Freshman 15, Keeping Fit!
Keeping fit counts, it helps mentally as well as physically. The phrase “Freshman 15” happens- it may not be 15, it may just be 5 or 10 extra pounds gained that first year of college, but there is a way to keep fit! I for one gained at least 15 pounds my first semester at college; definitely not my finest moment. I went from living at home with set meal times and not an overabundance of snacks (and definitely not alcohol even though the drinking age was 18 at the time) to live in Gainesville with late-night socializing, delivery of every food imaginable from pizza to ice cream and no exercising except for walking to class. We did not have a fitness center on campus included in our tuition. But even with the amazing fitness centers available to today’s students, many students do gain weight. My daughters chalk it up to late night pizzas (after drinking) and the food at their sorority not being the healthiest.
I am not here to pass judgment as not every student will gain weight and not every student drinks or belongs to a sorority. My main purpose is to say that even for students on a tight budget, it is possible to eat healthy, exercise and not gain the freshman 15. Let’s address exercising. UF’s Southwest Recreation center recently underwent full renovations. I do not know if students today realize how fortunate they are to have a facility that includes strength and conditioning rooms, basketball courts, racquetball courts, and gymnasium for indoor soccer, handball and basketball, cardio room on both floors, massage therapy, training, locker rooms and a social lounge, to help them stay comfortably fit.
Staying fit has never been so easy. The fitness center also has all types of classes including Bootcamp, cardio, spin, yoga and meditation, Zumba, barre and more. The schedule can be found here. There is another fitness center located on Fletcher Drive. It too has a strength and conditioning room, cycle studio, racquetball courts, squash courts, cardio and a gym to play basketball, volleyball or for martial arts. These two great fitness centers aside, many students prefer to run stadiums, a tradition of UF students. This involves running down the steps in the stadium and then back up moving from section to section. It is open free for students and an amazing workout. An added advantage is being able to watch the football team in practice if they time it properly.
UF students also get into Lake Wauburg for free with their Gator 1 Card and they can bring up to four guests. Lake Wauburg has swimming, boating, volleyball, a team development course, climbing wall. They are closed on Mondays. If you played team sports growing up, you can still get involved with UF’s intramural sports leagues which last 5-6 weeks. There are leagues for softball, indoor volleyball, indoor soccer, racquetball, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, team tennis, kickball, basketball, flag football, a golf scramble and so much more- even a cornhole tournament. See here for schedules. Many of the sororities and fraternities also have competitive sports teams as well. And for those students who can’t quite give up their at home workouts, Gainesville has two Orange Theory locations – my daughter’s roommates go to Orange Theory choosing the two sessions per week package.
For those Crossfit fanatics, there are several locations including Gator CrossFit which has been in Gainesville for over eight years. My daughters belonged to LA Fitness. There is currently not a location in Gainesville so I chose to cancel their membership. But if your student belonged to Youfit, you will be happy to know that Gainesville has a location on SW 34th Street. Depending on their membership, they may be able to use it at this location provided it is not a single club access membership.
Another popular workout, more for the female UF students is Pure Barre. UF’s Fitness Center does offer barre classes but for those longing for this type of workout, they can head over to this studio. They offer a student discount with valid student ID. Finally, the UF campus and surrounding community offer outdoor runners some beautiful running trails. The website, Mapmyrun, created by other runners, shows courses that take you around the entire campus, some as long as five miles. Of course, it is always advised to run with a buddy especially if you are running in the early morning or at dusk. Safety should always come first.