How to Lose Weight in College: 20 Tips to Guide You There

With lots of beautiful, fun people and tons of opportunity for new experiences, college is a phenomenal time to lose weight and achieve your peak physical form. While there are countless supplements and weight loss aids that will help you on your journey to the perfect body, the tried and true way to drop pounds is with a smart diet and consistent exercise. Featuring ten tips for getting in workouts, and ten tips for maintaining a proper diet, this guide will have something for every college student who wants to melt away some pounds this semester.

Ten Tips for Getting Exercise in College

The first half of getting and staying fit in college involves a plan for regular exercise. Even if you’re eating light, your body won’t look muscular and toned unless you’re using it. Luckily, you won’t be alone, as college is a haven for athletes, people who want to shed pounds, and a wide array of physical activities. Whichever methods you choose for getting consistent exercise in college, each will help you get closer to your fitness goals.

Buy a Kettlebell

A key piece of gear in CrossFit workouts and its own separate sport in Russia, kettlebells are arguably the most versatile strength building tool available. With a massive variety of exercises ranging from kettlebell swings to overhead presses, almost any weightlifting movement is possible with kettlebells. Other advantages include the fact that kettlebells are small and can easily fit in your dorm, and that other workouts like squats can be enhanced with kettlebells. If you’re going to purchase one piece of fitness gear for use in your college dorm, a good kettlebell may be the ideal choice.

Form a Habit for Fitness

Even if you’re just jogging around campus a few days per week, sticking with something consistently is key to building a habit. Other tips for building a habit include starting small and getting a buddy to hold you accountable. Once you get in the habit of exercising at least a few days per week, it will be such a part of your routine that you’ll only feel right when you’ve done your workout. Develop such a habit by choosing a workout, planning when you’ll do it, and then sticking to it through the long haul. Making an initial investment, such as investing in a pair of quality gym shoes, will also help as it will mean you have some skin in the game as they say,

Participate in College Events

Every college hosts a variety of events ranging from tournaments and fundraisers, to charities and festivals. Even if these aren’t specifically athletic in nature, they still might involve physical exercise and an opportunity to meet people for fitness or other purposes. In general, college is the best time to expand your network of friends and connections, and with these new connections will come plenty of new fitness opportunities. Consider volunteering for campus events that involve physical action, like setting up an auditorium, cleaning the football stadium, or giving campus tours. In addition to the physical exercise and people you’ll meet, volunteering for events hosted by your college shows that you participate, and makes for an excellent resume booster for new grads.

Run a Local 5K

A great way to give to a charitable cause while running a race in a scenic environment is by signing up for a 5K. If you’re thinking, “oh man, I hate running”, then a 5K is still manageable, and it’s much less intimidating than a marathon. Plus, one of the best parts about signing up for a running event is that you have a lot of reasons to either go for runs alone for practice, or to meet new people around campus who might be open to running too.

Join a Fun Intermural Team

You don’t have to be a football star to have a blast playing sports in college. Most colleges have a large array of sports and competitive clubs that won’t require too much of your extra time. Odds are you’ll have to go in for practice a few times a week, and will have obligations for games on weekends. Intermural teams typically don’t take themselves too seriously though, so joining one can provide a notable boost to your fitness and social life.

Try Out for a Serious Sports Team

If you have a passion for a particular sport that’s taken seriously by your college, trying out for their team could make for an entire season of top notch fitness training. Even if you weren’t necessarily Johnny Football in your high school years, you may be surprised to find that your strengths are ideal for a particular spot on the team. This could span from star of the team, to practice player that helps those who won scholarships, but either way will provide enough pressure and training to get you in top shape. Worst case scenario is you don’t make the cut, but if you don’t at least try, you might always wonder if you had what it takes to play your favorite sport on a college level.

Get a Fun, Physical Job

Jobs don’t have to be tedious, especially in your college years. Jobs such as campus tour guide and fitness instructor tend to be ideal for college students, and both contribute to your overall fitness level. Other fun jobs include almost anything where you get to know your way around campus, gain access to gym facilities, and get to exercise regularly. Whichever of the many jobs you decide to apply for in college, a physical one can keep you in shape while earning enough money to get by.

Know Your College Facilities

Take a Martial Arts Class

A great option for college students who need to lose weight, choosing to get involved in martial arts has the added benefits of discipline, enhanced confidence, and ability to defend yourself in an altercation. Experts explain that one hour of martial arts can burn 500-900 calories depending on bodyweight. If pure weight loss is your goal, than striking arts like Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, and Kung Fu will have you jumping, kicking, and blocking your way to a shredded physique. If grappling is more your speed, then judo, wrestling, and jujitsu provide an excellent workout while you struggle to gain advantageous positions against various opponents. For college students, the martial arts offer a lot of solid benefits, and some colleges have karate clubs and similar ways to train for free.

Pursue Outdoor Adventure

Wherever it is that you’re attending college, there are very likely outdoor areas to explore, hikes to attempt, or mountains to climb. Having a strong love of the outdoors is a reliable way to stay in shape, and can attract other adventurous people as well. The advantages of forgoing the gym for a long swim in a local lake followed by a cross country jog are numerous, and include affordability, fresh air, and the fact that you’re exploring your city. Just remember that exploring the outdoors comes with risk, so it’s important to follow safety tips and prepare by bringing the right gear for your hiking or climbing trip.

Ten Tips for Eating Right in College

No matter how much time you devote to athletics, you’ll only reach your pinnacle form if you know how to eat right. The other challenge after you know how to eat right is having the discipline to avoid all of the temptation for fattening food in college, or at least moderate it so you’re able to stay in shape while still maintaining a fun, happy lifestyle. Here are ten legitimate diet tips that will help you make positive decisions while exposed to the many temptations of college life.

