How to Stay Healthy in College

How to Stay Healthy in College

Frank the Tank

College is awesome.  It’s this unique time in your life where you get to experience living on your own for the first time and make friendships that last a lifetime.  But juggling classes, activities and a social life can sometimes mean exercise and veggies get put on the back burner.  Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of shots and 3 a.m.  milkshakes over the years!

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you cant have fun. Whether your a freshman moving into your first dorm (get excited!!!) or you’re a rising senior searching for a job (like me), these tips can help you stay fit while having the time of your life.

Take advantage of the gym

My friends and I at the Campus Rec Turkey Trot!

Most college gyms allow students free access to all exercise equipment, which is pretty clutch considering the average price of a gym membership is $55 A MONTH!  Trust me, take advantage of this luxury while you can.  Many colleges also offer an array of exercise classes like spinning and yoga.  A trip to the gym is my favorite way to relieve stress and is a great excuse for a study break!

Make the salad bar your best friend

Typical dining hall salad bar

Confession time: I’m a senior and still have a meal plan.  Yes, it’s true.  I just don’t have time want to cook or clean all those pots and pans.  Plus our dining facilities offer lots of healthy options.  If you’re not as lucky as I am, eating in the dining halls can be hard when endless amounts of pizza and cookies are calling your name.  However, most colleges have a salad bar available 24/7, so make it a habit to eat at least one a day.  Eat a giant salad with grilled chicken for lunch or as a side at dinner.

Bring snacks for long days

My favorite bars

Between classes, studying and other random shenanigans, there will be some days when you’re literally on campus for 12+ hours.  Make sure you bring along a couple of snacks for those hectic days.  The last thing you want is to not have time to eat and be starving by the time dinner rolls around, making it easier to binge on anything you can get your hands on.  I always like to pack a banana, bar or trail mix with me to eat in between classes.

Limit drinking to 2x a week

Friends & Champagne

In a perfect world, alcohol would be zero calories and chock full of vitamins and minerals.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Partying and socializing is part of what makes college fun, so it would be unrealistic (and boring) to stay sober just to be fit.  However, the freshman 15 mainly exists thanks to binge drinking.  Try and limit your alcohol intake to the weekends.  I like to go out on Thursdays and Saturdays so I have the rest of the week to study and catch up on sleep.  Trust me, your body will thank you for it!

Don’t stress out about it too much

While all these tips are very helpful, just remember that you’re at college to get a degree and explore your passions.  Gaining a few pounds wont define you as a person, so don’t restrict yourself so much that you miss out on some awesome experiences.  Sometimes we all need a little karaoke and late night pizza every once in a while.  You’re only in college for four years- take advantage of every second!

What are some of your tips for healthy living?

I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Email me at smilingmiler@gmail.com

Let’s hang out on Twitter and Instagram!

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Friday Favorites: Workout Edition

Friday Favorites: Workout Edition

Happy Friday! Any big plans for this weekend? I’m up in the North Carolina mountains for a long weekend getaway.  It’ll be nice to step away from the computer screens and go off the grid for a little bit.  We’re planning on taking a yoga class on top of a ski mountain and eating great food at the local restaurants!

If you’re in a workout slump or just want to mix it up, I totally get it.  Even runners want to mix it up every now and again!  Whether you want to squeeze in a ten minute workout or escape the gym for a few days, I found some great workouts for you to try this weekend:

Pop Pilates: Intense Ab Workout

If you’re looking for a quick video workout, this one is perfect.  Let me warn you though, it’s not easy.  My friends and I used to do this video together when we didn’t have time for a full workout, and man did we sweat!  Even though it’s only ten minutes, your abs will be on fire.  Check out the blogilates YouTube channel. She’s got so many great videos to choose from!

30 Minute Living Room Workout

If your goal is to chill at home this weekend, try this workout. It’s got everything covered: legs, arms, butt, core, chest and a bit of cardio thrown in.  The best part? There’s no need for equipment!  Instead of going to a gym, just do this in your living room or outside on a nice day.

Rainy Day Home Workout

Since the forecast calls for bad weather in North Carolina (booo), I thought I would share this workout with you all.  If you’ve read Jen’s blog, you know her workouts are no joke.  This one can be done at home too since it doesn’t require any equipment. You’ll feel the burn by the end of this one!

15 High-Intensity Workouts

Still want more options? Here’s a giant list of great workouts you can do pretty much anywhere.  A lot of these workouts include burpees, squats or push ups (or all three) so if you’re looking for a great strength workout, check out one of these!

Have a great weekend and happy sweating!

What are some of your favorite weekend workouts?

What’s your solution when you’re in a workout slump?

I’d LOVE to chat!

Email me at smilingmiler@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

Photo via 29secrets.com

The Best Workout Clothes for Fall

The Best Workout Clothes for Fall

            Fall is my favorite time of the year to buy clothes.   When I was a kid, one of our family traditions was to go down to the mall in August with my mom and sisters so we could stock up on the cutest new outfits for the school year.  Although I still go on a huge shopping spree before heading back to college, I also love bringing back some cute workout clothes for the upcoming cross country season.  As my coach always says, “Dress well, run well.”

