Just because you’re in your first year of college doesn’t mean that you can completely let yourself go. Sure, no parents around to bust your balls about eating shit, getting wasted and sleeping late. But if you allow that stuff to take control, you’re going to be spending more nights alone than with one of those new sorority girls.
The only way to avoid the dreaded ‘freshman 15’ is to take care of yourself during the week. The parties are going to mainly be on the weekends, anyway, so that will limit your opportunities to pump your body with the types of things that will not help its appearance. Use the five days leading up to that to keep things clean and hit the gym at least four of those days, as well.
Grilled chicken and steamed vegetables do not taste as good as pizza (and if we tried to tell you they do, then you would immediately know that we are full of shit). But try to view it this way: if you eat clean more than you cheat, then you get to truly appreciate those tasty meals.
Since you’re going to train during the week, it makes total sense to fuel your body with the right type of foods for energy and endurance. When you eat the garbage food and then go to the gym, you will not have the same stamina you would have had by eating a high protein/low fat/moderate-to-high carb meal.
The first thing that you need to do is cut out certain things during the week, such as foods with high processed sugar (not fruit, which has natural sugar) and simple (or bad) carbs. Drink water all day long, especially in the gym. Soda? Forget about it, and that includes the diet variety, as well, which contains tons of chemicals that are terrible for you.
Eat the carbs before and after your workout and try to refrain from ingesting any after dinner. Have a protein shake (casein, if possible) before bed to keep your body nourished while sleeping.
Break up your meals to make it five moderately sized ones instead of three larger plates and eat unsalted raw nuts and fruit as snacks in between meals. Protein bars are always a good choice, too, and can be eaten while in class if you didn’t have a chance to eat earlier.
Do a full body workout by hitting each muscle group at least once per week for a minimum of three days. An ideal situation is to train five days so that you do not have to double up every time. This way, you can really focus on that particular body part and hit it to exhaustion without having to worry about leaving some gas in the tank for the next one.
For example, here’s a five-day routine that breaks up the push-pull muscles as much as possible:
MONDAY – biceps, triceps
TUESDAY – chest
WEDNESDAY – back
THURSDAY – shoulders
FRIDAY – legs
Perform exercises for abs, forearms and calves at least three times a week and mix up the movements as not to repeat the same ones.
This is the difference maker, believe it or not. Resistance training with weights will build muscle but the only way to lose fat is with diet and cardio. You don’t have to kill yourself for hours a day, either, to get the benefit. A solid 15-to-20 minutes a day depending on the intensity of the cardio will burn off the calories and leave you in a pool of sweat.
Steady-state cardio (doing the machine at the same speed throughout the entire session) will only do so much. So you need to change it up for high intensity bursts followed by either low impact or full rest mode, depending on the circumstances, of course.
In the real world, people are going to have fun – especially when they first go off to college. But you can have the best of both worlds by keeping your shit straight and then partying and enjoying some well-deserved cheat meals.