The good news is, with a little dedication, and friendly guidence of these tips, you’ll be dropping pounds by the semester!
College is a time for meeting new people and putting your best foot forward. Whether it comes easily for you or not, part of showing the world your optimal self is staying fit, strong, and healthy.
With all of the academic and social concerns of college, it’s understandable that it can be hard to find time for a regular workout.Luckily, there are numerous small ways we can contribute to fit and healthy lifestyle, even while dealing with the trials and challenges of collegiate life.
Whether it’s a subtle alteration in your nutrition, trying out flexible dieting, or a way to add exercise to your normal routine, each of these tips will help you stay in top form during your college years.
#1 – Drink More Water
As basic a concept as hydration is, it’s crucial to every type of action, including brain function and athletic performance. Even still, it goes underestimated and ignored by average people and athletes alike.
For weight loss or good health in general, it’s completely necessary to stay well-hydrated. If you’re avoiding water because you think it adds water weight, there are legitimate reasons to change your mind and start.
Among the advantages to drinking water for weight loss, a glass of water is shown to curb appetite before meals, and can even help you burn more calories. Add in the fact that our bodies are pretty much made of it entirely, and there are a lot of excellent reasons to make hydration part of your routine in college.
Related: Best Water Bottles for Fitness
#2 – Lift Weights to Lose Weight
One of the biggest fitness revelations in recent decades is the proof that strength training actually is a powerful way to lose weight. This paradigm shift has led a lot of trainers away from the running track, and toward creative, intense, and innovative new workouts.
Some examples of high intensity weight training workouts that will help you lose weight include Iron Cardio and Cross Fit, but the important take away is that intensity is critical to rapid weight loss.
It’s important to note that having muscles also absorbs nutrients and stimulates weight loss, so whether you’re doing a lot of sets with low weight, or few sets of heavy weight, both will contribute to your fitness level.
Adjustable Dumbbells are one of the most dorm friendly exercise equipment types.
#3 – Aerobic Exercises: Cardio Cardio Cardio
Among all of the creative and trendy new workouts to rise to popularity in recent years, cardio stands as a tried and true way to burn calories.
This can be jogging, running, swimming, cycling, or other simple yet constant activity, but the act of getting your heart rate up and keeping it there is the most proven method of weight loss.
Even low intensity cardio, that boosts your heart rate to 60-80% of its max can burn significant calories if done for a significant duration. For a more intense burn, try high intensity cardio, which involves rapid, strenuous exercises for a relatively short period of 5-20 minutes.
Whichever type of cardio you prefer, just know that the more you move, the more calories you’ll burn.
#4 – Take the Stairs!
Making a point to climb just two flights of stairs per day can result in six pounds of weight loss in a single year, according to Duke University.
In 2016, we have more opportunities than ever to avoid the stairs in favor of elevators and escalators, but burning those extra calories by finding the stairwell is worthwhile in the long run.
Remember the previous tip that showed how intensity contributes to weight loss, and so even the quick workout of dashing up a few flights of stairs is a powerful step in the right direction.
Related: Best Treadmills for the Home Gym
#5 – Fitness Trackers
Investing in a basic fitness tracker will only cost around $30-40, but if you’re willing to get your steps in, then it can be a priceless fitness tool. The most common way people use their fitness trackers is to make sure they get their 10,000 steps per day, a goal that’s easily met on some days, but requires extra effort on others.
This results not only in calories burned each time you meet your goal, but it holds you accountable for building a consistent habit of fitness. If you’re on a large campus, getting your steps can be pretty easy, especially if you take a well-planned detour to ensure you hit your goal.
Related: Best Activity Trackers
#6 – Find a Workout Buddy!
Even if you don’t know a single person on campus, it’s a worthy effort to find a workout partner or two. Since working out is a very common activity for college students of all fitness levels, finding someone to hit the weight room with is an easy ice breaker, and shouldn’t be too difficult.
However you go about finding a workout partner, the advantages are undeniable. From safety to friendly competition, the experts at FitBodyHQ.com explain no less than ten benefits to working out with a partner.
