Worried about getting fat in college?
With a combination of dining hall fried food, heavy beer consumption, and late-night Taco Bell being the norm, there’s no question that many students will worry about their weight.
That’s obvious, especially with friends who are bad influences and encourage these food binges plus multiple weeks without working out.
But what’s not so obvious is how much you should weigh and how you’re doing on the health spectrum. If you’re not a kinesiology major, you likely have no clue.
Sure, when you put on a tight shirt you might notice a few pounds in places you wish they didn’t show. Or jeans that used to fit are now tough to put on and take off. But this general feeling of weight gain could be in your head.
So because of these changes you notice, you might stand naked in front of a body mirror to take a good hard look at yourself. But the human eye also has its limitations in evaluating body weight.
You recognize this and think you have the perfect solution.
Doing what you haven’t done since high school, you decide to weigh yourself to get a specific number to evaluate. Then you’ll know how you’re doing, you think.
However, the weight you see on the scale leaves more to be desired. Looking at weight alone is actually misleading because it doesn’t account for your height. And since it doesn’t include your height, it can’t accurately relay your health and fitness status.
For example, a person who is 5 foot tall and another who is 6 foot tall are going to have a completely different healthy weight and unhealthy weight.
Because they fail to add height into the mix, the majority of students have no idea what’s a healthy weight for them.
Instead of failing to know what you should weigh based on the eye-test or a scale, there’s a better way to know if you’re underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. It’s called your body mass index (BMI).
Check Your BMI Score
Because 200 pounds means skinny for one person and fat for another depending on their height, a better solution is to punch in your height and weight into a body mass index calculator to find your BMI score.
The BMI is a tool to assess your weight status based on your height and weight. This is a much better way to analyze your weight than some random idea in your head or comparing what you weigh now to what you think you weighed in high school.
That’s why everyone should regularly check their BMI score to understand their health and fitness status. It’s not difficult and takes only seconds to get your results.
To see your body mass index score, simply type in your height and weight into this BMI Calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. After you get your score, compare it to the chart below.
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = 30–39.9
Morbidly Obese = 40+
I typed in my height of 6 foot 4 inches and weight of 185 pounds, and my BMI score is 22.5—which is in the normal weight category. I expected I’d be in the normal weight category because I practice discipline each week in going to the gym and eating healthy. Plus my 6’4’’ frame certainly makes it easier for my body to spread out the weight.
Before we discuss your results, I find it interesting to add 10 to 20 pounds to your weight and see how your body mass index score changes. Maybe this extra weight brings you into the overweight or obese category. This exercise is motivating in itself, because 10 to 20 pounds can creep up on you over time.
And being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese is frightening because this causes some of the ailments below:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Osteoarthritis (joint problem of the knees, hips, and lower back)
- Sleep apnea
- Reproductive problems in women
At the worst, we all know that we can lose years off of our lives from being overweight or obese. I’m not trying to scare you. But I do want to communicate that the negative consequences of too much body fat are real.
(To note, BMI is a solid reference point, but it’s not perfect. Genetics play into your weight as well. If you want the most accurate and extensive information regarding your health, set up a consultation with a health professional.)
Take An Honest Look At Your Results
There are two healthy responses to take from your results and they both are possible by only being honest with yourself.
For the people who are content with their BMI and are at normal weight, this is a testament that you’re treating your body well through eating for energy and exercising regularly. Let this good news motivate you to continue what you’re doing because it’s working.
Establishing solid habits as a young adult will lead to a healthy lifestyle that you continue for the rest of your life. And don’t stop with what’s working, because there’s always room for progress.
If you weren’t happy with your BMI category of overweight or obese, don’t get too discouraged. Getting upset about your results doesn’t accomplish any good or help you lose weight. And the good news is that now you know where you stand—the first step in change is awareness. Plus, as a young adult you have plenty of time to improve.
With your awareness that you need change, the next step is to take positive actions so you feel, look, and become healthier. Continue reading to see how you can improve and reverse the cycle of getting fat in college.
How You Can Improve Your Body Weight
Whether the the freshman 15 already happened or you’re worried about the sophomore 30, there are action steps you can take to lose weight and improve your body.
1. The single best way to lose extra pounds is to follow a healthy eating plan. Changing your diet away from fats and sugars to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will make a big difference. Another helpful tip is to buy smaller plates, or to decide not to eat the entire plate on regular plate sizes. If you study abroad, you’ll notice their portions are much smaller than in the U.S. and it’s a reason they’re skinnier. (For some healthy food ideas, read Easy Healthy Meals For College Students.)
