Dodge the Freshman 15 with these food and fitness tips

Media Credit: Kiana Roberston | Senior Staff Photographer

The National Mall gives students ample space to workout while seeing popular tourist spots.

College is a balancing act, consisting of classes, clubs, friends and a new city. But don’t let healthy eating and exercise fall to the bottom of your list of priorities.

Everyone has heard of the dreaded Freshman 15, but if you take advantage of all the food and fitness options that GW and the District have to offer, then you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Fitness

Make the National Mall your gym
Running on the treadmill can seem like a path to nowhere, but running around D.C. adds fun and excitement to what can be a boring workout. Take advantage of your location and log some mileage as you explore the monuments. The sights will distract you from that exhausted feeling in your legs and dodging the ever-present tourists will keep you on your toes. A run from Thurston Hall to the Jefferson Memorial and back totals a workout of around four miles, with plenty to see along the way.

Take the ‘Hel’ out of HelWell
All students have free access to the Lerner Health and Wellness Center at 23rd and G streets. The most popular area in the fitness center has machines like treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes, as well as a large weight room. The gym opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, which makes it easy to squeeze in a sweat session into any hectic schedule. The Lerner Health and Wellness Center is nicknamed HelWell by students, but you can avoid the “Hel” if you make gym sessions a part of your routine.

Grab a buddy
For those who hit the field, pool or court in high school, GW offers a variety of club sports for students looking to stay active without the commitment of a varsity sport. Club sports, like the ultimate frisbee team, give students an opportunity to try a new sport without the pressure of previous experience. If team sports aren’t your niche, then try one of the organizations that focus on fitness without the need for coordination. CHAARG is a national organization with a GW chapter that regularly offers fitness classes around the District while providing a healthy community for women.

Food

Take advantage of healthy GWorld options
D.C. is known for its wide variety of food, and thankfully the city offers healthy options too. On GWorld, vendors like Whole Foods, Sweetgreen and Beefsteak are great places to go for a healthy but filling meal. South Block, a smoothie and juice bar located in HelWell, is a campus favorite for a nutritious post-workout snack. Constantly eating out at restaurants and fast casual eateries can be unhealthy, so stock up on healthy snacks and breakfast foods to help save in your wallet and waistline.

Cut the complicated Starbucks order
With two Starbucks locations on campus, it’s easy to fall into a daily trap of ordering a sugar-filled specialty drink. When faced with an all-nighter in Gelman Library, or a needed pick-me-up after your 8 a.m., opt for healthier forms of caffeine. Keep a coffee maker or French press in your room to save money and unnecessary calories. A dark roast coffee from Starbucks with a spoonful of sugar and some skim milk will perk you up without weighing you down.

Don’t make drunk food the enemy
Freshman year can be tough for many reasons, so if you do find yourself gaining a few pounds – don’t stress. Don’t deprive yourself of Gallery mozzarella sticks or fries from Carvings on a Friday night. Being healthy is about how you feel about yourself and not about the number on the scale, so don’t miss out on a late night food adventure, that can also be a good bonding opportunity, just to save some calories. Everything is fine in moderation, so balance your habits as best you can and you’ll feel good no matter what the scale says.

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