[Content warning: this article contains discussion of body image. Reader discretion is advised]
I was shocked when I got home and realized I had gained 15 pounds. First off, of course no teenage girl will be too thrilled about this. But what really shook me was how it even happened. Sure I snacked a lot and barely went to the gym, but none of that was new. I wasn’t ever particularly the “wake up at 6am to go running and drink those green juices where you’re never really sure what is in them” type of girl. I had heard of the freshman 15 before, but honestly thought it a myth moms made up to make sure their kids ate broccoli when no one was there to spoon feed it to them anymore.
But here I was – not just a Freshman, but a Freshman 15.
After crying to my mom for an hour asking how on earth this could have happened I started getting flashbacks of me and my friends eating nothing but Louie’s for nights on end, spending every post-frat party moment ordering the mozzarella sticks at Nasty’s, and taking weekly trips to Purity when prelim season became too much to handle. I soon had solved the mystery and moved from denial to acceptance. But the next obvious question was – now what?
Let me preface this by saying my mom is the most disciplined, fit 52-year-old woman you’ve ever met – oh, and also a pilates teacher. So after sitting down with her for an hour I had compiled a full page worth of what to eat, what not to eat, and how to stay active. I returned to Ithaca full of hope and with a bag full of workout clothes.
But a week later when my first free moment arrived (Mom, I hate to break this to you) – the last thing I was about to do was strap on leggings and a sports bra and head to Helen Newman. After a long week of classes, cramming for prelims, writing 10 page papers, and trying to go to sleep at a somewhat reasonable hour, when that glorious time came where everything on my to-do-list was checked off, I put on sweatpants and binged watching every Sex and The City episode.
We’re Cornellians – we have a lot on our plate. But we should not be punished for having no time to go to the gym by gaining 15 pounds. And then I realized, there are plenty of ways to stay active on campus even if you’re just as lazy as me!
- Use public restrooms: With today’s current public health climate and just basic common sense, you should always be squatting when you use public restrooms. If there’s no seat cover to put down, then do not ever actually make contact with those toilets. But guess what – these daily trips to the bathroom will turn into a great thigh workout! After a couple of trips to the bathroom you’ll definitely start to feel the burn.
- Sleep through your alarm: This is a fun little game I made up after I woke up at 8:50 for a 9:05 class that I like to call “How sweaty can you show up to class?” The beauty of this exercise is that it allows for multiple health benefits – extra sleep and breaking a sweat.
- Go to Mann Library during prelim season: Now, this may be something you already are prone to doing, and just haven’t realized that it can be equally beneficial to running on the treadmill for forty minutes. The thing about Mann is that there are four floors, with plenty of tables, and somehow never a place to sit. You could be walking around for half an hour before you find that perfect spot – and walking is great exercise!
- Take a study break and go out: Make sure you pick a place with good music because the better the music, the better the dancing, the better the workout. This workout can be enhanced even more if you find a party in a cramped room where there are no apparent windows open. My mom once told me to sign up for hot yoga, a yoga class that takes place in a sauna, but windowless frat parties that play the Mama Mia soundtrack is basically the same thing. Right, mom?
- Speaking of going out, try going to Level B: If you’re someone who likes routine in their workouts (such as doing 10 pushups, 10 sit ups, and repeating) then this is the workout for you. First, make sure the bouncer at Level B sees you get rejected from Hide Away and then slowly take the walk of shame across the street. Then, wait on the line to get into Level B. Show them your shitty fake ID. Get rejected. Go to the back of the line. Repeat. The constant walking up and down the street will not only help build muscles and stamina, but it will definitely ruin any shred of hope you had that it would be a good night too.
- Delete InstaCart: We have become so accustomed to having everything delivered to us right at our doorstep that we have forgotten the main perk of actually getting up and going to a grocery store: you don’t have to go to the gym if you do! Take a trip to Wegmans and try to find literally anything. An hour in, you’ll find yourself running around from aisle to aisle with only two things checked off your shopping list sweating and tired. By the time your trip is over, you deserve to eat every last bit of delicious snack you probably just purchased.
- We go to Cornell: When Ezra Cornell said “any person, any study” I don’t think he was including those of us that physically cannot make it three steps up a hill without panting. For some reason Cornell was built on one giant slope (with a bunch of other mini slopes too). Whether you’re going to the Arts Quad, Ag Quad, or The Statler, you’re guaranteed to come across a couple of hills along the way. So, even if you are doing absolutely nothing to stay active, and like me your mom is constantly reminding you to stay healthy and workout, just remember you go to Cornell – and that’s enough of a work out!
And of course, that freshman 15 has got nothing on us.
*Warning: all sources are that of personal experience and zero facts have been checked.*
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