2. Consistently working out will help your body shed unnecessary weight and gain energy for the day. Working out is nice because this will also encourage you to eat healthier so you get more results for all your effort. And when you’re feeling down about yourself or your day, I recommend the first thing you do is to work out to release endorphins.
3. You can also get exercise without going to gym. Do active things you enjoy like playing basketball, playing tennis, swimming, doing yoga, or running. You’ll have a good time and get solid cardio exercise in for the day. For those who struggle making time for the gym, it’s a good idea to start with active activities you enjoy and then transition to lifting weights and doing cardio at the gym.
4. I’m a huge believer in drinking water during the day. Besides all of its other benefits to your body, drinking water will help curb the snacks you eat when you’re bored or think you’re hungry, but you’re actually not. If you want specifics, I recommend drinking half your body weight in water each day, and doing a water drinking challenge to get started.
5. Getting enough sleep is critical if you’re trying to lose weight and become healthier. Because research suggests that people who get too little sleep often weigh more than those who do get enough sleep. This is likely caused by a host of reasons, like being awake longer so you eat more, have less energy to exercise, and sleep deprivation messing up your body’s appetite functions. Look at these sleep tips to get a good night’s rest.
6. When you’re overwhelmed or stressed, a natural response is to find comfort in eating, hence the phrase “comfort food.” Instead, a better solution than eating your day away is to find a healthy escape off campus. Go for a run, hike in a park, or read at a coffee shop. This will help you release stress without adding all the calories and fat in the process.
7. Stop procrastinating on your school assignments if you want to lead a healthier life. It’s impossible to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough rest when you’re up until 6 AM finishing a paper. Ideally you plan ahead and knock your papers out like a champ. But if you’re in a major pinch, consider using an essay writing service to take a burden off your plate.
Do you know what country has the highest number of obese and overweight people in the world?
The answer is America and I’m sure you’re not surprised. With our big plates, cheap food, and affordable luxuries, there’s a lot of unhealthy food going in our system mixed with little exercise. That’s how Americans got so fat.
I know many Americans are out of shape, but it’s a shocking statistic that two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Think about that. It’s absurd!
Because of this trend, we certainly know friends and family members who are overweight, and this is dangerous to our psyche.
We can allow our self-talk to say at least I’m not as bad as my friend David. Or we say Suzy gets to eat whatever she wants all the time, it’s not fair. With this self-talk, we lose motivation to make positive changes for ourself.
So don’t go down this path. Instead, recognize they’re different people and this is about you.
That’s why the right mindset is to ignore everyone else around you when it comes to this area. Focus on improving your BMI, make a goal for yourself, and take the actions above in the bullet point list.
If someone is offering you support, like an exercise partner, that’s fine. But many people won’t like the change because it makes them feel bad about themselves. And they won’t be happy that you won’t join them at McDonald’s anymore. Ignore them!
Obviously you don’t want the diseases related to obesity later in life and that’s a reason to become healthier. But don’t underestimate the immediate benefits like having more energy throughout the day and feeling more confident about your body. These can change your life in more ways than you imagine.
Successful students treat their body right to perform at a high level. Join them by getting started today!
30 Day Plank Challenge: Plank For 5 Minutes On Last Day
Imagine how pumped up you’re going to be after you complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge? You’ll feel like a rockstar, with abs to prove your hard work.
What I appreciate about the plank is that it’s totally a matter of willpower when it comes to who is willing to get on the ground and do it and who is not.
You don’t need to be tall, fast, strong, or have any physical quality to do this activity. It just comes down to are you a hard worker or not?
This choice alone separates successful people from others in this physical arena and all areas of life, honestly—which I love.
It’s also always wise to test yourself every once in awhile. Since the last personal challenge on Take Your Success happened eight months ago (the gratitude challenge), there’s no more time for slacking.
So for this edition we’re going to be tackling the plank exercise for an entire month straight.
Before we get into the specifics of this challenge, you first need to know the many benefits of planking.
Health Benefits Of The Plank Exercise
I doubt you’re informed about all of the various ways your body thrives when you plank on a consistent basis.
Let’s change that and boost your motivation by learning the pros of staying in the plank position.
