We asked experts how not to gain the Freshman 15

Workout tips & yummy food await

You got to college and all of a sudden you can eat whatever, whenever, but now you've been on campus a while. Once the initial shock and awe over dining services is over, you get sick of the food and start thinking about how you've been eating. Thinking about how not to gain the freshman 15 is a serious concern, but an exaggeration. Most people only gain about three to five pounds during their first year at school. It's still not a bad idea to hit the gym and watch what you're snacking on. Here's some tips on how not to gain the freshman 15 or even the freshman five.

All the food

"There’s no amount of exercise that can compensate for eating too much," personal trainer Pam Sherman said. "When it comes to food, she recommended moderation. Obviously there's going to be times you're going to be craving pizza or wings after a night out, but Pam recommended keeping those to a minimun and snacking on as much fresh foods as you can.

via GIPHY

The dining hall presents some serious temptations because everything is premade and ready for you. You should focus on making sure you get protein with every meal along with some carbs and good fats. Don't stop yourself from eating what you want, just compromise with some smart sides. "If you want the pasta, maybe don’t have a whole bowl, but have with chicken or meatballs or whatever they have with it and then a lot of veggies on the side," Pam said.

If you're lucky enough to have a fridge or even kitchen, Pam encouraged filling it with fresh foods and said smoothies were a great easy way to get your nutrients. Throw "a piece of fruit, a couple of handfuls of spinach, a pinch of protein powder, and some almond milk" in a blender and you're good to go.

Hitting the gym

Beyond food, Pam and personal trainer Robert Herbst agree that strength training is key. "Exercises like lift curls, squats, dead lifts and bench presses. You use your muscles, your major muscles. Those will cause your metabolism to be elevated," he said. Robert explained that if you workout hard enough, your muscles will development micro-tears. Your metabolism will stay heightened as your body repairs them.

via GIPHY

Cardio won't give you the same results because your body preceives long periods of cardio exercise as a long search for food. It actually ends up slowing down your metabolism. Robert recommended concentrating on strength or interval training. If you're trying to figure out what to do for interval training, he suggested, "20 jumping jacks, 20 burpees, 20 high jumps and then repeat. Do that for a couple of minutes and then stop and rest. That will also jumpstart your metabolism." Working out two to three times a week is a great way to stay in shape and keep those worries about the freshman 15 away.

When the winter months hit, it can be hard to drag yourself to the gym if it's all the way across campus. There's still ways to stay fit. Robert said the stairs make a great tool for an impromptu workout. Just do a couple of runs up and down the stairs. It will create those micro-tears in your legs which will really get your metabolism going.

Don't make it a chore

Pam emphasized finding things that you like to do for exercise because you're more likely to stick with it. "People think, 'I have to run, but I hate running'. Well then they won’t do it," she said. It's all about finding something you're into enough to make it a habit. On the day to day level, try to incorporate a few healthy choices into your routine because those will make a huge difference. Pam recommended walking whenever you the chance. Step outside in between classes and walk around campus or to a coffee shop instead of hopping on a bike or getting in a car.

At the end of the day, you shouldn't be beating yourself up over a huge dinner or a bowl of ice cream. "I don’t think we should be shooting for perfection. We should be shooting for progress," Pam said. "I don’t ever think you should ever be shooting for like, being the perfect eater or perfect exerciser. Just do your best."

More
The Tab US college student guide