The fresher’s guide to fitness

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University is the ultimate new start: three years to meet new people and be whoever you want. You’ve finally gotten your independence (no mum nagging you to move your dirty washing from the bathroom floor, amiright?)

You’ve reached second semester and I can pretty much guarantee most of you are feeling less healthy than when you first started in September. First semester is an adventure, full of pizza, alcohol and midnight study session munchies (Maryland cookies, anyone?). All sounds like great fun really until you move into your second semester post-Christmas, at least 5lbs heavier, and yes, it will show!

If you’re feeling a bit conscious about your muffin top this term, try working the ideas below into your routine.

Join the gym. You really don’t need to be super fit already to join a gym, that’s the point of starting out! I know it can be scary, all those strange looking weights machines you have no idea how to use and those ripped guys in the far corner that you are sure are watching you struggle and judging. Believe me, it’s not that intimidating! Book an induction so you get to know the basics, then once you are a bit more used to the idea of a gym and actually sweating, book a session with one of the trainers so they can build you a targeted program (muffin top getting you down? maybe it’s those wobbly thighs?). They are really friendly, honest, and are there to help you, so use them!

Fitness classes. Fitness classes can be really fun and they are a great way to meet new people. People
tend to bond when they are both struggling to follow the Zumba moves or keep up with the trainer in Circuit Training. Maybe you could try something a bit wild, Pole Fitness for example, a great way to increase core strength and tone the rest of the body. Experiment, you’ll never know if you don’t try!

Team sport. Universities have loads of teams you could get involved with, whether you want to play
competitively against other universities or you just fancy a bit of fun. Alternatively you can join your local women’s team. Playing for a team is an amazing way to make friends. As well as building up the camaraderie between people, the teams and societies tend to have a lot of socials which is good for getting to know people.

• Take up running. If all this is still sounding a bit daunting, just grab your trainers and start running! Nothing is easier than running, you don’t need any specialist equipment, just a pair of trainers, some headphones and a bottle of water. Don’t worry, it’s not the speed you run at or how far you can run, the fact that you just got started is enough to begin with. Also, the great thing about running is that your body gets used to it quickly and you quickly improve, which is good motivation to carry on!

Still not convinced? The benefits you will gain from exercise are truly limitless, as well as lessening the risk of problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, it has lots of incredible other benefits. Exercise can relieve stress, improve mental health, boost confidence and help combat tiredness. It’s also proven that exercise can improve memory and enable the brain to learn better (think of those exams!).

In addition to feeling terrific, you’ll also begin to look great too – just as an added extra! Exercise will reduce your body fat overall, so you will begin to see that flat stomach appearing and those niggly bits of cellulite on the backs of your thighs disappearing.

Once you get into it, it’s hard to stop! My ultimate piece of advice is just don’t give up if you feel like you are seeing no changes in your body or you still can’t run up that hill without stopping, fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.


Words by Kelsie Marsden

Jess is your Deputy Editor

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