#7 – Use a Calorie Counter
Similar to and often in the same product as fitness trackers, calorie counters offer certain unique advantages. One type of calorie counter is the kind you can find online for free, and it’s designed to keep track of the calories you consume.
While there are some fitness watches that count calories based on pedometer info, there aren’t any that can distinguish calories in food while you eat it, so that part will have to be done manually.
However, even just knowing how many calories you’ve burned in a workout based on your fitness watch can ensure that you’re getting an effective workout.
#8 – Watch Out for Them Bad Carbs!
The school of thought for what is and isn’t good for weight loss has changed dramatically over the last decade. Arguably the most significant example of this is that it is complex carbohydrates, not fat, that will cause the most destructive fat gains.
Knowing the difference between the good carbs found in vegetables and whole grains, and the bad carbs found in donuts and cookies, is vital knowledge for anyone who wants to stay fit during their college years. Just remember that anything processed is very likely full of refined carbs that are best avoided.
#9 – Cut Out Sugar – Choose Fruits Instead
Never before in history has there been more proven reasons to swear off sugar for good. From diabetes to cancer, sugar is taking the blame for causing a wide variety of conditions and the list is growing.
Needless to say, sugar is a bitter enemy of those trying to lose weight, and almost any available substitute is better. Fruit has a form of sugar, but is considered healthy because of its vitamins, fiber, and numerous natural health benefits.
#10 – Eat More Fiber
Making a conscience decision to consume more fiber will do a lot of good things for your health and weight loss plan. The two main ways fiber is beneficial to weight loss is that it makes you feel full for a long period of time, and it regulates digestion to keep everything running smoothly.
In addition to the fitness advantages, fiber is proven to be good for your heart, and research suggests that it can prevent cancer and stroke. Fortunately a lot of popular foods are loaded with fiber, including beans, prunes, wheat bread, and other natural foods.
#11 – Healthy Snacks
Everyone snacks in college, but while others are breaking out the Little Debbie Cakes and Doritos, you can choose to stick to healthy options that are congruent with your fitness goals.
This doesn’t mean you have to walk around with bags of broccoli and cauliflower. Health food is an extremely popular industry, and many of the snacks that you know and love have lower calorie variations that are much healthier.
Some examples include choosing Baked Lays Potato Chips over regular, and frozen yogurt rather than ice cream. To ensure you have healthy snacks available, consider actively trying a variety of new healthy foods, and keeping your favorites stashed in your dorm for when you need them.
#12 – Smaller Portions – Smaller Plates
Among the habits you can change on your weight loss journey, learning to eat smaller portions is arguably the most important. While this has the obvious benefit of less calorie consumption per meal, it also has the long term effect of shrinking your stomach, and building the habit of eating smaller meals.
Another advantage of portion control is that you can have anything in moderation, so once you can control your portions, than even cheat foods like pizza won’t set you back too far. Ultimately, advantages that come from smaller portions include more energy, decreased risk of diseases, and weight loss.
#13 – Limit Soda Intake
Those decisions about what to grab when you’re thirsty can be the key to your weight loss, or the cause of your weight gain problems. This is especially true when you consider all of the times in class, at work, and during social events that you’re grabbing a drink.
When you consider that a can of basic soda is typically 140 or more calories, and an equal amount of green tea or water is zero calories, it’s easy to see how powerful your beverage decisions can be.
Even if you substitute just a couple of your high-calorie drinks, like fully-loaded cappuccinos and deceptively sugary juices, for healthier ones like water or tea, the benefits are pretty remarkable.
Be aware of trendy drinks and juices that try to come off as healthy while containing hundreds of calories and lots of sugar. Some will even throw around words like “natural” or “fat-free” to hide the massive amounts of sugar content per bottle.
#14 – Get More Sleep – Avoid All-Nighters
Although the idea of staying up all night in college to either party or cram for tests has become mainstream, if you care about being fit then you shouldn’t make a habit of it. Research has shown that proper sleep is a vital component to shedding pounds and staying in shape.
