With a new year comes new goals—which, for many, means getting fit and healthy. However, students have many misconceptions with getting healthy. Nutrition majors and personal trainers at OU talk about what common mistakes they see.
For Ohio University students headed into Week Two, it can be difficult to find the motivation to head to Ping Center and fulfill their New Year’s fitness goals.
Only 39 percent of 20-somethings report keeping their New Year’s goals, according to a study by the University of Scranton. There are also misconceptions about working out, said Bradley Collier, a senior and personal trainer at Ping.
One such mistake is that you can’t spend a little time working out and eat all the high-calorie foods you want, he said.
“The serving size for Frosted Flakes is three-fourths of a cup—if you actually measure that out, it’s not very much,” he said. “Reading the nutrition facts on the label to know what you’re eating is hugely important.”
But a lack of control with portion sizes — regardless of the food — is unhealthy, said Elaine Wartinger, a senior studying nutrition.
“I could eat a whole cantaloupe and that wouldn’t be the best idea for me because it would really be a ton of food,” Wartinger said. “If eating is one of those sticky spots for you, choose a smaller plate and listen to your body.”
It’s easy for students with a meal plan to binge eat in the buffet-style dining halls, so Wartinger suggests picking out smaller and healthier foods. For a post-workout meal, she suggests peanut butter toast with a banana or a salad, “full of color.”
Extreme workout plans or diets aren’t the best options either, said Leslie Corbitt, a sophomore and group fitness instructor for yoga and cardio dance classes.
“I try to work out at least five days a week whether it’s a quick run before class or going to lift, I try to do a little bit of something,” Corbitt said. “When people decide to go to the gym, it’s all about what makes them feel the best.”
Wartinger said she knows first-hand that completely cutting sugar out of an already-sweet diet can lead to a crash and bigger problems down the road.
“If you need that piece of Dove dark chocolate then eat it, because if you don’t eat it you’re going to keep thinking about it,” Wartinger said. “Then that piece of Dove chocolate turns into a huge bowl of ice cream and spirals down.”
The most important piece of advice Collier can give is to not think of these new goals as a temporary diet, but as a lifestyle change.
“I’ve been through injuries from baseball. Going months without exercising, you feel down,” he said. “Your energy level is low, you don’t really feel good and you don’t have much motivation for things. Working out not only helps you physically, but it helps you emotionally.”
Although Wartinger doesn’t go a day without thinking about making more nutritious choices, the fruit-and-veggie fanatic says that no one should set unrealistic expectations for themselves.
“Disclaimer, I love French fries,” she says with a laugh. “Everyone has their weakness.”