Get Smart about Nutrition

If your knowledge of nutrition hasn’t been updated in awhile, odds are pretty good that there has been changes you might not know about. For example, it’s important to know that two types of fats, known as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, are actually good for you and are found in nuts. Conversely, the two worst types of fat that you want to minimize at all costs are trans fat and saturated fat. One more priceless piece of dietary knowledge is that excess carbohydrates are what makes people fat, so even if you’re vegetarian, eating a lot of pasta has dire consequences for your waistline. These dietary gems of wisdom are the key to making smart decisions that will keep you in shape, so a little research on nutrition is a good plan. For learning crucial info on nutrition, learning about the three major macronutrients is a great place to start.

Practice Smart Snacking

With late night study sessions and impromptu social gatherings, snacking in college is inevitable. No matter how high your intentions of smart eating are, your snack of choice will typically be limited to what is actually around your dorm, apartment, or college cafeteria. To lose weight, it’s going to be necessary to consistently make smart decisions when snacking, or else results will be few and far between. That said, some of the foods you’ll want to keep in mind and on hand for smart snacking include tuna, peanut butter, veggies, fruits, dried fruits, granola, nuts, and other foods that are portable and potent with nutrients.

Keep Vital Healthy Staples in Your Dorm

Perhaps the first step on your college weight loss journey should be to make a list of your favorite healthy foods that are ok to eat on a daily basis, and keep them stocked up in your dorm. Foods that are easy to stash like raisins, dried fruit, and peanut butter can provide valuable fiber, vitamins, and protein during those late night study sessions. Note that it will be very common for most other students to have a wide variety of junk food, so having a back-up stash of healthy foods in your dorm can help you keep on track with your fitness goals.

Find Reliable Places for Healthy Food

It’s highly encouraged that you hang out with a variety of different people and go out to try new things while in college. Along with that comes eating out, and if you’re someone with a strong desire to stay fit, eating healthy can be a challenge at restaurants that specialize in typical bar food. As part of your healthy eating journey, it will be useful to find a handful of nearby restaurants at key places near your college where you can order high-quality foods. For example, if several people in your dorm are going on a movie date on their day off, when they hit McDonalds afterwards in the food court, perhaps you go to the Chinese place for a rice bowl with veggies and chicken. Having a strong understanding of the healthy foods that are available beforehand will help you make a smart decision when eating out.

Read a High-quality Fitness Book

Reading an easy-to-approach fitness book by an author you respect can provide the guidance and motivation you need to shed those pounds. Some examples that provide reliable advice from various experts include Got Fight? by Forest Griffin, Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris, and The Paleo Solution with Robb Wolf. Each of those books include valuable fitness info written in an entertaining way, and with Amazon and libraries available everywhere, you never have to pay full price.

Involve Others in Healthy Cooking

Odds are pretty good that your desire to get fit will be shared by other students in your class or dorm. Just casually dropping the fact that you’re going to cook some veggie burritos or teriyaki chicken and any positive responses might be glad to join you. If you’re using a communal kitchen which are common in some dorms, then offering to help more experienced students with cooking can be a good way to learn and make friends.

Try the Paleo Diet for a Month

If you have a real desire to lose weight in a short period of time, then the Paleo Diet is a reliable and healthy way to do it. Extremely popular among athletes ranging from Cross Fitters to MMA fighters, the concept of Paleo is that humans are only meant to eat things found in nature. Simply put, you can have unlimited meat, nuts, veggies, and fruit on Paleo, but no dairy or grains at all. As long as you’re consuming enough fruits and veggies to make up for the bread you’re not eating, then Paleo is a healthy way to get shredded, and has the research to back its results.

Learn to Cook Healthy Foods

Learning how to cook a few high quality dishes for dinner does not have to be a daunting task. From a quick internet search of a reliable healthy foods website, to YouTube videos you can watch for free, there are a lot of quick and easy ways to learn to cook healthy food on campus. If you prefer to learn from your smart phone, than apps like Yummly and Food Network in the Kitchen will give you access to enough recipes to find the perfect options for your needs and taste.

Make Smart Compromises

While it’s important to maintain a high GPA, it’s also important to stay social and be happy. This means making occasional compromises with your eating habits, and being good at times when it’s convenient for you. For example, if you know you’re planning a guys night out to a football game where drinks and pizza will be consumed, then maybe it’s worthwhile to be good during the other days of the week, and stick to a lean and fresh diet. Obviously it takes discipline to make wise dietary decisions, but even top athletes make compromises and allow for occasional cheat days.

Hang Out with Healthy People

For anybody who seeks positive change in their lives, it’s an absolute necessity to hang out with the type of people who are likeminded. This applies to everyone from addicts trying to quit drinking, to athletes striving to make their college team, and is definitely true when trying to lose weight and eat properly. For example, if you’re really putting effort into eating right and getting fit, but your routine involves going out with your roommate and their friends to a Mexican restaurant and bar for a night of food and drinks, it’s going to be infinitely harder to achieve your fitness goals if that habit continues. Instead, find the people who understand the benefits of being fit, strong, and healthy. The simple fact is that hanging out with people who care about staying in shape will be a constant source of motivation, and will help you to make positive decisions time and time again.

The Best Time to Start a Habit of Fitness

Since college is the jump-off point for the rest of your adult life, there is no better time to start a habit of consistently being fit. Through an understanding of nutrition and exercise, you can begin a lifelong journey of staying fit, strong, and healthy as an adult. Whether you chose the path of sports, running, working out in your dorm, or some other activity, the result will be a life of high energy and a body that people will notice.