It wasn’t even a week after we made our New Year’s health resolutions before we slacked. We did. We all told ourselves we wouldn’t, that this year was different. Our diet and workout routines were in for a total overhaul. Bad habits and time constraints be damned!
We may have started strong, but as the first weeks of January wore on and the snow mounted, our carefully planned calories turned to microwave monstrosities and the closest we got to a gym run was speed walking against the freezing wind.
But the year is far from over. Just three months in, we have plenty of time to get into our Hugh Jacked-man-est shape for summer break. You can get back on your health grind, and with all these easy on-campus fitness hacks and amenities provided by your student fees, you really don’t have many excuses left.
TAKE A CLASS
If you don’t know much about exercise, the idea of starting an exercise plan can be discouraging. Good thing the rec center provides a variety of fitness classes for all fitness levels at all hours of the day Monday through Saturday. A lot of options there.
Justin West is a graduate student in Exercise Science and a personal trainer and group class instructor at the rec. He teaches a class called Boot Camp that focuses on aerobic conditioning and muscular toning.
“It teaches you the basics,” West said. “In a group setting, you’ve got people around you to motivate you. It’s kind of a team effort.”
Students with physical disabilities or serious injuries don’t have to stop getting in a serious workout. As a personal trainer, West teaches students of all ability levels to get active.
“You kind of just have to go at your own pace,” West said. “There’s always a way to scale different workouts.”
In his class, Del Prado said he wants his students to walk away feeling good, not for having met a calorie goal but for more tangible reasons.
“I’m really trying to focus on getting active in general, as opposed to the aesthetics or body image,” Del Prado said. “The feeling of enjoyment from exercise [will] allow you to better adhere to a workout program.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINES
Working out is great, but when it comes to your day to day, we’re all just about as healthy as the next person right? Wrong! Your daily habits can have the largest impact on your overall health.
Small practices can have a big effect on your energy and focus throughout the day. Start and end the day with a five minute stretch routine, take the stairs and drink some water.
Georgia State makes a point to be a walkable and bikeable campus. Consider walking instead of taking the bus as often as you can, but be sure to budget out that time. Be smart and safe and don’t walk alone at night or in the rain, but small walks will add up to a lot of good work. You can motivate yourself by keeping track of your daily steps on your phone.
Commuter students who live in the neighborhoods near campus can consider biking as well. It might seem daunting and busy at first, but downtown is full of bike paths and lanes that make the commute accessible.
To be successful, give thought to how you can build healthy habits like walking and biking without embarrassing or inconveniencing yourself. The last habit you’re going to keep is one that makes you sweaty and late to class.
Your diet is probably the most important part of your health. It’s an old cliche, but what you put into your body is what you’ll get out of it.
Leslie Knapp is a registered dietitian with Georgia State nutrition services and she believes eating smart doesn’t have to get costly. If you make lists of the things you use regularly and plan a couple easy, go-to meals, it can save you both time and money.
“We may mistakenly purchase foods that don’t work together to make a meal, or buy foods we don’t use and end up throwing out,” Knapp said. “Creating a grocery list with items needed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is a great way to be cost effective.”
Planning for your health can be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to be a priority. College is when many of our lifelong habits are formed. Knapp has some simple tips on picking the right ones.
“Eating a balanced diet, being physically active, drinking water, and getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night are the best recommendations to prevent most chronic diseases,” Knapp said.