It’s that time of year again – numerous nights out, alcohol, drunken food binges, hangovers, colder and darker days so no need for a bikini! I’m talking about the start of the university term. Endless fresher nights out finished off with a portion of cheesy chips and a very painful hangover the morning after. Almost everyone can relate to this scenario and is it really worth it after many people work endlessly in the months running up to summer to get their perfect ‘beach body’? For me, there is no perfect ‘beach body’, if you’re going to the beach and say, you’re wearing a bikini, there you have it, your beach body. Simply put, your body, on a beach.
Here’s some of my tips and own experiences of keeping fit and healthy in terms of diet and exercise regimes whilst university. Alcohol was a massive issue for me in regards to my health. Going from one or two drinks on a night out back home to numerous shots, downing of pints and jӓgerbombs all in one night, it was a shock to my system. I ended up suffering horrendous stomach pains the morning after which would last the whole of the next day. It was all too much. Plus I was putting on the ‘Fresher Stone’ as they call it, purely I feel due to alcohol consumption. I’m not saying cut out alcohol completely, I’m just suggesting keep it to one or two drinks a night, this will also save you loads of money in the long run. TOP TIP: if you’re going to drink alcohol, stick to clear spirits such as vodka and use mixers such as diet coke, diet lemonade or tonic water, this will cut down your calorie intake.
Learning to cook for myself was another thing I struggled with. When I started at university the only meals I could cook successfully were omelettes, a cooked breakfast and pasta bake. Annoyingly it is practically impossible to live just off these meals. When placed in this situation it was so tempting to simply order in a Dominos or a Chinese, but in order to stay healthy, and still have money in your pocket, a better decision had to be made. I decided to learn how to cook proper food. Fresh, wholesome, nutritious meals with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. I would highly recommend ‘Lean in 15’ as the meals are healthy, quick and very easy to make. My top tips would be to always have fruit available to grab as a snack such as bananas and apples, drink as much water as you can and stick to fresh food rather than packaged ready meals as much as possible. Beware of drunken night food such as chips and kebabs they really are the main culprit when it comes to weight gain. When you eat high carb food during the early hours of the morning your body takes a lot longer to metabolise the food and so the food just sits in your stomach when you lie down and go to sleep. This leaves you feeling sick and extremely de-hydrated in the morning.
In regards to exercise and fitness, just remember the government suggests that you should do at least one hour’s worth of exercise a day. Now from the offset, you may think this is a lot of time, but just think how long you spend on your phone each day, and how easy it would be to put the phone down and just go out for a walk or a light jog. For example, if you walk 20 minutes to the bus stop, twice a day, e.g. 40 minutes walking, you would then only have to do 20 more minutes’ exercise whether that be in the gym, in your house, or in a sports club to have reached you one hour target for the day. In university especially you are given so many opportunities to be able to do sport and exercise. Last year I joined the Women’s Netball Team and they trained on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and there were matches on Saturday mornings which usually lasted an hour, this was a great way to socialise whilst keeping fit. I also used the university swimming pool and tried to fit in three 45 minute sessions a week and I often attended fitness classes such as Boxercise and yoga.
This year I have decided to join the university gym and I aim to try and get in there every morning during the working week before my lectures start. I’m aiming high but I’m determined to stick to it! Also I am going to try out a new sport this academic year which will be water polo! I figured that I’m okay at netball and swimming so why not combine the two skills and see what happens. I’m really excited to begin training for that. So for all you fresher’s and anyone else who is trying to keep fit and healthy whilst at university, I hope this has helped.
My overall advice would be to eat fresh food, join a sports club and don’t go overboard with alcohol!