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How to avoid the freshman 15; A guide to staying fit at UNF

Omar Aftab, Reporter

Looking to avoid the dreaded “freshman 15?” Everyone has heard of it and wants to stay fit, but sometimes it can seem inevitable. After all, moving out, only to eat pizza, McDonald’s, and ice cream every day can’t be good for your health. Coupled with work, schoolwork, and the fact that nowadays people live much more sedentary lives than in the past, college seems to be a recipe for weight gain. 

According to Dr. Catherine Christie — an associate dean, professor, and graduate nutrition program director in the Brooks College of Health — it is most often a combination of a poor diet and lack of exercise which causes weight gain and loss of fitness among college students. 

A major struggle, according to Christie, is that college students rarely know how to cook. This lack of knowledge makes students all too susceptible to taking the easy way out and ordering fast food. It’s quick, easy, and delicious, but the price is high if it means sacrificing your health.

Another big problem is that students struggle to manage their time. Fitting in both time to cook and to exercise when one is balancing high amounts of schoolwork and perhaps even a job can prove difficult. For this, Christie recommends creating a schedule for exercise and sticking to it. 

“I’m one of those people who likes to do it first thing in the morning when I get up, and then I’ve done it for the day. Other people do it at the end of the day — after a hard day, it’s a way to relax. I think you have to decide, [by] looking at your schedule, what’s going to work best for you and what you’re going to keep doing. If it’s something that’s hard or out of the way, you’re probably not going to do it,” says Christie.

As for diet, Christie points out that, if a student is struggling to cook or find healthy food elsewhere, UNF’s cafeteria has a wide variety of options that can aid in keeping one fit.

The UNF Healthy Osprey also has a YouTube channel that helps teach college students some easy meals they can try making:

Owen Cavanaugh, an employee at the UNF Student Wellness Complex, has noted that there is a clear inconsistency in students’ workout habits. 

“A lot more people start coming around New Years,” says Cavanaugh. He also says that there are all kinds of people who go there, so one should never feel shy or nervous. “We have some people who really dedicate themselves to it, but there’s also people who just want to stay in shape.”

UNF has a lot of resources available for students who are interested in eating healthier, being more active, or changing their weight. Students, faculty, and staff have the option to receive one-on-one counseling with UNF Wellness dietitians through Nutrition Services. To make an appointment email [email protected] or [email protected].

UNF also offers many group fitness courses like Ab Attack, Booty Blast, Spin Class, and more. Here is the online schedule for these classes. Another resource to note is the gym’s Paul Shirly Assessment Center (PSAC) which offers tools to help Ospreys lead a healthier lifestyle. During the appointment, the PSAC tests five components of fitness: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Flexibility, Body Composition, and Cardio-Respiratory Endurance.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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