to university, to be sensible about your alcohol consumption. It’s not big, it’s not clever, and you wake up with a sore head the next day. Alcohol calories do count, so please consider this as well as health implications when you’re drinking excessively every day. Maybe I’ll cover a full post on how to account alcohol into your lifestyle to keep on track with your goals, if you guys would enjoy this?
Finally, let’s finish off with SLEEP.
Something I learnt at university is that WE ARE NOT INVINCIBLE. Going out, staying up till 5am and then rolling into a lecture at 9am is not cool. I also did plenty of night shift library sessions instead of sleeping. Rookie mistake. Sleep is crucial for repair and recovery, especially when it comes to training. So if you can’t get your optimal sleep at night – schedule in a little nap and let your body rest. Naps are saviours!
Wearing: Fabletics x Demi Lovato Lisette High-Waisted 7/8 Capri in Bright Blue Painted Camo Print and Fabletics Dash Seamless II Bra in Blackberry
I really hope you enjoyed reading my top tips to stay healthy and fit whilst at university. I wish I had known these things when I went to University for my undergraduate degree. If you have any other tips, be sure to let me know in the comments below.
Love, Beth x