A Fit and Social Lifestyle in College

Morning! Howโ€™s your day going so far? Hope youโ€™re having a lovely day <3

Last night, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite salads:

greek salad

Greek Quinoa and Chickpea salad!

The ingredients:

-cooked quinoa

-sliced grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, chopped cucumber, chopped bell pepper

-fresh parsley + mint

-goat cheese ๐Ÿ˜€

-seasoned with: lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, sea salt and pepper

I enjoyed mine salad beast style:

greek salad2

and the Pilot had a bowl of quinoa salad, along with organic chicken and salad greens.


We dined al fresco, with Bella at our feet, wishing and hoping for some crumbs to fall ๐Ÿ˜‰

She eventually gave up and came inside to pout. She wouldnโ€™t even look at the camera.


(of course, we ended up giving her some bites of chicken when we were finished eating)

So since August is here (and itโ€™s going to be AWESOME), and many readers will be heading back to school the end of this month or early next month, some people may be wondering how theyโ€™re going to maintain the fitness routine theyโ€™ve stuck with over the summer in addition to studying and fun, college-y things ๐Ÿ™‚

Hereโ€™s a snippet from an email I received yesterday:

I’m an undergraduate in college with a bit of a unique situation, as I both work and go to school full time (though I’m almost done with the school part — graduation in May!!). I do this because I am 1) super ambitious, 2) probably rushing through life and 3) not in love with the traditional college life…mostly partying. However, most to all of my friends are still in that booze-cruise, binge-drink lifestyle that I don’t at all disagree with, but I know isn’t for me. I want to wake up at 5:30am and get in a beast workout. Essentially, the only thing I want spinning is my cycle, not my head, and the only thing I want to make me feel like barfing is too many burpees, not to many beverages. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you have any advice for how to manage being social with the out-till-3am friends while still working on getting in the best shape?

That is very much how I felt during college.


(Junior year, studying with baby Bella)

I worked 2 jobs (teaching at the dance studio and retail on the weekends), danced every night, and my grades were the #1 most important thing to me. After losing 40 lbs my freshman year of college, I really didnโ€™t want to unravel my hard work by constantly boozing it up, or let my grades slip from staying out too late instead of studying. It was also difficult because many of my college friends were hardcore partiers, and I didnโ€™t want to seem antisocial by declining their constant invitations to party and hang out.

Some tips that helped me:

-Pick one night each week to go out super late, and have the next day be an โ€œoffโ€ day from the gym. This way, you can still go out and enjoy a late night without the thought of a long run or crazy training sesh looming over your head.

-Instead of overdoing it on the drinks, have one, sip it slowly and then roll with club soda and lime the rest of the night. Usually by this point, other people are so doneski that they have no idea or care as to what youโ€™re drinking. [<— this is a tip I posted when I first started the blog. Itโ€™s a great little trick]

-Surround yourself with fitness-minded friends. By working out at the student rec center, I was able to meet other people who were as much into fitness as I was and didnโ€™t want to spend all of their time drinking or partying. They actually asked to (gasp!) go out for a run instead of challenge me to a round of beer pong. If you have friends with the same goals that you do, it makes sticking to things SO much easier.

-If you do go out during the week, homework first, avoid drinking (I always told everyone I lived far away and had to drive home, which was true) and peace out early. This way, your night wonโ€™t affect the next day.

What other tips would you add? Was fitness and health a priority to you during college?

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  1. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on August 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve gone the 1st 3 years of my undergraduate degree reading your blog, and your info definitely helped me stay on track. Now I’m in year 4 and I have a healthy living blog to show for it ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are truly an inspiration to me!

    • Fitnessista on August 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      great job!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Madeline (Food Fitness & Family) on August 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I think you nailed it! I played the same cards in college – holding on to one drink for the night. I would drink a vodka/water with lemon and when I would switch to straight water no one knew ๐Ÿ™‚

    The only thing I did differently was join a gym off-campus … I was in Greek life and I felt like the Student Rec center had ALL my friends there ALL the time and I would end up socializing and not working out the hardest. Paying the $25 monthly off-campus was a great decision for me because 1. People there were more focused and 2. I felt more of an incentive to work-out because I was paying for it haha

    • Stephanie on August 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      I did the same thing! The Student Rec Center was like one big schweaty party. I joined a gym off campus and worked out more frequently because of it. Working out truly became me time when I gave up the free rec center and decided to make the investment.

  3. Hilary on August 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I’m a college sophomore and EXACTLY like the girl who wrote you for advice and how you were in college. I’m not a partier or drinker and it’s so hard to get people to understand that it’s just not my thing. I’d rather be up early at the gym and feeling healthy. Thanks for the great tips! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. caronae on August 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Recent graduate (ie.e, like tthree months ago :)) here.

