Fighting the freshman 15

Pulling on a favorite pair of jeans requires a jar of Vaseline, several expletives, and nearly fainting form oxygen depletion.

More “practical” swimwear supplants the skimpy number that in July produced whistles and turned heads.

The opposite sex suddenly develops phone number amnesia, contracts strange illnesses, and has enough schoolwork to keep them locked in their rooms for weeks.

You might just be the latest victim of the Freshman 15.

Excessive weight gain during Freshman year remains a big problem for new students. Cornell University researchers found that students gained an average of 4 pounds. during the first 12 weeks of their freshman year – a rate of gain that is 11 times higher than the typical weight gain for 17- and 18-year-olds. Reasons for weight gain among Freshman include unhealthy eating, eating for stress relief, social eating, and meal plans offering unlimited buffet-style food.

Many freshmen claim immunity to expanding waistlines and thunder thighs, but alcohol, pizzas and double-chocolate mochafrappucinos translate to guts and love-handles for most people. College life may lend itself to unhealthy eating habits, but in intramural sports, the Recreation Center, fitness classes and one-on-one nutrition counseling, there are plenty of ways for everyone from tri-athletes to couch potatoes to avoid the freshman fifteen.

“From a recreational standpoint, almost everything you want to do, we offer,” said Chris Marks, assistant director of Campus Recreation and Programs.

Best of all, participation in these activities requires no extra fees. The activity and service fee paid by all students covers everything. Students need only show a valid USF ID card.

The Campus Recreation Center is one of the hubs of recreational life at USF. Located on Maple adjacent to the Sun Dome, it houses a fitness center with a weight room, cardiovascular machines, indoor racquetball courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, and aerobics rooms. Year-round fitness classes offer another option for students. Nearly 2,000 people of all different levels of fitness come through the Recreation Center’s doors on an average day.

“All types of people use the gym facilities, whether they want to look good in a bathing suit or just maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Marks.

While at the Campus Recreation Center, students should check out the Intramural Sports Office. USF’s intramural sports program offers nearly 30 sports throughout the year. Those students with enough interested friends can form a team. Soloists can add their names to a Free Agent List for the sport they wish to play. The ISO will form a team from the Free Agent List or try to place students on existing teams.

The major intramural sports offered during the fall are flag football, soccer and volleyball. Basketball and softball represent the primary spring offerings. Additional fall offerings include floor hockey, ultimate Frisbee, golf tournaments, 3-on-3 basketball, whiffle ball, disc golf, contests for punt-pass-and-kick and sports trivia. Along with basketball and softball, the spring intramurals include bowling, kickball and dodgeball, 8-ball pool tournaments, table tennis, sand volleyball, tennis, racquetball, wrestling, a swim meet, softball homerun derby, triathlon sprint, and a 5-K run.

Sports break down into Greek, residence hall, independent, faculty/staff, and co-recreational divisions. Greek, residence hall, independent, and faculty/staff leagues provide separate divisions for men and women in most sports. Those students that chose not to live on campus or join a fraternity should look at the independent leagues for competitive play and to the co-recreational leagues if interested in a more relaxed atmosphere.

All outdoorsmen can drop by the Outdoor Resource Center in the Campus Recreation Center. Some of the activities available through the ORC include canoeing, a ropes course, a disc golf course, and adventure trips. Additionally, equipment rental and maps of the area give you the option of planning your own outdoor excursions.

Nutrition-conscious students can swing by the Student Health Services Annex located next to the Marshall Center. Here students can schedule a one-on-one nutrition counseling session with a dietitian.

“Students can set up an appointment for any reason including, but not limited to healthy eating, weight management, eating disorders, vegetarian diets, athletic training, digestive problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure” said Kimberly May, senior dietitian for Student Health Services, in an e-mail. SHS also offers a weight-management class each semester and during the summer.

“Get involved, be active, have fun — it’s that simple,” said Marks.