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You always hear about the oh-so-dreaded “Freshman 15,” but you’ve also got to worry about the “Sophomore 15,” the “Junior 15” and the “Senior 15.”

I definitely put on some pounds throughout my college years, and I wish I would have avoided this by just exercising on a regular basis. If I had done that, I would’ve had it a lot easier down the road.

The fact is that as a college student, you’ve got it pretty easy to stay in shape. Not only are you getting some exercise from running around campus to get from class to class, but you’ve got a free gym membership and a flexible schedule. You also may have access to group exercise classes at the school gym … take advantage of these.

Here are a few things that I’m trying to work on that I wanted to share with you:

Don’t make excuses

There will always be something you’d rather being doing than going to the gym. For me, it’s usually watching the latest episode of the Real Housewives series or getting an extra hour of sleep, but you’ve got to rise above the excuses and get your butt to the gym, regardless of whatever you would rather be doing. I’ve found it helps to go to the gym during a show or football game I want to watch. It keeps me distracted and makes my workout a little bit more bearable.

Avoid rewarding yourself with food

When I worked at the college newspaper, I had the weirdest/latest hours in the world. I would usually get on campus around 10 or 11 a.m. for classes and get to the newsroom around 5 p.m. I typically wouldn’t leave the newsroom until 11 p.m. or midnight … which made trying to eat healthy very hard. I got into a bad habit of stopping off at the 24-hour Sonic most nights after I got off work to reward myself for a long night of work. Don’t do it! Buy some snacks you can eat and keep at home for those late-night cravings.

Get a gym buddy

I hate letting people down, so having a gym buddy helps me. I feel guilty ditching my buddy when I don’t go to the gym, which gives me an extra dose of motivation to get my butt off the couch. I loved going to the gym with my best friend in college because we would catch up on the latest gossip while we were on the elliptical … talk about productive chats! Make a friend that is interested in health, possibly a RN to MSN student!

Go for walks

A little bit of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Even if you only have the time/energy to take a lap around the apartment complex, you’re still getting some exercise into your schedule. I try to take my dog on longer walks when I can to help keep both of us in shape. Even if you don’t have a dog, you can ask a friend with a dog to see if you can take him or her on a walk. Having a pet around makes exercise a little more fun!

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