Only in recent years has sleep risen to the surface as a significant cause of obesity, but it’s now clear that weight loss is among the numerous benefits of getting enough sleep.
Just like your phone, Tesla automobiles, or other gadgets rely on having a full charge each day to perform to a high standard, your body requires quality sleep to get your energy levels up and drop those pounds.
#15 – Drink Your Coffee Black
Another simple way to cut hundreds of calories per day is to learn to enjoy drinking your coffee black. This is illustrated by the fact that a plain cup of black coffee contains two calories, whereas one of the most popular drinks at Starbucks, a 16oz Caramel Macchiato, has a whopping 250 calories.
Considering the fact that those calories are not even contributing to your daily nutrition because they’re pure sugar, there are a lot of excellent reasons to order your coffee black if you want to cut weight.
Aside from the low-calorie advantage, the potent caffeine levels in coffee are enough to stimulate thermogenesis, and can therefore boost your metabolism and burn calories away.
For evidence of caffeine’s powerful fat burning prowess, check the ingredient list for any effective fat burner. You’ll see that caffeine is a standard fat burning ingredient in the vast majority of supplements.
#16 – Drink Green Tea
If you’ve heard that green tea was one of the healthiest things you can put in your body, you’ve heard correctly. With benefits ranging from improved brain function to fat burning, the chemicals in green tea are nothing short of miraculous for the human body.
With anti-oxidants and the ability to kill bacteria, green tea has a lot of positives for those who are inclined to enjoy it.
If you’ve ever purchased fat burning supplements, you’ll know that green tea is a frequent ingredient in them for its potent fat melting properties. For those concerned about beauty, green tea is also the perfect drink because it contains EGCG, which gets rid of free radicals that cause aging.
#17 – Make Your Dorm Room Fitness Friendly
It’s understandable that you can’t completely customize your dorm room into your dream gym due to size and roommate restrictions, but there are some small ways you can make your dorm fitness compatible. For starters, bodyweight workouts are no joke, and include planks, pushups, dips, and squats, all of which can be done in your dorm room.
#18 – Stop Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is the college norm for many young people, but if fitness is one of your goals, then your binge drinking should happen rarely, if at all. The first thing to know is that alcohol is loaded with calories, especially beer and fruity drinks.
Also worth noting is that calories from alcohol are considered, “empty calories”, meaning they contribute to making your belly bigger without providing nutrition.
The CDC explains that most people who binge drink are not alcoholics; they also note that the act of binge drinking is connected to a slew of nasty crimes and diseases.
#19 – Eat Breakfast Regularly
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, skipping meals does not lead to healthy, sustainable weight loss. This is especially true for breakfast. As the first meal of the day, breakfast is designed to literally break the 8-12 hour fast from the last time you ate.
Breakfast is the time to get 300-500 calories worth of light, nutritious food that will jump start your metabolism, fuel all bodily functions, and set you up for success throughout the day.
Some reasons not to skip breakfast, even when you’re in a hurry, include the fact that you’ll have low energy throughout the day, and are much more likely to overeat during your next meals.
#20 – Avoid Eating Late at Night
Night time is when your metabolism is at its slowest, and so foods eaten before bed take a lot longer to process. Another reason why it’s best to avoid eating a few hours before bed is that it increases the need to get up at night for bathroom breaks, and therefore interrupts your effective sleep cycle.
Ultimately, if you’re up studying into the late hours and find yourself in need of a snack, grabbing something light and easily digestible is a smart move. Otherwise, it’s generally best to avoid eating between dinner and breakfast, at least if you’re concerned about weight loss.
With pressure to study, attend classes, be social, and maybe work at least one job, there is already a lot to be concerned about in college. Luckily, small adjustments and tips can make a drastic improvement to answer your question on how to lose weight in college the best way.
Even making a decision to stick to five tips on this list will result in notable positive changes to your weight loss progress. A weight loss journey is composed of numerous tiny decisions made throughout each day, so getting more of these decisions to be healthy ones will make a huge impact on your fitness level.
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- Updated on April 1, 2019 by Ada Lane