    I happened to actively dislike partying, and I avoided it for the most part. I’m pretty introverted. But I definitely liked spending quieter evenings with friends, going out to dinner, chilling in the park, etc. For me, I find that it helped/helps to see fitness/healthy eating as my “me” time — having an hour or two to walk or run or do yoga each day makes me so much more fun to be around, because I’m relaxed and happier. I always explained it to inquiring friends that way.

    Another tip: take gym classes for credit! Colleges typically have a HUGE variety of phys ed (my school had everything from kayaking and scuba diving to fencing and snowboarding, along with basics like soccer and cardio). I had a modern dance and a soccer class last semester — each met for an hour twice a week, and I got once credit for each! Score. A great way to meet people and get in some exercise. And get college credit. It’s a win-win.

  5. Rachel on August 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I had similar problems in my undergrad and I’m hoping it won’t be such an issue when I start graduate school this month. I went to a HUGE party school, so people really didn’t understand why I didn’t want to be out until all hours of the night every night (especially since I lived next to all the bars). When my friends really wanted me to go out and I had other things on my agenda, I would tell them that I would meet them for one beer – and that was it. After my one beer (which I would drink rather slowly) I would head home. It was often the best way for me to keep up with my friends while maintaing my workouts and schoolwork.

    • sarah on August 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      In my experience, grad school was drastically different from undergrad. Barely anyone partied heavily in grad school. Those who did party in grad school didn’t last very long before they got kicked out of the program for bad grades. I think you’ll notice a big change!

  6. Lindsay Loves Veggies on August 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Great tips! I wish I’d been that smart when I was in college. I was definitely one of the “booze-cruise” kind of college students. I have no idea how I managed to graduate over a 3 point. LoL.

  7. Ali @ Ali Runs on August 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    This was such a great post! I’m currently in grad school and my boyfriend just finished up his last year of undergrad. I wanted to hang out with him as much as I could on the weekends, but I am just not a partier. During this time I was also training for my first marathon, so I would do my long run one day, go out that night, and then have the next day off. I didn’t miss my runs and I was still able to spend time with my favorite guy ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Christine @ BookishlyB on August 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Offering to be the DD is always a good way to avoid drinking. People are super thankful and don’t give you any trouble.

  9. James on August 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    That salad looks fantastic. I enjoy a similar quinoa salad but I think adding those fresh herbs will do a lot for it. Um, no, I was not healthy in college – I was your friends, haha! Making amends now.

  10. Gillbear on August 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Im definitely a drink lover but I also want to stay in shape. I spent 3.5 years in the UK going to school so Ive learnt to do both the pubbin (not always drinking there) and runnin. If I know I am going out on a long night I will sneak in a cheeky workout before hand and push myself hard with the idea that I get to have fun soon after. Usually I would do Jillians 30 day shred because it’s quick and the level of difficulty is up to you. I will also slip in a run in the AM if I know that we are all headed to the pub right after work.

    I know that people can be a bit funny about drinking (on both ends) but if you don’t want to drink don’t sweat it. I have so many friends who don’t or who just drink very little and they would still join us at the pub for socialising and just kick it with some coke or what have you.

  11. Linnea on August 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I feel the EXACT same way…I am currently an undergrad and write a health and wellness blog for college students called Campus Wellness 101. I enjoyed reading your tips and follow many of them myself!! I work 2 jobs (teaching aerobics and working a desk job) as well as intern for my school’s Campus Wellness Services. I love reading your blog and your an inspiration to me, great job!!

  12. jen on August 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    My biggest tip is to schedule your day by the hour or half hour! This was how I managed to get A’s, stay fit, be an executive board member of my sorority, and drink with my friends on the weekends (which I did love to do!) during my freshman and senior years. In between freshman year and senior year, I went through a really bad breakup and drank way too much beer at frat houses and ate way too much fast food at midnight 4-5 nights a week. When I was on track, I really treated studying like a job during the daytime. I planned to be on campus all day (with food packed for the day!) and went to the library in between classes to study. By the time 5:00 or 6:00 rolled around, I had finished all the studying and homework I needed to do. Then I had the evening free for exercising (if I hadn’t scheduled time for it during the day), Facebook, hanging out, bars, whatever. I only had one drink if I went out during the week, then allowed myself to do whatever on the weekend (but usually only had energy for one really late/drunken evening).
    I also took Alka-Seltzer every time I returned home from going out. It really helps prevent hangovers. (I still do this when I go out (which isn’t very often, at all) and will continued to do it for life.)
    It also helped to sign up for gym classes for credit, like someone else said. I took ballet, tap, jazz, modern, weights, horseback riding, water polo…it was a great way to have a “required” workout each semester!
    Finally, for those who aren’t so keen on partying – try not to care about what everyone else is doing. Easier said than done – I’m in my late 20s and only just recently started to not care what other people are doing or what they think – but seriously, you are going to be so much happier now and in the long run if you stick with what you want to do. Go to bed early, study, work out, eat healthy – it’s your life!
    Great topic, Fitnessista! Made me nostalgic for college! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. SaraRM on August 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Fabulous post, you nailed it! Still many tips that I use today, 4 years out of college with my non”fitness-minded” friends!!!

