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Partying in College

June 4, 2002 10:51 AM

I admit, I am spoiled. I attend college just outside of Philadelphia and am fortunate enough to workout under the guidance of world-class personal trainer, author, warrior and gentleman Steve Maxwell. Though Steve has a very watchful eye, he cannot coach me all the time and I am left to my own devices to stay in shape. While college may be one of the greatest places to expand your horizons, it's also the one the easiest places to expand your waistline. It's unfortunate but college has enough vices to turn the most disciplined high school athletes into the fat kid who always sleeps through Macroeconomics class. I am here to tell you THERE IS A WAY!! With the help of the "Party", a few books and websites, I have been able to fend off the freshman fifteen while still enjoying myself thoroughly in school. This is what worked for me. Check it out:

I am not blessed with a fast metabolism so I must watch what I eat like a hawk if I want to keep my body fat to a minimum. I would bet dollars to donuts (no pun intended) this is true for most people and a poor diet is the number one reason most people fail to stay in shape in college. But what can I eat? Judging from past experience, I know that I am not "carb tolerant"- meaning my body does not burn fat as readily if there is an abundance of carbohydrates in my diet. So, whenever I go to the cafeteria I usually pick up a hamburger or two and ditch the buns. When there is no hamburger available, I can really on grilled chicken with mixed vegetables and some fish oil capsules (more on the fish oils later)for a tasty meal. You would be hard pressed to find a college dinning hall in the country that does not have at least one of the aforementioned entrees. I eat a meal like this or similar twice a day, or as the meal plan allows. For a meals in the room, beef jerky and peanuts are a great low carb treat. I try to shop at a bulk supermarket to get the best deals on large quantities of each. If you have one of those small refrigerators, keep it stocked with low fat cottage cheese-one of the best midnight snacks for your body due to its high casein protein content. Sure people will question why on Earth I have something as supposedly "nasty" as cottage cheese in my dorm. I tell people it's for making an explosive brew that contains a shot of tequila and teaspoon of cottage cheese. Trust me, no one has ever asked me to make them one so my precious source of protein is safe.

Of course, what you eat in college is not as important as what you don't eat. When you and your buddies are playing X-box at 1 a.m. and everyone wants pizza and wings, it can be hard to resist. Just give a respectful, "No, thanks, I'm not hungry" and escape back to your room and load up on something healthier before returning.

Also, I try to keep my fluid intake up. I got myself one of the school water bottles in the bookstore. I refill it at water fountains and carry it wherever I go.

My training, as everyone's training should, reflects my goals. I am not really interested in bulk. A lean, hard, body is more appealing to me and aids in my other endeavors much better ( I am also a competitive grappler).

My first day of school, I went to the weightroom and asked the person working the desk when the peak hours are and I made sure that I was never there during that time. Who needs to work in with four other guys on the power rack? When I do go the gym, which is usually around 11 a.m., I develop my relative strength (strength relative to body weight) by following a power cycle that uses only two exercises. They include the deadlift or one of its variations (see the book Power to the People!) or the front squat. I combined one of the latter with either dips, incline dumbbell bench press, the bent or side press or push press. I do 2-10 sets of each for 1-5 reps. A sample workout would be 6 reps of three for Sumo Deadlifts and Side Press. I usually rest for about three to four minutes between sets. Of course, I use the Pavel's "power breathing" techniques to squeeze every last ounce of strength out of my muscles.

I do, however, enjoy working out in the privacy of my room more than the school's weightroom. There are fewer distractions. When I work out in my room, I do a lot of body weight conditioning and kettlebell work. Hindu squats, Hindu Pushups and the like are all staples of my training regime but I think my kettebells are invaluable. KB swings and snatches are some of the best exercises for all around fitness on Earth and they are very time efficient. If you can swing financially, get one. You won't regret it. If you do have one (or two) try this workout: One set of 20 KB swings, no rest, two sets of snatches each arm for one minute each, rest 30 seconds between each set, three sets of the clean, squat and press of one minute each set with 30 seconds rest in between. I finish the workout with evil wheel jackknife pushups. An evil wheel is a very cost effective way to strengthen your midsection and in college, money is definitely in issue. Another thing I love to do is load my backpack with all of my textbooks, throw it on and do chins off of a bunk bed. If you don't have a bunk bed try using a knocking them off on a heavy door. The doors on the bathroom usually fit the bill.

