I am the type of person you would classify as a health nut. I love going to the gym, playing sports and eating healthy. I also secretly do Pilates DVDs with my friends but just for a good laugh, of course. At this time of year in particular, I try to do a few extra things to work off those Thanksgiving and Christmas pounds, not to mention all that chocolate from Valentine’s Day. Spring break is right around the corner and I know that I do not want to be the one sitting in a t-shirt around the pool because I don’t feel comfortable in my bathing suit. Since eating healthy on campus is tough – if I eat one more salad I swear I will throw it at someone – my only other alternatives are going to the gym and trying to eat balanced meals.

As I enter the gym, the first real problem with which I am faced is not being able to find a locker to put my coat in – a bad sign of what is to come upstairs. While I walk up the stairs, I see how full the weight room is and I start to come up with figures in my head of how long I’m going to have to wait for a cardio machine. Instead of agonizing over long waits at the gym, other great options are swimming laps, running up stairs or even jogging around campus. Just because all of the cardio machines are being used does not mean you can forgo exercising for the day.

There are things you can do without having to go to the gym while still working your body. These include taking the stairs instead of elevators and avoiding the shortcuts in the tunnels. The more steps you add, the more calories you burn. Then my favorite, walking with a friend to pick up their car from Park Lot South.

As for nutrition on campus, you do not need to eat a salad at every meal. However, you should make sure you are watching portions and eating a variety of foods. My biggest issue is protein. I can’t seem to find a decent piece of meat in the dining halls so I make sure to eat tofu, nuts or peanut butter. Another issue for me is eating enough fruits and veggies, which can be taken care of by drinking juice instead of your regular soda or coffee. Even replacing sherbet with ice cream can replace milk fat with vitamins since sherbet has a fruit base. Squeezing in those extra vitamins and minerals can really make a difference. Finally, make sure you drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps your body perform its daily functions smoothly and even makes your skin look healthier.

Lastly, enlist the help of a friend. Exercising and changing dietary habits can be difficult when done alone. Grab a friend – this way, you can watch over each other and make sure no one is cheating on anything or taking naps instead of exercising.

Andrea can be reached a avolza@campustimes.org

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