Strengthen your core – Planks are arguably the safest and best exercise to strengthen your body’s core since it activates all muscles in this area. Do this exercise enough and you’ll build strong inner core muscles that will pay off for daily function and a sexy appearance.
Flatten your abs – Not everyone wants a glorious six pack, but we could all use a more tightened stomach and abs for when we take our shirt off. Of course diet is more than half the battle for a smooth stomach, but don’t discredit the power of planking to flatten your abs and bring you more confidence about your physical appearance.
Better your posture – By planking, you improve the alignment of your spine, joints, and bones. This helps your body move more efficiently and healthy during every day activities. And better posture improves the first impression you give to others, your body’s energy, and, heck, sitting straighter at a work meeting could be the signal of confidence that persuades your boss to give you a raise.
Reduce back pain – We just covered how better posture improves how you present yourselves to others and feel every day. Though a straightened spine also means less back pain. This study finds that almost 80% of Americans will have back pain sooner or later. That’s a warning sign that we all should plank more often to reduce this nagging affliction.
Become more athletic – With a more stabilized core, your body’s coordination increases allowing your athleticism to improve. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate some extra athleticism whether it’s needed at the gym, a sports league with your friends, or some random work event that uses your core muscles.
Speed up your metabolism – Want to lose weight and burn more calories? The plank also delivers in this area, and does much better than crunches or regular ab exercises. The best part of this movement is that it forces your body to continue to burn calories long after you’re done with it, so you get to enjoy a sped up metabolic rate the rest of the day—even when you’re sleeping.
Decrease odds of injury – Doing the plank is wonderful from an injury-prevention perspective because it strengthens your body’s core while not putting too much pressure on your hips, spine, and back muscles. Plus a stronger core means your body has a bigger shield, in a sense, to prevent bodily injuries.
Improve your mood – When you exercise your core with a long and hard plank routine, you release stress from the nervous system to improve your overall mood. That’s why planking can ease your mental worries and lighten your depression since it gives your body an outlet for feeling mentally and physically weighed down.
How can you say you don’t love the plank exercise now? Make this exercise a part of your daily routine and all of those benefits come to you.
To help you follow through, follow an official daily schedule for one entire month.
30 Day Plank Challenge Rules
The goal of the regimented schedule below is to both build up the strength of your core and hold you accountable.
Stick with this schedule without missing a day and you’re going to be shocked at what you can physically accomplish in just one month.
Here’s the daily schedule to complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge:
- Day 1: 20 seconds
- Day 2: 20 seconds
- Day 3: 30 seconds
- Day 4: 30 seconds
- Day 5: 40 seconds
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: 45 seconds
- Day 8: 45 seconds
- Day 9: 1 minute
- Day 10: 1 minute
- Day 11: 1 minute
- Day 12: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 13: Rest
- Day 14: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 15: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 16: 2 minutes
- Day 17: 2 minutes
- Day 18: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 19: Rest
- Day 20: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 21: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 22: 3 minutes
- Day 23: 3 minutes
- Day 24: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 25: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 26: Rest
- Day 27: 4 minutes
- Day 28: 4 minutes
- Day 29: 4 ½ minutes
- Day 30: 5 minutes
Don’t be frightened by the thought of planking for 5 minutes on day 30. By that point you’ll have significantly strengthened your core and trained your mind to stick in there when things get tough.
The hardest part will be to actually get started and then maintain proper form while planking. The latter is what I’m going to cover next.
What’s Proper Planking Form?
You’ll defeat the purpose of this challenge and lose out on the physical benefits of planking if your form is terrible.
Keep it right and tight to maximize the core gains that are sure to come after you do the following routine, step-by-step for the next month.
This is proper plank form:
- Get into push-up position.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms.
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line.
- Look at the floor and relax your head.
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate.
See what I mean that anyone can do it?
It’s a simple exercise when you consider the fact you need no gym equipment, no weights, no workout partner, and no specific environment to start planking and strengthening your core.
Exercises like this don’t discriminate from the poor who can’t afford fancy gyms, so no one has an excuse for why they can’t plank to get better.
Take It 1 Day At A Time
Like any great individual journey, you’ll perform best if you stay laser focused to take this challenge one day at a time.
It does you no good to worry about how you’re going to plank as long as you need to reach next week’s time when today is the only mission that matters. Stick to today, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
If it helps, know that I’m going to be busting my tail to complete this 30 Day Plank Challenge as well.
We’re in this together. You got this, I got this, and we got this!
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.