Do this workout and tell me muscle group you didn't use. Best of all, it takes less than forty minutes leaving me more time for more intellectual pursuits like watching the female track team practice. This is just a sample routine. I use my imagination and come up with different routines to keep things interesting and I encourage you to do the same.

As I mentioned early, in college money is very tight so I will keep this section very brief. The only supplement that I concern myself with and feel comfortable recommending to other is fish oil. Omega 3's are essential for strength, lowering body fat and overall health. World-renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin has been quoted as saying that if he were to gives his athletes one supplement it would be fish oil. The best part is that you can find it in bulk or at most supermarkets. I know that Costco sells it for a great price and its quality stuff. Personally, I take about 9 grams a day.

Sleep, Alcohol and Stress Management
Everything I have written about up till now should not be too difficult to implement. But, the following will really separate the alpha males (or females) from the common sheep. I know how hard it can be to stay in and study when there is a party going on across campus and you know that hot girl from your accounting class will be there wearing something tight. I also know firsthand the kind of pressure school and friends can put on you that can be detrimental to your training goals. Here's how I deal with it:

Sleep: I sleep for at least six hours a night. I know, I know, I need more but I don't live in a vacuum. Being social or staying up to get my work is also a part of my college experience. Sleep is where the body recovers and heals itself. Through experimentation, I found that I can function very well on six hours of sleep a night. The only way to find out how much you need to experiment as well. As a rule of thumb I'd say six hours a night is a decent amount for the average college student.

Alcohol is a very tough obstacle to negotiate. Every couple of weeks or so, I do throw back a few with my buddies but I try to keep those "occasions" few and far between. The other times, I usually fill my cup at the keg and nurse that one beer the whole night. No one notices and even if they did, they wouldn't give hoot and neither would I. It requires some deception on my part but who cares? I don't need their approval, just the ladies'! (C'mon, how many times have blown your chance to talk to a girl because you were so sloppy drunk she couldn't take you seriously?) Besides, I silently get my revenge watching the hardcore drinkers panic two weeks before spring break trying to lose their beer bellies by riding a stationary bike for hours and hours. Blaze your own trails by having fun while keeping the alcohol intake to a minimum. If even your good friends give you a hard time about it, maybe you should about the kid of people you associate with in school.

Stress Management
Everyone knows that stress is a killer. Stress can cause any number of health problems and well as very painful mental ones. Leading authority in physical preparation, Ian King believes that excess levels of stress prevent the body from burning body fat as fuel. Therefore stress must be kept in check. I know this one is going to meet with a lot of resistance but here it goes: MEDITATE! I know I may have lost a few people by writing about meditation but it really has helped eliminate the stress in my life. Please bear with me. It does not have any religious connotation. All I really do is sit silently for thirty minutes in the morning and thirty at night before bed. I try to clear my mind of thoughts but occasionally think about my most coveted goals and slip right back into a silent state. Don't believe me? You'll never know till you try. I recommend the book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. What are you so scared of? People looking at you differently. Are those same people going to do anything to help you when life's stresses have gotten you down? I didn't think so.

The proceeding is the plan of action I have instituted while in college. It's my version of "Partying" and it has served me well. I encourage everyone, whether in school or not, to experiment with some of the above recommendations but don't get too wound up in it. Life is supposed to fun after all and, for me at least, enjoyment is enhanced by leading a healthy lifestyle. Is it a lot of work? Hell yes! Will you have to behave differently and have more discipline than your peers? Hell yes! Will you go home for the summer and have people say, "You look great" or will they be polite and not comment on how your appearance and energy levels have deteriorated? That's up to you!