Staying fit in college: An interview with Roxy King

She regularly posts recipes and workout ideas aimed at college students

We’ve all been warned against the Freshman 15. But let’s face it, staying healthy in college is tough. Between the dining halls, $1 pizza and never ending midterms, the gym is often a distant memory.

Roxy King started her Instagram page as a way to help friends struggling with these problems. However, the page soon took off and she now has over 8k followers. She regularly posts recipes and workout ideas aimed at college students. We figured that she would know a thing or two about staying healthy, so we asked her a) how does she do it, and b) how do we begin?

What are you studying?

I’m am music business major. So I have a lot of music classes, marketing, statistics and finance. So I want to go into publishing or law or management in the entertainment industry.

How did you start with the fitness?

I was a competitive cheerleader for 10 years and then I moved to California and I started pole vaulting in high school. So I was always really active but I definitely went through a stage for a year or two when I wasn’t working out at all. I wasn’t unhappy, but I wasn’t confident in the way I looked and the way I felt. And since I was really athletic at one point, I knew that I could be and I wanted to get back to that. So I started running every day and eating healthier, and slowly after I started seeing results a couple of months later I was like “Oh this is fun, I like this.” So it’s now been over two years and it’s been a long process but I slowly started getting into going to the gym and learning more about fitness and health and food. But it started from a want to be confident and feel better.

Do you think that’s a problem with young girls?

Yes. So much so. For me I never thought I was overweight, never hated my body, never had an eating disorder, but when it was summer and all of my friends were going to beach I didn’t want to go, because I didn’t want to be in a bathing suit. I think that’s so typical for girls and so sad too. But I think that’s one thing I like about fitness, because it doesn’t necessarily emphasize being skinny or having a six pack or being a size 0. It emphasizes more overall health and strength. And not just physical health but mental health.

Do you try and counter this?

A lot of my followers are either going through eating disorders now or are in recovery. So I really try and show them you can have the body you want while you’re in college and on a low budget without totally restricting yourself. You can have a balance. I work out a lot, but I also eat a lot. So I want to show girls that you don’t have to eat salads and quinoa and kale all day. You can have a balance and still be able to enjoy food.

How did you start your roxy_fitness Instagram?

I actually started it just after I came to NYU. Before I came to college I had been doing fitness for about a year, and so I had lost some weight. My friends from home were basically asking me what are you doing in college to not gain weight, because they all noticed with the dining halls and the drinking it’s so hard to not gain weight in college. So I originally created the account as a youngandhealthynyc because I didn’t want anyone to see. It was only for my friends, so that I could post my workouts and what I was eating for them to see. And then other people started following it and I was like why do these people care what I am doing? But then I just rolled with it, and I started posting more. And then when it got to 1,500 followers I changed the name to roxyfitness and told everybody that I had this account. It’s really grown and all my friends at home and here are so supportive. It’s been amazing and I really love it.

How do you make your account more accessible to college students?

I follow so many Instagram accounts drive home these points on perfection, and it’s really not about perfection it’s about being realistic. You have to find something that’s maintainable in the long run, and if you’re trying to eat clean and workout every single day of the week and never eat anything processed then that’s not a life. That’s a diet you’re going to go on for like 20 days, go crazy and then binge eat a bunch of cupcakes. Your body needs a balance.

I can’t even afford a juice from Liquiteria, and the dining hall is important. It’s so easy to slip up in a dining hall and go for the pizza and the fries and the burgers and the cookies because it’s all right there, but then there are so many really great options so you’ve just got to learn that discipline. But I still take a cookie on my way out of Hayden cos they are delicious.

Where are your top NYU recommendations? 

Definitely Hayden. Hayden and Palladium, that’s definitely where you’ll find me. The salads at Palladium — every time I go to Palladium I get a salad. And then if I’m not at Palladium I’m at Hayden — even if it’s out of the way.

What motivates you?

What really motivates me, as far as what’s on my Instagram and with my fitness is when I get messages from people who are like “This really helped me” or “I was really struggling with feeling good about myself today and your post helped me”. My mom recently starting getting super into working out, and she’s never worked out a day in her life. She said that I inspired her to give it a try and she is literally killing it. I posted a picture on my Instagram. But stuff like that really inspires me. Health and fitness changed my life in such a positive way and not just my body and my health, but also my relationships, my confidence, my grades, every aspect of my life was better because of health and fitness so if I can give that to somebody else, that really keeps me going. Because it’s really hard sometimes to work out!

Does it become easier?

It does. It does become easier. At first it takes so much willpower. You have to find time in your day to do it, and there’s so many other things you could be doing. But once it becomes a habit, I don’t even think about it. It’s just a part of my day. It’s like brushing my teeth. It’s just always included. I usually have one rest day a week. Mondays are usually my rest day because I have class all day long but it does get easier and it does get more fun especially when you start seeing results.

What’s your advice for college students?

Find a balance. I’ve talked to a lot of women who think they have to socially isolate themselves in order to stay heathy, stay within their fitness goals and not gain weight, and I think that’s so sad.  I think that the social part is such a huge part of college — whether it’s going out to eat with your friends or going out on a Friday night or whatever, you should be able to be with your friends, but also you want to keep in mind your long term goals. So for me, I really do try: I work out six times a week, I eat very healthy, if I go out with my friends I try and order something that’s healthy. But if I slip up sometimes I don’t beat myself up about it — slipping up one time is really okay, you just get back on track, work hard, use it to motivate yourself. Stay focused on your goals but don’t beat yourself up or get mad at yourself if you occasionally stray from it.

How do you stay fit in the winter?

It’s definitely easier in the summer. I love running so I’m really sad that my running season is nearly over. And then in the holidays, there’s the food. So my suggestion for that is to be reasonable and be realistic. Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room for your weight over the holidays. It’s okay if I go up a couple of pounds. I’m not going to get too worried about it. Because on Thanksgiving and Christmas you want to be spending time with your family eating good food and not worrying about gaining a couple of pounds. That is not a big deal in the long run. So I’d definitely say enjoy time with your family, enjoy good food, but also I would find ways to work out. Dorm room work outs are great. There are so many YouTube videos of dorm room work outs and ways you can use textbooks and chairs and rugs. It’s remarkable. Treadmills, while they’re not the most fun thing in the world, the Palladium ones have TVs so go get caught up on E! News and run a little bit. It’s also it’s a great time to work out how to bake healthily. Baking healthy desserts can be a major failure, but it can also be really fun. So I encourage creativity and trying new recipes that are healthy substitutes for other treats.

Roxy’s YouTube page

Roxy’s Instagram

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