  14. Michele on August 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    College was definitely when I got into working out regularly– I was an RA, and the gym was the ONLY place I could escape my residents ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I was lucky that I had a lot of friends that, even if they didn’t work out as much as me, didn’t party superhard. Movie nights/baking parties were much more our style. When I did go out, even with friends who OMG DRANK, I never had more than one or two… and no one even seemed to notice. I found that if I didn’t obsess over what I was doing, no one else did, either. It helps that drunk people forget things quickly, but if I went out, engaged with the group, and HAD FUN, even sober folks didn’t notice that yes, that IS the same jack and diet I was drinking an hour ago. If I sat there uptight and nervous, people were way more likely to comment about me needing another drink ๐Ÿ™‚

    And on the off-chance that someone did take an interest in my sobriety, it helps to have a couple “stories” up your sleeve. Needing to drive, a big test in the morning, and being on medication that didn’t jive with booze all worked for me… even if they weren’t always 100% true.

  15. Brittany on August 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Those are great tips, Gina!

    I was definitely very in-tune with health and fitness while in college, but probably not as much as I am now. I think there is a lot to be said about taking advantage of what comes along with each “stage” of life. I took college seriously and graduated at the top of my class, studied for the LSAT and got into a top law school, worked 20-30 hours a week, volunteered, and ran marathons, but I also embraced the college lifestyle (albeit in my own way). For me, I knew it was the only chance I’d have to live with my three best girlfriends in a community of people my own age without a 9-5 job. Being healthy and fit is important, especially if it’s your passion. However, I would urge against be so worried about doing everything perfectly that you miss out on what should be one of the most fun times of your life. Like anything, it’s about balance. ๐Ÿ™‚ Having fun and enjoying being young should be part of that balance.

  16. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on August 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Love it. Shank you for this post mahdear!! I’ll be headed to ‘Cuse in a few weeks and it’s the #11 party school in the nation, which has its ups and downs ๐Ÿ™‚ I do like to party but obviously I am super fitness- and health-minded, so that will be very important to me to maintain. Poor Bells! I also have a plan worked out with Cuse to get all of my healthy food stocked in the dining hall for me (they rock) so that will be a HUGE help, and there are a million fitness centers on campus, one even in my dorm. Looks like I have no excuses! I just have to lay low on the drinks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. sarah (sarah learns) on August 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    such great tips! fitness was not my priority in college, and it was definitely obvious! i’m so happy i’m past that time and i don’t feel the pressure to drink and eat poorly like i did then. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Kimberly on August 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    great tips! I agree – and it is difficult to find that happy medium sometimes, but not impossible! ๐Ÿ™‚ P.S. Baby Bella is adoraboooo!

  19. Angela @ MyPinkyToes on August 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I wish I had this advice when I was in college. I didn’t do the typical drinking/partying, and I never really made friends with people I had stuff in common with.
    It is so important to surround yourself with people that respect your goals. That’s what is so great about the blogging community!

  20. Taylor on August 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I copy all the recipes even the small snack ideas, everything!

    • Fitnessista on August 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      aww thank you!

  21. Lauren on August 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    aww, baby bella! ๐Ÿ™‚

    one thing that helped me was mapping out a set time to work out. i put my class schedule into my ical and then put in time slots for working out, so it’s never a question. i’ll be like, “oh it’s monday, i’m working out at 9 am” and off i went. also, i never buy anything that i know i’d go overboard with. i very rarely have anything snacky or sweet in my apartment, because i’ll just eat it in one sitting. out of sight, out of mind!

  22. Jackie @ That Deep Breath on August 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Those are awesome tips. It’s important not to get too intense or work yourself too hard because it’s so easy to get burnt out. BTW…baby Bella…too adorable.

  23. breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 on August 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Who says you have to drink at all? I’m a college senior and I can say (with 100% honesty) that the only time I’ve EVER had alcohol was 2 tiny sips of a margarita on my 21st birthday. It was gross, lol. It’s entirely possible to have a completely sober social life while in college – I’m proof of that! If “friends” are gonna rag on you for not drinking, then they’re not really your friends.

  24. Amanda B. on August 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Great tips! Having graduated from college, I will say that it took me like two years to find the balance between maintaining a healthy lifestyle and still hanging out with my friends. So I wish I’d had your tips a few years ago ๐Ÿ˜‰ Only thing I would add is to get involved with lots of cool stuff that isn’t drinking-based. There’s so much awesomeness going on at most college campuses- community organizations, research projects, art groups, music scenes. Sometimes alcohol accompanies those scenes, but it’s so much easier to keep it moderate when drinking isn’t the main focus all the time. But you still get to get out, meet people, and not be a stick in the mud.

