Of all the scenarios I envisioned when heading off to college, trying to establish some normalcy during a global pandemic was NOT one of them!
Hitting hard on my school’s location, South Central Los Angeles, my school closed its doors for the first semester and switched to online classes, strongly encouraging students not to return to campus. Determined to have a somewhat normal first semester, myself and my roommates rented a small apartment down the street from campus to meet fellow freshmen and complete our online classes.
In high school I was a three sport athlete and a competitive swimmer, waking up most mornings before 4am to practice (hard to believe I did that for 4 years!). The regimen and control it taught me totally fell away once I arrived at USC. I was suddenly on my own, in a new city, where most restaurants, gyms, and workout studios were closed. I leapt from the security of my hometown and family to buying my own groceries and making my own meals. While it was hard at first to create a schedule and stick to it, I was determined to “do better”. I used the tools available to me – mainly the sculp’d OnDemand videos as well as their nutrition guide – and I immediately felt better.
Because my classes began in the late morning, I took advantage of the lower California morning temperatures and went on a walk around the border of my campus. After this, I loved coming back to my apartment, grabbing my computer and yoga mat, and heading to my courtyard area to take one of our many OnDemand classes. It allowed me to start the day right, feeling empowered and productive. Sometimes my roommates would join in, feeling equally challenged and refreshed after a great workout.
With every healthy lifestyle comes a good balance between exercise and nutrition. As I mentioned earlier, I was new to grocery shopping on my own and tried to keep it simple by meal planning. After each workout, I made a smoothie that consisted of pineapple, spinach, banana, apple, apple cider vinegar, and flaxseed. When I don’t know what to add in, spinach and greens always worked in a pinch. Some of my favorite dinners to cook that were enjoyed by myself and all of my roommates were mahi, protein bowls, and taco salad. We made sure to include a lot of vegetables in every meal as well as a protein and small carb amount.
So, the lesson here? Don’t throw away all the good habits you know are good for you just because you are in college, are young, and/or on your own. It just doesn’t feel good and won’t help you become the best version of yourself. Combining a daily exercise with a balanced diet and good night’s sleep was crucial for me to feel good and be more successful in my first semester.
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