It’s possible to maintain a healthy diet and find time to workout as a student, even if you only eat at the Caf or don’t go to the gym, according to BYU-Hawaii exercise and sports science majors. Whether it’s portion control or choosing the right foods for your diet – and exercising through fun, non-workout physical activities or simply making the time to go to the gym – the EXS majors offered tips on how to stay healthy and active through college.
Some students living on campus can’t cook for themselves and rely on what the Club Dining Services, also known as the the Caf, provides. Rob Angerbauer, a sophomore from Texas, said he feels it’s possible to find healthy options at the Caf.
He said, “It’s not easy, but it’s possible. It’s all about being aware and conscious of the nutritional value of all the options and making good decisions based on your specific health.
“I'm very aware of the nutritional value of the foods they offer. Generally, if it’s good food and fits my diet for the day, I don’t worry about it. You just need to know what you need for your own goals.”
Rachel Roundy, a senior studying from Utah, said, “I have a block plan, so I go to the Caf at least four times week. I have eaten at the Caf since my freshman year, and I’ve seen them make a conscious effort to make more salads and better main entrée option. They have also started writing the calories of each food.
“You can eat well as long as you are in control of your portions. Everything is good in moderation. They usually have salad, chicken, brown rice, fruit in the morning, and eggs, which are all pretty healthy options.”
Omar Maldonado, a senior studying biomedicine, gave advice for portion control known as the hand rule. “If you look at your hand, the size and thickness of your palm is the amount you should eat, two servings of that for men and one for women.
“If you can do that with four meals a day, you'll be fine. It’s 80 percent accurate to an individual, which is a high percentage in the dieting world.”
Roundy said, “I always have breakfast. I get grumpy without breakfast. I feel the best when I'm not eating huge meals three times a day, but small snacks and decent sized meals allow me to spread my energy through working out, work, and the rest of my day. Eating late at night isn't the best.”
When tracking your food intake, Angerbauer suggested using an app. He uses My Fitness Pal. “It’s not hard to use and it helps you calculate and come up with your own goals. It lets you come up with what to eat, when to eat it, and just stay on track with your nutrition.”
Along with being aware of what you eat, working out will help you stay healthy. Maldonado said he works out six days a week. He stated, “My workout consist of strength, which is a functional movement like squats, benches, or cleans and snatches.”
According to Roundy, it’s good to have a rest day. She said, “I work out every day but Sunday. The intensity varies so that I don’t go crazy and get too tired. I take Wednesday as more of a rest day and play a sport I like or do yoga.”
Staying active and in shape doesn’t always require a gym or equipment, Roundy added. “I love playing tennis with people. I coach tennis, so it keeps me active. I love trying new things like learning new styles of dancing, paddle boarding, and hiking.”
Other things Maldonado does to stay physical include water activities like swimming or body surfing. He added, “I also like to go hiking or just go out and walk around for 20 minutes at night when its cooler.”
Sports like basketball are what Angerbauer enjoys for his down time. He said, “I really like to play basketball, and I try to play pick up when I can. It’s definitely a good workout and I love it.”
For students who struggle to find time to work out, Angerbauer said, “From what I’ve noticed, it’s all about where your priorities are at. Not just for me but for everyone. I don’t prioritize working out first, but I have it high up on the list and make sure to block out time to exercise every day.
Angerbauer continued, “It’s a time to decompress from all my responsibilities as a student–I can shut off my brain and take a break. It helps break up the monotony of studying and doing homework. When I exercise, I genuinely feel better and it clears my head and helps me destress. It also puts me in a better mood, which allows me to better focus on studying.”
Similarly, Roundy stated, “When I don’t work out, I feel more sluggish. My concentration is better when I’m more active. I like to read on the treadmill. I can focus more when I’m moving. I feel a big difference in my concentration level when I’m active.”
When asked to give advice on how to make a change, Roundy replied, “Just start. Don’t wait until the next week. Just do it. If you mess up, plan for that, you are bound to mess up, and you will have setbacks. But get back on track and don’t let it explode your whole plan.”
Maldonado offered, “Find what it is that you enjoy, whether it be running, swimming, surfing lifting, or yoga. Do that and stay with it. Make changes according to what you are pursuing. If you enjoy what you do, you’re more likely to stick with it.”
Angerbauer’s advice is, “Educate yourself and set goals to know what you want to accomplish fitness-wise and stay consistent. Don’t skip leg day.”