  25. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on August 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I’m still an undergrad student and fitness is definitely a main priority. Once I get my schedule for the year, I figure out a gym schedule that will fit into it and I stick to my planned workouts for the rest of the year. I do leave a bit of wiggle room for fun though! I’ll only workout on one weekend day so that I can have one day for resting/being hungover. ๐Ÿ˜› As much as I love being healthy, I think it’s really important not to be TOO strict. College is about having fun, after all!

  26. Rebecca on August 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    You have a knack for writing a post on a topic that I’m dying to read about at the exact moment when I need to read it!

    I’m heading into my Junior year and I find it so difficult to balance college and “life.” I, too, hold down a job, care deeply about grades, and I happened to have had my partying faze in high school, so going out into the wee hours of the morning is not only something that I no longer really partake in, but it sounds downright awful for many reasons.

    I’m lucky enough to go to school in NYC, which means that I’m constantly surrounded by healthy, motivated people who make me want go to that yoga class or cook a healthful meal. However, I’m still a college student leading a rather untraditional undergraduate life, which provokes lots of guilt and what-ifs about whether I should be having more fun (in the traditional sense) and not worry about food and exercise consistency. It’s such a difficult balance and I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to graduating so that I can be rid of the expectations that come with college life.

    I think I kind of back myself against the wall because I’m so dedicated to a healthy lifestyle that I don’t want to go out and have a night on the town (not to mention I’m a major cheap-o) despite the fact that it would be good for my mental health, but trying to plan and avoid going-out situations makes me anxious and I end up overeating because of that (and the stress of school) as a way to blow off steam (which doesn’t even work, ha!). It’s really such a pickle.

  27. Jessica on August 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Those are such good tips! Wish I had these during college.

    And I would’ve given Bella chicken too if she looked like that. Poor girl! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. stefanie on August 2, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Hey! Sorry for the random question but I just ordered sun warrior ormus super greens powder & realized there is no nutritional information anywhere to be found! Are there any calories in it? I was thinking there arent since it is mostly grass

    • Fitnessista on August 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      i’m pretty sure it’s zero calories, just lots of nutrients ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries on August 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Moderation, moderation, moderation! I spent my sophomore year so consumed with “being healthy” that I missed out on a lot of fun. In my experience, going out to party once a week didn’t ever undo my hard work – quite the opposite really. Letting loose once a week was a light at the end of the homework/workout/work tunnel and it really helped me keep myself in line. It was easier to say “no” to ice cream while I was studying in my room alone when I knew I had plans that Saturday night ๐Ÿ™‚ I left college 7 pounds lighter than when I got there!

  30. Molly on August 2, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    during school I always see working out as like a reward– if i study hard for 3 hours I’ll treat myself to an hour or so off to go exercise either at the rec center, go for a walk with friends, or run/do yoga. Turning working out into a reward really helps me stay fit and not be so stressed about school as well.

  31. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on August 3, 2011 at 12:56 am

    LOVE the tip about one party night, next day off. It is an awesome way to take the pressure off of yourself, and a good way to guarantee that you will actually take a break! I say that if you really keep your eats in check, a little partaying wont hurt you to much! It is 80% diet, 10% work outs and 10% genetics that determine our health!

  32. Anita on August 3, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Oh I just love this post! I’ll be heading back to college in a few weeks and I sometimes it’s easy to feel a little bit overwhelmed by all the emphasis on partying. I think your tips are just great, and couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Elise on August 3, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Hey Gina,

    I hope this doesn’t come across as rude but is there a reason that you don’t brown your chicken? I have seen several “chicken pics” of yours and just wondered if you knew something we didn’t =) Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on August 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

      sometimes i will- usually i’ll just throw it in the oven, though.

  34. Christine on August 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I am going into my Junior year of college and my school has a huge party scene! I love living a healthy lifestyle and after two years of lots of partying I definitely have gotten it out of my system. I love going out with my friends and I don’t see myself avoiding those situations to be “healthy” because I believe that sometimes staying up until 3 am and dancing with your girlfriends is healthier than staying up till 3 am to study. However, I agree with you 100% that its okay to limit yourself to one or two drinks to maintain a healthy balance of the two ๐Ÿ™‚ Going back to school in two weeks and reading this post got me so excited! Thanks for the tips!

  35. Haley @Fit, Young, and Fabulous on December 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Ahh LOVE this! I’m going to UGA next fall and my number one concerns are avoiding the Freshie 15 and grades!! (:

  36. priya on May 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Hey! Do u have any tips on eating healthy in college alos? thanks! I love to cook and ill bhe starting soon? but idk what to do nin collehe when I won’t have time tocook

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