5 Colleges for Fitness-Focused Students

Flickr user Dave Rosenblum

Flickr user Dave Rosenblum

Before heading off to their first semester, college students are often bombarded with the warning, “Look out for the freshman fifteen!” While those dreaded extra pounds from subsisting on energy drinks and pizza tend to slip away as you get used to college life, some students, including yourself, may want to avoid it altogether.

Luckily, the freshman fifteen is avoidable when you go to a school with plenty of fitness opportunities. While most campuses have a gym available to students, not all of them offer free group classes and nutrition seminars. These universities, in particular, have superior on-campus fitness programs, so you can balance your studies and social agenda with much-needed physical activity.

Just in time for your New Year’s Resolution, here are 5 great schools for fitness-focused students!

Clemson University

Clemson’s state-of-the-art Fike Recreation Center makes movement both accessible and engaging through a variety of options. They offer a wide range of wellness resources, for physical, mental, emotional and more.

If you love group classes, take one of the tabata classes. If you’re new to fitness, you can register for personal training sessions. If adventure is more your style, sign up for a whitewater kayaking adventure.

Clemson makes exercise an integral aspect of the campus culture, making it easier for you to stay healthy.

University of Texas, Austin

Home of the Fitness Institute of Texas (FIT) which combines behavioral and physical health initiatives, UT Austin offers athletic assessments, nutrition seminars, stress management and intramural sports. Their numerous “TeXercise” programs like zumba, pilates, yoga, cardio conditioning and indoor cycling provide options for every kind of fitness lover and athlete.

In addition, the HealthyHorns TXT service connects the entire student body to wellness-centric updates through their mobile devices. If you’re busy with classes, you’ll still get friendly reminders to stay healthy.

Princeton University

Aside from ranking among the top academic institutions in the entire U.S., Princeton is also a major player on the collegiate fitness scene. Measuring up to those competitive Ivy League standards, Princeton urges its students to undertake various workout contests year-round including the annual “1000 Point Challenge,” an incentive that rewards participants for completing 1,000 minutes of exercise over the designated course of five weeks.

These contests are particularly beneficial, because they encourage friendly competition and include SMART goals, which are critical to fitness success, according to ACE Fitness. This may be just the motivation you need to stay healthy all year round.

University of Central Florida

UCF turns exercise into both a sustainable and invigorating lifestyle rather than just a “necessary evil” with diverse recreation facilities around campus, from a world-class aquatic center and multipurpose athletic venue to an Outdoor Adventure complex.

Standout amenities include a rock climbing tower, zipline course, paddleboard rental, beach volleyball court and awe-inspiring events like Yoga Under the Stars.

George Mason University

This well-known university offers a lot more than a high-quality education. Their gym, Mason Fitness, offers a variety of opportunities to stay healthy, including group fitness classes (Indoor cycling, martial arts/self defense and yoga), personal training and even an annual health and fitness expo.

You can also take advantage of their S.M.A.R.T. lab, where you can get a variety of tests done. One of the most valuable is the 3D gait analysis, which costs $100 for students. If you’re a runner, this is an important test because it allows you choose the best shoe for your body, which helps you avoid injury while training:

“The running shoe serves as a structural and functional extension of the foot. Chosen correctly, it can improve your running. Chosen improperly, it can amplify biomechanical and functional flaws thereby increasing your risk of injury,” according to experts at Fit2Run. If you plan to train for the school’s Indoor Triathlon, this is a must.

Stanford University

Stanford equips all students with every resource needed to remain active and healthy throughout their college careers and promotes a “culture of wellness” through its campus-wide BeWell program. BeWell participants are paired with an adviser who helps them determine a personalized course of action that will guide their wellness pursuit. Thanks to the comprehensive mind-body integration, students also learn the benefits of conscious living and meditation.

Interested in any of these schools? Use College Raptor’s free match tool to discover if they’re a good fit for you!


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