Here are what I consider to be the best workout clothes for fall:

Shoes

Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 14

I kid you not; I’ve been wearing these shoes since I was a freshman in high school.  Why stray from what works, am I right?  Good running shoes are probably the most important piece of workout gear you own, and they can cause serious shin splints if you choose the wrong ones.  If you’ve got a low arch like me, these babies will do the trick.  Don’t forget to buy new ones every 6-8 months!

Socks

Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab

Socks are definitely an underrated clothing item.  A good pair can make your feet feel like they’re running on clouds.  This pair prevents blisters and has a mesh top so your feet won’t reek afterwards.  Plus they come in so many fun colors!  You should go ahead and stock up now because you won’t be able to wear any other socks after running in these.

Shorts

Nike Pro Core 3” Compression

I’m pretty picky when it comes to spandex shorts.  This pair, however, has passed my test with flying colors.  They’re tight, yet comfortable and stretchy.  The best part?  They don’t ride up while you’re working out!  Isn’t that amazing?  I guess those geniuses at Nike can figure out a solution to anything.

Sports Bra

C9 by Champion Women’s Compression Racer Sports Bra

These bras are honestly the most comfortable ones I own.  They aren’t too restricting, but they keep those puppies in place during a workout. I wear these sports bras everywhere- when I’m running, going to class, or just hanging out around my house.  It’s gotten to the point when I can barely remember what a real bra looks like.  Plus the price cannot be beat!

Top

Lululemon Power Y Tank

When it comes to workout tops, Lululemon is considered Queen Bee in my book.  In North Carolina it stays pretty hot in the fall, so I like running in tanks all the way through November.  The Power Y Tank is apparently meant for yoga, but I love how breathable and stretchy it feels during any kind of exercise.  It also comes with a shelf bra, which is perfect for my fellow small chested girls.

shoes/socks/shorts/sports bra/top

What are some of your favorite workout clothes?

I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Email me at: smilingmiler@gmail.com

Let’s chat on Twitter!

How to Make Running Your Friend

Hey everyone!

I’m going to let you in on a big secret: Sometimes, I don’t enjoy running.  Actually, it’s a little more than sometimes.  It’s more like half the time.  Even though I’ve been running 5ks for 10+ years, there are days when I literally have to drag myself out the door.  Ugh.  Don’t you just hate that feeling?

Well, over the years I’ve learned some mind tricks to help make running a little more bearable.  Running doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it can be more like a sister who you hate and love at the same time!

Don’t set expectations.

Saying things like, "I have to run 6 miles today" or "I have to go at this pace during my entire run" will most likely set you up for failure.  Your body is constantly changing everyday, so some runs may feel harder than others.  I find that when I just go with how my body feels, I end up with a good run and a confident attitude.

Grab a running buddy.

This is probably the most helpful tip I have.  When I run with teammates and friends, my runs are significantly easier and they go by so much quicker. Seriously, it’s like magic. Once you get talking, you’ll be done in no time.  If you want to increase your pace, it’s also a good idea to run with people who are a little bit faster than you. 

Me and one of my favorite running buddies!

Make a killer playlist.

When I’m running by myself (like right now during summer training), music distracts me from the pain or tiredness I feel in my body.  I have about 600 playlists on my phone and love to change up my song selections. I mostly listen to upbeat pop, rap and occasionally classic rock.  Let me know if you want me to post a running playlist on here!

Mix it up.

Running the same loop at the same pace everyday is super boring.  Search online for running trails near by.  I love doing trail runs because of the beautiful scenery and shaded paths.  It definitely beats the hot sidewalk. You could also try incorporating a few 30” to 60" speed intervals.  Not only do they break up the run, but they also get your heart rate going and increase your speed. Win, win!

A post-run breakfast makes it all worth it- veggie & ham omelet, turkey bacon and pumpkin apple bread

How do you make running more bearable?

I’d love to hear from you!

 Email me at smilingmiler@gmail.comm

Let’s talk on Twitter!

Just Do It: My First Blog Post!

Hello there, Internet!

After being an avid blog reader for many years, I fell in love with the idea of creating a blog that combines three of my passions: writing, running and eating delicious food.  But for so long I was paralyzed by the fears and doubts running through my head.  I’m terrible with technology (the TV remote is my sworn enemy) and I was afraid that creating a website would be an impossible process that was only capable by computer science majors and geniuses.

So I went back and forth on the idea until finally I realized I might as well go for it, because why the hell not? I really couldn’t think of a legitimate reason why I shouldn’t at least try.  So I clicked a few buttons, typed a few paragraphs, and here I am today!

I was also deeply inspired by this quote that an old wise man once told me:

(via Adweek.com)

Pretty original, eh?  Well I believe this saying applies to any challenge we face, whether it be writing a blog post or training for a 5k.  Usually the hardest part is lacing up your shoes and walking out the door.  It’s weird, sometimes the runs I dread the most turn out to be the most rewarding.  So if you get out there and just do it, what do you have to lose?

Want to learn more about me? Check out my About page.  I can’t wait to share my fitness tips and life adventures with you!

Feel free to email me any comments, questions, suggestions or a quick hello at smilingmiler@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter: @smilingmiler

I’m also planning on starting an Instagram account soon so be on the lookout for that!

Thanks for reading!

How do you motivate yourself to take on a challenge?

What would you like to see more of on this blog?