Staying Healthy in College

Many of you know that I've always struggled with fitting in the time to exercise and eat healthy for the majority of my life. It was actually being in College that helped me learn to love exercise and figure out how to eat better. I didn't discover my love for triathlon and running until later in life, but my main efforts at a healthy lifestyle started my freshman year at Springfield College, back in 2000. Which is fitting considering the SC philosophy is an even balance of spirit, mind, and body.

Recently, I was nominated for eCollegeFinder's Top Health and Fitness Blog Awards! I've graduated over 7 years ago, but now I'm busier than ever! Not only do I work full time as a Physical Therapist, I'm also going to school for a teaching certificate, and teaching a lab class this upcoming semester. I want to share with you what worked for me to get toward my healthy lifestyle while I was in college, and other things I've learned since then.

Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy in College!
  1. Find like minded, healthy friends! Having a support system in a new place is crucial. I was lucky that my best friend I made that first week of Freshman Year (and kept the rest of my college years), wanted to get in shape too. We made a pact with each other to get to the gym, and eat healthy. We would plan gym dates, and make sure we chose healthy choices in the dining hall. Having someone cheer you on is crucial, especially when you may be far from home or old friends.
  2. Find the gym, and go!! Most campus' have killer gyms that are free for students and staff (I'm so excited to get my staff ID this year)! Take advantage of the membership, you'll have to pay once you leave college. Some schools even have classes or personal training for free or a small fee. Often the exercise physiology department needs experience, so volunteer to be their guinea pig!
  3. Make time for exercise. Look at your class schedule, your work schedule, your study schedule, or any other schedule you have. Then see where you can fit the gym in. Most days, I would wake up early and hit the gym, with just enough time to shower before getting to class. Maybe you like to work out in the afternoon, or you have a big break during the day. Find a time that works for you, and put it in your planner like an appointment you cannot miss. Even better? Make a date with a friend so you feel more obligated to get there, download a good movie to watch, or even get your studying done while you're there.
  4. Find the healthy options for eating. Make a few laps around the dining hall and see what the options are. See what the fresh options are. My college had a make your own salad bar, create your own stir-fry, make your own sandwich. When you can customize you win. Aim for lean meats, veggies, light sauces or dressings. If you can, get a dorm or apartment with a kitchen. If you can prepare your own food, you know what you're eating.
  5. Get enough sleep. Its easy in school to stay up too late partying, studying, or just hanging out. Lack of sleep will impact your concentration, and decrease your ability to make good choices to achieve that healthy lifestyle you want. Will that extra hour of cramming really make a difference on the test? Try not to procrastinate and study as you go to prevent the need for staying up late to get things done.
  6. Watch the alcohol intake. Booze can be the biggest downfall in college. Not only the calories in the drinks themselves, but often those partying nights turn into late night calls for pizza, breadsticks or other unhealthy snacks. Drink liquor mixed with seltzer, diet sodas or crystal light. Drink water in between. Avoid the Dominos.
  7. Join active clubs or sports. I was on the cheerleading squad my freshman year, where I met active like-minded people. Try out for a sport, play in a sport club, or join intramurals. It will keep you moving, and connect you with other health oriented people.
  8. Find support online. Social networking and blogging are things I didn't have in college, but I definitely use them now! Find bloggers and health websites you love to help keep you motivated, give you ideas, and spark enthusiasm for a healthy lifestyle. Even starting your own health and wellness blog can help you stay accountable.
  9. Try a road race or adventure race.  I didn't run in college, but maybe if one of my friends had suggested a fun event, i would have started earlier. Get a group together to do a local 5k or adventure race like the warrior dash. Sometimes you can save money by registering as a group. Make a facebook page, or spread the word around campus with some flyers. You may make some new friends, and you'll stay active while training and racing together.
  10. Make yourself a priority. Studying is important, it the reason you go to college, right? Of course, making time to expand your social circle is important too. Finding the time to exercise and take care of yourself can improve your stress levels, your concentration, and your overall demeanor. When you feel better about yourself, it shows in all areas of your life. Maybe you take an extra 5 minutes to make sure you get a healthy lunch and snack at the dining hall, maybe you read a textbook on the elliptical, or skip out on drinks with a friend.
I loved college.
I think with a little work on balancing your time, and finding a good support system, you can make healthy living a priority on any campus you may be on.

Good luck!

How do/did you stay healthy in College?

January 2013 top tunes!

