Welcome to the Chatham sisterhood, future Cougar! Every week this summer, look for new advice from Chatham women who can't wait to see you on campus.
Have a question you hope we'll answer or a topic you'd like us to cover? Email Campus Correspondent Mara Flanagan (email@example.com)!
Worried about the Freshman 15? Stay healthy this year with fabulous tips from our four student experts!
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Major: Art History/English, Museum Studies
I like group workouts. What should I consider for my first year?
“One of the best organized ways to stay fit on campus is to actually commit to a wellness class,” says Shannon. “College students are notorious for having very little free time, but if you actually have a class period formally dedicated to exercising, you can’t exclude a workout from your day!” From Squash to Scuba, Chatham's Wellness classes are a great chance to try a sport you've never attempted. Getting one or two of these single credit classes out of the way in your first year will give you a great start on the gen ed curriculum and provide you a consistent stress reliever.
If the idea of taking a group class makes you nervous, no worries! Chatham is full of super supportive instructors. Stephanie took Yoga during her first year on campus and is quick to offer a recommendation: “Our teacher, Allie Wagner, was absolutely wonderful and a very supportive teacher for any and every student, regardless of how familiar we were with the practice.”
Even if you don’t want to take a class for credit, Chatham offers a roster of free weekly or bi-weekly classes; in the past, they’ve included boot camp, yoga and Zumba. “I really enjoyed the Zumba classes,” says Alex. “Even if you feel and look totally ridiculous, you’re still having fun, getting fit, and laughing with your friends, so it doesn’t even matter.”
I prefer more independence. What's a good fitness option for me?
Many parts of the AFC are open to students who just want to do their own thing. Onastasia has her own routine: “weight machines in the AFC gym for thirty minutes, forty minutes on the treadmill while watching Ellen on the gym TVs, a mile or two on the track.” Alex also sticks to a set program: “Treadmill for 30 minutes, 10 minutes of weights, 20 minutes on the stairclimber, and I also use the bike for about 20 minutes,” she says.
If you're looking for a more adventurous workout, the AFC still provides plenty of options. Stephanie spends time on the climbing wall, Alex heads up to the suspended track to run wind sprints, and Onastasia likes a good game of badminton.
No matter which workout you choose, dedication is key. “Try to get yourself motivated to schedule some time in the AFC as soon as you get on campus,” says Shannon. “The sooner you get involved with it, the more likely you are to stick with it, especially if you have a workout partner pushing you along. Remember, gym memberships are expensive, but the AFC is free to students. Take advantage of that while you can!”
What if I don't feel like going to the gym?
“Being a Chatham student is almost enough exercise as it is with all the hills and stairs I have to go up every day,” says Stephanie. “But, besides that, I like to go for walks through the various neighborhoods in Squirrel Hill that surround the campus. The foliage is especially lovely during the fall and spring, and it makes for a peaceful walk.”
Because of Chatham’s convenient location between walkable communities, it’s extremely easy to get in some good fitness on foot. “For people like me who do not really like formal workouts, walking to local attractions and seeing the city is a great way to trick yourself into getting some exercise while doing some exploring at the same time,” says Shannon. She recommends Squirrel Hill and Shadyside when you want to stick close to campus; Oakland is perfect if you're hoping for an extended trek. “I run/walk from Chatham to the Cathedral of Learning along Fifth Avenue almost every day," says Alex. The bonus? If you’re tired by the time you get there, you can just catch the Chatham shuttle back.
If you’re not into walking, cycling can be a good alternative. “Sometimes I borrow one of my friend’s bikes and ride down to Schenley Park if it’s nice outside,” says Alex. Organizations such as Bike Pittsburgh promote cycling; even Chatham has a Bike Shop to keep your wheels in working order.
Of course, running and cycling outdoors isn't nearly as pleasant in the winter. An alternative? “I love to dance to a good Glee soundtrack in my dorm!” says Onastasia. “Sometimes even a little line dancing to Brad Paisley or Brooks and Dunn.”
What are some favorite healthy, on-campus treats to fuel my workouts?
While Chatham definitely has some delicious sweets (see the Guilty Pleasures section of our dining guide), our experts feel that there are still plenty of yummy picks that fit easily into a healthy lifestyle. Onastasia is a huge fan of “fresh fruit from Anderson—especially strawberries and bananas.” Stephanie agrees that Anderson’s fresh fruit is stunningly delicious. “That and a cup of green tea is a great mid-afternoon snack,” she says.
Want your fruit in a different form? Alex swears by “the smoothies at Café Rachel.” While the Weathervane often stocks fruit, the vegetables are particularly awesome. “The Weathervane has a section dedicated to fresh to-go veggies and salads,” says Shannon. “The carrot and celery cup is my favorite.”
You’ve heard it before: good food choices will make your workouts even easier. “I always find that I slug along a lot more if I eat a slice of pizza before running than I do if I have a banana and some lean protein,” says Alex.
While on-campus living often means easy access to treats, take precautions to avoid a sweet feast. “Keep healthy snacks in your dorm room to deter late night study snack trips to Café Rachel,” says Stephanie. “It’s easy to get a milkshake or a cookie so you can stay up a bit longer. Make use of your floor’s kitchen and keep a reasonable supply of healthy but filling things to grab when you’re feeling hungry.”
What's the bottom line?
Leading a healthy lifestyle in college requires commitment and perserverance, but it is possible. “You may feel lazy some days and might not want to work out, especially when it starts getting cold outside, but definitely keep at it!” says Alex. “Sticking to a routine is an easy way to avoid the Freshman 15, and exercise makes you feel better about yourself, too!”