EVERYONE knows students bemoan the chore of cooking at university and panic about the extra pounds they may add. Quays News reporter Niamh Shackleton looks at ways to make sure you don’t pile on three stone whilst collecting your degree…

It’s safe to say when you start uni, the prospect of cooking is pretty damn scary. I’ve been used to my Mum’s fabulous cooking for the past 19 years which was all healthy and not having to bat an eyelid of putting dinner on the table. Then I came to university and I’ve come to learn if I want to live off chicken dippers and chips that I may just start looking like one. However, I’m sure everyone is with me when I say it’s easier said than done- I like a chocolate bar (or three) as much as the next guy!

I’ve also learnt how badly I need to improve my fitness – after playing a measly quarter of a netball game yesterday, I was sure I was having a cardiac arrest. So, from the perspective of a non-six pack baring, avocado and granola eating, skinny minnie, I thought I’d give some basic ideas on how to keep your weight gain at bay to my fellow students (and myself!).

Join a gym or sport society

Duh. I understand not everyone wants to sweat their tits off on a treadmill for hours, or go into the weight training section to drown in testosterone, but you can do what you want and when you want, and as much or as little as you want. The flexibility has always been appealing to me personally!

Bored? Chuck in half an hour at the gym, you’ll thank yourself later! If money’s an issue, join a society; they’re often free or cheaper than a gym membership and it’s a great way to meet people. Of course, there’s the traditional, simple run around the park or cycle too. If you can’t even be bothered leaving the flat (which is very student-like of you), have a crack at a home workout. There are loads on YouTube!

 Get some kick-ass gym attire and a good playlist to encourage you to workout

When I know I have a great gym outfit that I feel good in, I want to wear it, and to justify wearing it, I know I need to actually go work out or I would look a bit strange walking round in it. Missguided have a great range for girls that are trendy, and won’t leave you out of pocket.

In addition to that, sort yourself a high energy playlist! If I listened to the likes of Sam Smith or Adele in the gym, I’d probably want to go home, crawl up in a ball and cry instead. Get music you find motivates you. A few on my playlist are people like Disclosure, Kanye West, Hannah Wants etc. If you don’t have time to be scrolling through the 100’s of songs in your library, Spotify have some great workout playlists you can find through the ‘browse’ section.

Freeze extra food & learn portions 

It’s extremely convenient to buy unhealthy meals for one, but as is over cooking and saving some for later! Freezers were such a beautiful invention, so use them! E.g Spag Bol – mince beef is rarely sold in portions small enough for one, so buy 250g (a good amount for two portions), cook it all at once, and freeze the rest for a later date. Also, learn portions! I’m forever making enough rice or pasta to serve a family of four, and attempting to eat it all to prevent wasting money… which is a challenge that can be easily avoided. Half a measuring cup/90g of rice, or around 75g of dried pasta usually does the trick for one person. Try remove any unnecessary calories from your diet too, for example alcohol.

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Hopefully these ideas will help you out, and without being the pot that calls the kettle black, I’ll sure as hell be trying these out to prevent myself looking like a beached whale by the end of my degree.

By Niamh Shackleton

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