freshman 15 tips

Taking the stairs, and 8 other tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

My fitness secrets revealed.

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Part of going off to college for the first time involves everyone and their mother, warning you about the freshman 15 and how real it is. Well, folks, hate to break it to you, but the freshman 15 may not strike you as hard as you think. My first few months at college I felt I actually lost a ton of weight. It was the polar opposite for me as well as some of my friends. There are many avenues and ways to pack on the pounds in college, but if you are smart and follow my tips, you too can avoid the big scary nasty freshman fifteen. Just kidding, it's literally nothing to worry about.

1. Exercise and take progress pictures regularly

Find your favorite form of exercise and incorporate it into your schedule! Maybe it is joining an intramural team, going on runs, hitting the gym, going to yoga, or cycling. You just have to promise yourself you will figure out what your "thing" is and stick with it! You do not have to do it every single day, but at least a few times a week. Taking progress pictures throughout your fitness journey will motivate you to keep going! You are your own biggest motivation, do not compare yourself or try to look like fitness or Instagram models.

2. Find a workout partner

Finding a workout partner will help hold you accountable as well as make working out more fun! If you dread working out to begin with, you are less likely to go if you are going alone. Misery loves company, so bringing your friend along for the ride will help you both start, and pick up momentum as you go. After going to the gym a few times with my best friend, I ended up loving working out and made it a goal to go to the gym every single day after class and I made it happen!

3. Eat whatever you want

Starving yourself or skipping out on meals on purpose is NOT the way to avoid the freshman 15. Honestly, trying to feed yourself three meals a day is not the most fun task and naturally, you will end up skipping at least one meal a day. At least that's how it was for me. So if my friends wanted to order pizza, I said yes because I was already super hungry from barely eating the entire day and it did not matter to me whether or not dinner was healthy. Stop caring so much and just eat. You'll be fine.

4. Coconut milk over dairy milk

Humans do not digest and process dairy very well and often times it can make you feel sick. Simply substituting the type of milk I drank helped me feel tremendously better. I always kept coconut milk on deck in case I wanted cereal, and a pint of coconut milk ice cream I could grab at any hour of the night and not feel gross after eating it.

5. Go to class!!

Going to class helps you avoid the freshman 15. Sounds silly, but think about it: walking around a huge college campus all day long five days a week adds up! The first month at school I can remember my legs being sore and tired all the time because I wasn't used to walking so much. Plus going to class means you get to see good boys, so attending is imperative.

6. Take the stairs

There are 500 billion stairs on a college campus. You're bound to encounter a case of those bad boys at least once a day, so you need to take them. My first semester I only took the stairs and always avoided the elevator unless I had a ton of groceries, and I feel that also aided my weight loss.

7. Plan your workouts around your class schedule

It is beneficial to figure out a gap in the day you are able to squeeze in a workout. You could take a look at your school's workout class calendar and attend yoga or Zumba after you get done with your classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You really have to tailor it to you and your needs. All my classes ended at noon or 1pm, so I made it a goal to go to Planet Fitness every day once I got out. Having a set schedule is important because it holds you accountable and you are more likely to stick to it.

8. Use dining dollars on healthier alternatives

I had the unlimited plan which included free meal swipes at places other than the dining hall. The dining hall gets old super fast and the thought of going may become repulsive. I found a place on campus called Freshii, which has a ton of healthy options. They have yogurt parfaits, smoothies, energy bites, and a variety of delicious bowls.

9. Don't be hard on yourself

This is something I am so big on! Focus on enjoying and loving life. Freshman year is the year you can be completely care free. You have so much free time to have fun and make the most of your college experience. If you want to sit around worrying about the way your body looks, you are wasting one of the most exciting years of your life. Relax and don't get down on yourself!

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10 Ways College Is 100% NOTHING Like High School

Once-a-day showers go to dry shampoo for four days straight.

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As a college freshman well into their second semester, it has officially occurred to me just how different, and often times better, college is compared to its predecessor, high school.

Here are just 10 ways the two could not be MORE different:

1. How you sleep

You'll go from waking up three hours before school to three minutes before class

2. How you hygiene

Once-a-day showers develop into dry shampoo for four days straight.

3. How you eat

Pizza goes from a once-in-a-while treat to an everyday food group.

4. How you socialize

You'll go from being nice to everyone to disliking people for no reason.

5. How much effort you put into your appearance

High school contour was on fleek and now there's somehow mascara on your forehead.

6. How you nap

Naps go from two hours to 10 minutes.

7. How you operate heavy machinery

Driving goes from 10 and 2 with perfectly lined up mirrors to driving with your knees and eating a taco.

8. Your classmates

High school classes are with all of your friends and college classes have strangers in them almost every day.

9. The people teaching you things

High school teachers are scary and mean, while college professors become your friends.

10. Textbooks

High school textbooks are provided where college textbooks need to be bought with another student loan.

Cover Image Credit: Instargram//Madsbythesea

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11 Reasons Why Hiking Should Become A Pivotal Part Of Your Life

It's good for the body and soul.

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I was lucky enough to grow up 10 minutes from a national park. This meant that some of my earliest memories were riding on my dad's shoulders through miles of beautiful trails. As a got older, the simple joy of enjoying the fresh air and getting away from the craziness of life that hiking offered only made me fall in love with it more. Now, whenever I have a rough day or just need a break from stress, the first thing that I want to do is hit the trails.

1. Fresh air

Emily Smith

Being cooped up inside for too long can take a toll on anyone. Being able to get out and breathe the fresh air and feel the sun shining can instantly boost anyone's mood!

2. Exercise

Emily Smith

Hiking is a great way to get those extra steps in, and many areas have different paths you can take depending on your fitness level.

3. No electronics

Emily Smith

I am so guilty of going on my phone way too much. Being outdoors allows a break from social media and time to focus on being in the moment and enjoying the amazing world we live in.

4. Scenery

Emily Smith

Hiking allows us to see some of the most gorgeous untouched pieces of nature. It is hard to not be amazed by how beautiful our earth is.

5. Vitamin D

Emily Smith

There is nothing that a little bit of sun can't cure. Being outside in the sun not only gives you a nice summer glow, but it can be so beneficial to our health! Vitamin D helps boost our immune system and gives us energy.

6. Way more fun than going to the gym

Emily Smith

Going to the gym and using the treadmill and other machines provide a workout but can become more of a chore than fun after a while. Hikes are an amazing workout that hardly feels like a chore. So, the next time you are getting tired of the same old routine at a smelly gym, think about taking a hike instead.

7. Stress reliever

Emily Smith

Being out in nature can be such a great break from the "real world."

8. Great way to spend time with friends

Emily Smith

The next time you don't know what to do with your friends, consider going on a hike! There are so many fun things to do, like bring a picnic or watch the sunset. It's a great way to switch up your typical routine of watching T.V. or Netflix.

9. Perfect way to exercise with dogs

Emily Smith

Instead of taking your dog around the neighborhood, switch it up and take them on a hike! It's a great workout for them, and oftentimes, a lot more enjoyable than the daily neighborhood route.

10.  It's free!

Emily Smith

What more needs to be said? Free fun is hard to come by nowadays, so going on a hike can help your bank account too!

11.  It's fun!

Emily Smith

What's not to love about the endless ways to enjoy hiking?

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