The one thing every student wants to avoid when they head to college is the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Weight gain, whether it’s 5 pounds or 15, is usually unwanted. I asked award-winning fitness expert Amie Hoff for her recommendations on how to develop a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices while in college.
ZKQ: What led you to develop a health and fitness business?
AH: I always wanted to find a job that didn’t feel like work. I have been involved in fitness and health all my life, since I was in 3rd grad playing soccer. The health and wellness space seemed like a perfect “fit”. I get such a reward from helping people change their lives for the better. Seeing someone set and reach a goal, big or small, is success to me. I started working one on one with people then added fitness consulting – helping companies structure wellness programs, develop fitness plans, and speaking engagements on all sorts of fitness and health topics. I developed and launched FitKit to help even more people who I could not work directly with to give them an affordable, total body workout solution that could be done anytime, anywhere.
ZKQ: What changes are you seeing today that are positive and are making a difference in our overall health?
AH: The awareness of health, wellness and fitness are everywhere. From mainstream media to social media and even pop stars to the president’s wife, people are learning, observing and gaining awareness of what it means to be healthy, and the necessity/ease of adopting it into an everyday lifestyle. Politicians like Mike Bloomberg in NYC and his ban on large sodas is a perfect example. People still might buy two smaller sodas, but they will certainly think twice about doing it.
ZKQ: What advice do you have for teens heading to college and having to make food choices on their own (maybe for the 1st time)?
AH: The best advice I can give is for students to understand that food is fuel. Food is energy for our bodies to run. If we put too much in the tank it overflows. If we put crappy gas or oil in the tank, it doesn’t run well. If students can learn the learn the basics of what a calorie is, how much they need and which foods to make up the majority of their diets, they will not only keep from gaining weight, they have more energy, sleep better and have a clear cognitive thought process.
ZKQ: What kind of healthy goodies do you suggest parents send their college kids in care packages?
AH: There are great fruit of the month clubs that will deliver fresh fruit right to their dorms. Students are always on the go so foods they can take with them is key. I love Justins single serve nut butters. That with an apple in their pack makes for a great snack. As does a healthy trail mix with almonds, walnuts, craisons and banana chips. Most dorms have microwaves and there are a few healthy version (no oil) popcorns available in stores. Since we know they are going to eat chocolate, maybe send along a 70% or higher coca bar. It’s much healthier than a late night Snickers. Organic oatmeal is another easy option for a snack. Annies makes some great, quick healthy snacks that are easy to whip up. A company called Peeled Snacks (peeledsnacks.com) makes great, all natural snacks that are individual servings. I always have them in my bag!
ZKQ: What top 5 or 10 things do you suggest college students do from day 1 in college to avoid the freshman 15?
AH: Here are 8 things to do to avoid the freshman 15:
1. Walk to classes. A lot of campuses offer busses but walking not only gets the body moving, but they can check out their campus, meet other students and engage more fully in campus life.
2. Find the gym and join. Most campuses offer a free gym membership.
3. Sign up for campus activities. There are student organizations that offer Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, even kick ball that anyone can join. Not only are they burning calories, but it’s a great social activity.
4. Schedule a workout just like you would a class…and don’t skip it!
5. Be sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Sleep helps keep the weight off. Not to mention curbs late night eating!
6. Log what you eat. Keeping a food journal and counting calories will really help keep overeating in check.
7. Find a friend to join in the quest of eating healthy, burning calories and keeping the Freshman 15 at bay. Having someone to be accountable to creates a level of commitment that makes success more probable.
8. Have a no junk food in the dorm room policy. If it’s there, it will get eaten. If it’s not, it won’t.
More about Amie Hoff: As founder of Hoff Fitness and developer of FitKit. Amie has appeared in health segments on ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNBC and Good Morning America. She has also appeared as a fitness expert in all major fitness and health magazines, such as Shape, Fitness, and Womens Health, as well as The New York Times, Washington Post, and Newsweek. In addition, she served as the personal trainer on a season of MTV's "Making the Band" with P Diddy. Allure Magazine voted her Best Personal Trainer, not once but twice. Recently, Amie tweeted health tips on Smart College Visit’s #CampusChat (09/19/12) weekly Twitter chat targeting college-bound teens.
Z. Kelly Queijo is founder of SmartCollegeVisit.com, a college-search resource for college-bound teens and parents that makes it easy to search for colleges navigate the college admissions process and find hotels near the colleges they want to visit.