It IS possible to not have to choose between school, being fit, AND having a social life. Due to competing all of last year, I was constantly choosing between which one of these three things I wanted to have. 99% of the time, I chose being fit. I put school and having a social life on the back burner, leading to many missed opportunities, almost dropping out of college and being extremely unhappy. Here is what I wish I knew about living a healthy, balanced life in college.
Wake up, go to class, workout, homework and Netflix. I follow a specific schedule every day, making sure that I have time to do everything that I need to do. Building time into your schedule to work out will allow you to still allocate time for homework, ensuring that you don’t fall behind in school.
It's okay to miss a workout to study, rest, or go out.
It’s really easy to be too hard on ourselves and get upset if we don’t go to the gym or half ass a workout. It’s important to remember that one missed workout won’t set you back, it won’t make you gain any weight, and it won’t make you lose all your hard earned progress!
Numbers don’t define you.
In the fitness industry, it’s common to be obsessed with numbers: macros, caloric intake, weight, body fat percentage. Macros and caloric intake should be a guideline to follow. If you don’t hit your macros perfectly one day, don't feel like you're going to gain weight and don't enter a stage of “all or nothing” and binge on everything in sight.
You're weight naturally fluctuates, especially during times of stress. College WILL stress you out! Our body will naturally retain water during these times, causing bloating and water weight gain. But don’t worry…This will go away! Don’t add even more stress to your body by watching that number on the scale.
Lastly, your GPA. College is hard. You will fail tests, maybe even a class or two. But bad grades and having to retake a class does not define how smart you are, just like how much you weigh doesn’t define how beautiful you are. Numbers are just that, numbers.
You can make anything fit into your macros - pizza, ice cream and alcohol included.
If you track your macros, you know that every gram of carbs and protein have 4 calories per one gram, and one gram of fat has nine calories. For example, while it is not considered a “macronutrient”, alcohol still has calories (seven calories for one gram) If you wanted to make alcohol fit in your macros, all you need to do is find out how many calories are in your drink and then decide whether you want to take away from your carbs or fats.
Not everyone will understand your lifestyle, and that is okay.
Chances are, most people won’t understand why you are so into working out and eating healthy. Some people will criticize you for it, and others will either look up to you or respect the lifestyle that you have chosen for yourself. As amazing as it is to have friends who love working out just as much as you do, it’s important to remember that there are other amazing friendships to be made. At the end of the day, having people in your life who love and support you will make you a better person and help you along the way.
Don't avoid social situations just because you don’t know what food will be there.
If there was one thing I wish I could change from last year it would be not letting food stop me from spending times with my friends. Food is often deemed as the enemy when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and it can be scary not knowing what type of food or temptations will be at any given social situation. But I can’t reiterate enough, that one day or one meal will not ruin your progress or set you back. Go out, get a burger, eat a cupcake, or have a glass of wine with the girls.
College Is Truly What You Make of It
During spring break last year, I came home and begged my parents to let me drop out of college and become a personal trainer and live on my own. Safe to say that this conversation did not go over very well. At the end of the conversation, my dad asked me, “do you feel like you’re living the college experience?” I didn’t even hesitate to say “no.” After I finished my last competition, I thought long and hard about what living the college experience meant to me. It was this conversation with my dad that helped me find what is truly a balanced life, full of working out, studying and going out.
You have to find what that balance is for YOU. For me, it’s full of binge watching gossip girl to make you forget about school, going to late night at the cafeteria and ordering three bowls of cereal because breakfast at 10pm is the best, making memories with people you will never forget, screaming at your textbook because nothing about chemistry makes sense, and sweating it all out at the gym.They say that college is the best years of your life, and with the right balance, it will be!