I got a a great question from a reader, Hannah who is in college and trying to maintain fitness. She wanted to know what I did to stay in shape in college.
Umm…let’s see. There was Dominoes pizza and keg beer and donut holes every Tuesday morning at the dining hall. I got a lot of exercise diving off the fireplace mantel at Lamda Chi and running to class because I was late.
I still did have a little gymnast in me, though:
There were the occasional bursts of motivation my freshman year as the pounds crept on. I would go out to move my body in some way, shape or form (aerobics was cool at the time). My 8th floor dorm room overlooked the school track. At that point in my life track and cross country and anything running were completely foreign to me. I had never run a race or further than two miles. I never once ran on that track (I did however, rappel off of my building. See me go:).
The actual view from my room:
JMU – Go Dukes!
I pretty much did NOTHING until my junior year. My apartment-mate had run marathons and had become a strong cyclist. She introduced me to riding. I bought a bike and we would go on 20 to 30 mile rides through the Mennonite country east of the small town of Harrisonburg, Virginia. I fell in love with cycling, with being out in the open country and away from college life for a few hours. Plus, the calories burned gave me more of an excuse to eat and drink crap. Yet, I still only did this once a week or so.
Cycling became kind of my haven, my escape. It also kept me in semi-shape. At that time I hated my thighs, which I thought were too big (i.e., muscular). My boyfriend at the time encouraged me to stop cycling if I wanted smaller thighs and to lay around more. He was such a good influence.
Of course I am the one with her dress hiked up the highest
I wish I could say I did more, but really, I was inconsistent at best. I ate terribly. I drank cheap beer. My favorite food was Velveeta mac and cheese with brussel spouts thrown in (preferably eaten at midnight). I spent a semester in Paris where I sat on my ass and ate almond croissants and drank huge bowls of café au lait for breakfast (yes, you know if you’ve spent time in France, they are bowls, not cups or mugs. Best way ever to have coffee, IMHO).
I guess this all goes to show you that it is not the end of the world if you aren’t in tip top shape while in college or at certain points in your life. We all go through ups and downs, times when we’re quite fit and times when our pants are tight and we hibernate.
For me, with all of the social and academic distractions of college, I just didn’t make tons of time for working out. While I gained a few pounds (5-10?) it wasn’t the end of the world. I did what I could to be active, but weight and exercise did not rule my life.
But, it is never too late. My true secret is that I am the poster child for doing very little until I turned 40, then getting in good shape. Sure I cycled some in college and the years following, but once I started grad school and then began popping out kids, I literally did nothing for an entire decade.
While I’m not advocating being a sloth and slug, I am saying that if you have been pretty inactive for years, or gained a bunch of weight while pregnant and then sat around for awhile, it’s okay. Start now.
Pick a goal, big or small and go for it. You don’t have to jump to marathon right off the bat – but pick something you can work towards and be proud of. Take the word CAN’T out of your vocabulary and never let anyone talk you out of doing something you want to do. In fact, never let yourself talk you out of something you want to do.
You’ve heard the saying, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” Think about that. Now, think about it again. This is the one life you get, right here, right now. How do you want to live it? Do you want to turn around in four, five, ten years and realize you are in the same place you were before? Take charge. It is YOU who has the most to lose of you don’t make it happen. Plus, the people around you have a lot to gain from you being the happiest, most fulfilled self you can be.
Have you been in exercise/training slumps? How do you pull yourself out?
What was your college workout routine? Slug or superstar?
Ever been rappelling?