Add a few new songs to your playlist with this month's top tunes from!

Typically, the beginning of a new year is when folks resolve to get into better shape. This month's mix features a lively bundle of songs to help you kick things off with a bang. Present here are duelling remixes from both of the world's biggest boybands, Icona Pop and Charli XCX's raucous theme song from Snooki & JWOWW, and Nicki Minaj's aptly-titled new single.
Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music blog.
To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine. 

2013 goals

I love making goals, it must be the physical therapist in me.
So again, heres my review of goals, and goals for the upcoming year!

2012 Goals Reviewed

1. Half Marathon PR & Sub 30 5K. I sucked here bigtime. After the marathon, I limped through a few half marathons, and didn't run a single 5K. My knee and my motivation were hurting after the marathon. Then, my energy was focused on goal #2, and any PR went out the window.

2. Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon. Accomplished and beyond. Not only did I finish an Olympic distance triathlon, but I finished my first 70.3 and loved every minute of it. I can safely say I found a renewed love of triathlon!

3. Run, Bike, Swim 1,500 miles combined.  1048 total. I admit, 1,500 was a bit ambitious. I would have been closer if I hadn't slacked off on the mileage in october, november, and December. Instead, I focused my energy on strengthening with Jillian. 

4. Focus on healthy eating, feeling good, and getting to a happy weight. I've worked hard at this, but not consistently or really hard enough to make a difference. I felt best when I was going low/no sugar and following Jillian Michael's plan. I have not lost weight overall, I did, but gained it back. ::sigh::

5. Save more money. I've cut down my credit card debt to practically none, but have been not great about increasing my savings, other than our savings for the wedding.

6. Do some home improvements. We did install our kitchen backsplash, but the basement has yet to be refinished.

7. Become more even-tempered. Still a work in progress, but I've gotten better at this. Sometimes a few choice words to myself out of their hearing range.

8. Look for ways to be happier work wise. Over the last year, I've had more opportunities pop up for me. I'm teaching again at SC next semester, I've had a research poster accepted to a national convention, and my boss is working on a promotion for me. Overall things are looking up!

2013 Goals 

1. Half Marathon PR. I'm going to only choose a few key ones this year, to avoid over training and more focus.

2. Complete my 2nd 70.3. I'm still thinking of a race for sure, but I know I definitely want to finish 1 more before I walk down the aisle!

3. Run, Bike, Swim 1200 miles. I think this may be a bit more realistic, but still a challenge. If I can keep my mileage up consistently, I know I can get it all in.

4. Maintain a cleaner, more organized home. Pintrest is an amazing thing. There are so many ideas on clever organizing for around the home to keep things cleaner and in better order. My goal this year is to incorporate some of those amazing ideas to make my home more organized.

5. Get my work promotion. I'm going to behave and work on being more of a leader at work so there are no snafus in getting it.

6. Get to and maintain a healthy weight. I think the challenge to get healthy is coming into a new focus. I have my wedding coming up, and I REALLY want to feel and look my best as we start our new family together.

7. Stay calm while planning my wedding and marriage. I want to put just as much work into planning for the marriage as I do planning for the wedding. I don't want to stress, I want to enjoy the time with Kevin as we plan for our future.

8. Save more money. I vow every paycheck to start putting away a little money into my savings. no excuses.

Don't forget to check out my 2011 year in review, HERE!

What are your goals for 2012?

Happy New Year!!!

Here comes another year, another fresh start, another opportunity to make your world everything you want it to be! I always love the outlook of a new year, especially when I have so much to look forward to this year!

Except racing!
Can you believe I do not have a single race on my schedule yet for 2013? (lie, I do have RnR Providence booked)
Although talking with a friend last night, maybe I can get half marathon ready for they Hyannis Half on February 24? I'm considering a 70.3 in June, and a few sprints along the way. I don't want to bog myself down with having too many races with my busy schedule coming up. Going to school, teaching, working full time, and planning a wedding may be more than I can already handle.

How did you ring in the new year?

We spent the afternoon having a hotel party before hitting up the casino for a comedy show, some drinks, a little gambling, and a 2:30am stop at Bobby Flays.

This was like my last hurrah before getting totally serious in the Run Your A$$ Off Challenge. I feel kinda guilty about not running after seeing so many race pics or people posting about half or full marathons (or both). Is it bad I like my drinking tradition?

Hope you all had a fabulous New Years Eve!

Did you miss my 2012 review in pictures? See it HERE