Staying fit at University

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Before you go to Uni ask for some basic gym equipment for a birthday or a going away present – an adjustable set of dumbbells and a pull up bar to fit into the door frame would be great (you can fill in the holes later with toothpaste to ensure you get your deposit back). The good news is that you’re unlikely to find such cheap gym membership anywhere other than university, mine at Surrey University for example cost me £70 and that was for a year with no additional payments. It ought to be good value after the ridiculous tuition fees!

Because universities have so many societies and sports teams using the gyms they normally have good facilities and this meant three rooms of weights and resistance machines, a climbing wall, a sports hall, free circuits classes and more. Though mine didn’t, most will probably come with a swimming pool too.

Another problem at Uni is the food and it’s hard to eat big and to eat healthy on a budget. Firstly though you need to find your nearest discount store – don’t shop at the local convenience store to save time but go out of your way to find the best and cheapest deals.

Tesco’s Own range will serve you well and you can buy Tesco’s Own tuna cans for around 30p a throw. If you buy twenty or so of these in bulk (get a taxi or ask to borrow a car – you’ll still save money in the long run) you can have a healthy supply of high protein tuna for a long time to come.

A great staple for any student’s diet is tuna pasta salad – just some pasta with a tin of tuna and a tin of chopped tomatoes over the top (also incredibly cheap). Throw in some salady bits for extra nutrition or some mushrooms/sausage for extra amino acids. Another good source of protein for students is eggs, and particularly if you buy them in bulk directly from farms or butchers you can get them really quite cheap. Simply crack an egg or two over some pasta with a bit of ham and/or cheese for a simple and healthy Carbonara.

Students also love baked beans, as they make another great snack on toast or on a potato and contain both protein and carbs. Furthermore they count as one of your five a day and are nice and cheap.

Whether you can afford supplements will be down to your personal situation, if you have a part time job or something it will definitely be possible and you can always ask for tubs for Christmas and birthdays. Go for the slightly cheaper brands if necessary such as Body Fortress or buy online in bulk directly from the manufacturers to save more money.

As you know though University isn’t really about going to the gym and what you should really be focussed on is getting horrendously drunk as often as possible. The hierarchy of your priorities is to

  1. Party
  2. Train
  3. Eat Sandwiches and
  4. Study.

So you don’t want to waste your student life in the gym, and you don’t want to miss out on the fun by not drinking or staying up late. There will be plenty of time after Uni to get in the best shape of your life, if you miss out on all the fun it’s well, just a bit sad really.

Fortunately you can still limit the damage while you party. Firstly what you drink is just as important as how much you drink in terms of getting a beer belly. My favourite bevy is Newcastle Brown but unfortunately it’s high in fat (not as bad as those who like Guinness which is like having a mars bar for every pint). Good drinks include spirits and to an extent wines (red wine actually contains a lot of antioxidants which are good for longevity and fighting against cancer). Spirits such as vodka and whisky are drunk in smaller volumes and less fattening too so you can go wild. Even better is to mix them with something fairly healthy, even potentially juice (vodka and apple juice is surprisingly nice and high in vitamin C which will help fight against that hangover). Gin and tonic meanwhile is similarly low in calories while something martini on the rocks is just damn cool. Have it with an olive (which has little bit of protein? Okay that’s pushing it…)