Fitness 101:

Lisa Johnson

College is a time when we have the opportunity to study and party. For many of us, it is the first time that we are fully away from our parents. The scoldings that we used to receive on a daily basis when it came to our diet and exercise regimens are thrown to the wind. We are now our own worst enemies. Living on a college campus can be a fitness hazard in many ways. When it comes to discussing nutrition and exercise, most people cringe. Many different mindsets and opinions exist concerning this very topic. There are those people who see dieting as the only means by which they can stay healthy while loosing weight. There are many different kinds of excessive dieters and unfortunately, this method often rears its ugly head in many forms. There are those who claim to be simply eating healthy (not to say that this is in any way a bad thing), those who eat only fruits and vegetables because they have very few calories, and those who simply eat very little to nothing at all (poor choice).

On the flip side, there are those who choose to eat whatever is offered-these people can be considered the “exercisers.” Perhaps this is a somewhat comical term, but it is oh so true. These types of people rationalize the ways in which they eat their meals, which contain high levels of carbohydrates, sugars and fats, because they will get to the gym and burn off all of those excess calories in hour-long workouts. Here, the constant need to watch the calorie counter on the treadmill comes into play.

The truth is most people fall into one extreme or the other: diet or exercise. Attending a school that is as challenging and demanding as Colgate does not make the issue of diet and exercise any easier. We feel we have to choose one or the other because we fail to have time to focus on both. The perfect way in which to stay healthy is to combine diet and exercise, nutrition and fitness. Perhaps this very concept seems so simple that it is laughable. However, like most things, when put into practice, it can be extremely difficult. Watching the foods that we take in on a daily basis can be challenging when healthy and satisfying foods are not always at hand. Try this: eat three meals a day. Don’t forget breakfast-it is the most important meal of the day. Snacking can be a good thing if done correctly. Rather than reaching for the potato chips or snack packs, opt for fruit and vegetables. Certain types of fats are in fact good for the body when taken in moderation. Want a cookie or some ice cream? Have it, just not often. Treat yourself to it on occasion rather than having it as a part of your daily routine. Calories will be saved and your body will ultimately thank you for it.

Now comes the challenging part: balancing diet with exercise. This can take form in many ways. Can’t get to the gym? Don’t fret; instead, take a walk or jog around campus. The hills provide a strenuous work out. Workouts do not have to be multiple hours long where we push ourselves to the limit to burn off any excess cookies and pizza. Thirty minutes is sufficient. Another tip for a successful workout is to change it up! Do not always head for the elliptical or treadmill. Try taking a spinning class or join a sport. These activities work different muscle groups that help to strengthen and improve one’s ultimate physique as well as help to keep the workouts interesting rather than repetitive.

The secret to feeling good and being healthy stems from understanding the importance of both diet and exercise, rather than one or the other. It may be time consuming and next to impossible in the winter, but with this comes a great feeling of satisfaction. Pounds will drop; muscle will begin to develop. This will no longer be a deprivation of the things we love, but rather it will allow us to feel healthier and develop our own new regimen. Why opt for either when we can have both? Combine these two elements and you will feel better in no time.