6 Best Ways to Beat Freshman Flab

By the SMU Social Media Team

While the jury’s still out on whether Freshman 15 — which refers to the supposed weight gain of 15 pounds in one’s freshman year — is more myth than fact, studies have shown that a combination of stress, a lack of exercise and the consumption of junk food does indeed lead to freshies putting on a couple of kilos. Here are some ways to keep your physical and mental health in check during the challenging first year at uni.


1. Join a CCA


Source (L-R): SMU Run Team Facebook and Yogismu Facebook


SMU has a wide range of clubs and societies, many of which have a fitness focus. Of particular interest is the SMU Run Team, which hosts weekly running and jogging sessions that routes around town. For the uninitiated, fret not – this is not a competitive team and comprises students as well as the occasional faculty member. The Run Team sends out schoolwide emails on a regular basis, so check it out if you wish to participate. Running not your thing? Feel free to join YogiSMU for some outdoor yoga sessions that take place at the SMU School of Law building rooftop.

But a good workout isn’t limited to just sports CCAs. Our dancers – from the likes of SMU Eurhythmix, SMU Caderas Latinas, SMU Ardiente, SMU INDANCITY, and many more – can tell you just how much of a workout they get during practice sessions!


Source: SMU INDANCITY Facebook


2. Maximise the Facilities



More of a solo warrior with an unpredictable schedule? Despite being a city campus, SMU is home to an impressive host of sports facilities where you could work out on your own. For one, there’s the newly renovated duplex gym packed with state-of-the-art equipment. On the first floor are free weights and machines, and plyo boxes for those interested in jump training exercises. Next, hike up to the second floor to try out an assortment of cardiovascular machines from treadmills to wind-resistance bikes. There are also battle ropes, kettlebells, and a multi-purpose cable attachment “jungle”.

Prefer running outdoors to pounding the treadmill? Campus Green boasts a jogging track so you could still enjoy the changing view and fresh air without having to meander around pedestrians and traffic.


3. Eat Well



A poor diet is one the biggest reasons for falling out of shape during the school semester – burning the midnight oil or having to rush from one class to the next inevitably leads to a junk food fix. That said, it is possible to eat well even in a rush. The school’s cafeteria, Koufu, has a salad stall for a veggie-licious meal, or venture to the CBD to try out a range of paleo bowls or salads. They serve healthy, high-protein or high-fibre options that are not loaded with fat and sugars. Or pack healthy snacks of carrot sticks and trail mixes to avoid reaching for a bag of fries.

Salad and Poke bowls aren’t for everyone, of course. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a balanced meal. Just remember, it’s all about moderation and making good choices that your body will love you for.


4. Beat Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of university life. And while some amount of pressure keeps you motivated, being overly stressed often results in a dip in productivity and performance. When you’re feeling low, it’s also tempting to turn to food for comfort. Emotional eating is an unhealthy cycle — you start by craving for a McFlurry or nachos when you’re too overwhelmed by a big assignment or test. That weight gain from consuming unhealthy comfort food could then lead to feeling even more down, perpetuating the endless cycle of stress eating. To break the cycle, tackle the root of your problem. Listening ears are always available at the Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre, where you could also pick up tips and techniques to reduce and manage stress.


5. Get More Shuteye




While sleep deprivation seems to be a given once you start uni, it doesn’t mean that you should always rely on power naps instead of getting a proper night’s rest. Apart from giving your body the time to recover from a long day, adequate sleep is needed to recharge and maintain focus. Besides, being perpetually exhausted means you hardly have the energy to work out or avoid unhealthy food cravings. The lack of sleep even affects your hunger and fullness hormones, causing you to overeat. And hands up if you’ve ordered that double shot, full milk latte with extra whipped cream and hazelnut syrup after an all-nighter? Enough said.


6. Keeping Regular Mealtimes

Young woman is eating breakfast cereal


It is difficult to maintain regular mealtimes when one’s class schedule varies from day to day. However, this is no excuse to skip meals, especially breakfast as hunger tends to return with a vengeance. Giving the most important meal of the day a miss can give rise to binge eating later in the day, or cravings for high calorie treats. Enjoy a healthy, high-protein breakfast like a peanut butter-covered wholegrain bagel, or even soft-boiled eggs with a glass of milk, to feel satiated and ready to take on the day.