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Experts / August 2016
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom

This Trainer Actually Wants You to Gain the Freshman 15

Along with first-day jitters and getting lost on campus, the "Freshman 15" is a rite of passage for most university freshman.

But one trainer says the unhealthy weight gain that students experience at the beginning of the semester is completely avoidable. In fact, he insists there’s a way to gain 15 lbs. of muscle instead!

“I gained 14 pounds of muscle in one year,” says Reebok trainer Cory Gregory, who sees no reason university students can’t do the same, turning the 15-puns weight-gain into something you actually would want to experience.

“It wasn’t from doing anything complicated either,” he says. "I was just squatting every day and working out a body part one time a week,” continues Gregory, better known to many as @Corygfitness.

“Too much alcohol & bad food choices too many nights a week are what lead college students to put on weight. They’re eating mostly pizza and fast food because that’s all that’s open late at night.”

Gregory stresses that there’s a way to still have these late nights (even he enjoys a good cheat meal ... watch the video above to find out his food of choice) while seamlessly trading in a 15-pound weight gain for a 15-pound muscle gain.

Here are his five tips to do just that.

1. Lunge! 

It all starts with getting honest with yourself. If you know that the endless supply of chicken fingers in the dining hall and the readily available midnight pizza deliveries are going to be hard for you to pass up, then don’t deny the facts. cory gregory freshman 15 3

Instead, work to combat this extra eating by raising your metabolism. 

“I raised my metabolism to a high level just by lunging 400 meters five times a week and 800 meters on the other two days,” he says. “I knew I was going to blow out my diet so it was part of the strategy.” College campuses lend themselves well to walking, so substitute the strolling for lunging and you’re already well on your way to improvement.

2. Stay in on Monday nights

It’s only one night of the week, how much of a difference can it make? A big one! According to Gregory, university students should skip the Monday night party scene. 

“Drinking or eating poorly on a Monday just makes no sense,” he says. Since Thursday through Saturday tend to be the fun nights on most campuses, it’s smart to take Monday off to reset and start the week ahead fresh and on the right note.

3. Wake your ass up! cory gregory freshman 15 2

“I’m kind of notorious for telling everyone on my Snapchat to wake their ass up,” laughs Gregory who has now conditioned himself to be awake by 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. every morning. While university and sleep have notoriously gone hand-in-hand, Gregory stresses that getting out of bed and hitting a workout in the morning can make all the difference to your training. 

“The key is the value of uninterrupted time. No one is calling you. No one is bugging you. You can truly put some work in, in those early morning hours,” he says. Not a morning person? Gregory emphasizes that getting there is a gradual process. “If you get up at 8 a.m. right now … just get up at 7 a.m. this week. And then after a month, get up at 6 a.m.”

4. It's not about just checking the box

Since nearly every university is fully equipped with a rec center, it’s no longer just about going to the gym. It’s about being strategic with your programming and training smart once there.

Gregory recommends incorporating HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts into your gym routine on days when you expect to be consuming more food or empty calories.

Another one of his favorites for those days of overindulgence? Try this treadmill killer: Walk five minutes at a 15% incline at 3.5 – 4.0., and then run for five minutes at a 0% incline at a solid speed between 6.0 – 8.0. Keep up this pattern for 60 minutes and your legs are sure to be burning by the end.

5. Add another step to your nightly routine cory gregory freshman 15 1

You brush your teeth, wash your face, plug in your phone … and do crunches? That’s right. Just like with the lunges, Gregory emphasizes how utilizing your time efficiently by sneaking fitness into parts of your everyday routine, rather than just thinking about it when in the gym, can make all the difference. 

Buy a 25 lbs. weighted plate for your dorm room and do weighted crunches nightly with the plate behind your head for an extra dose of fitness before hitting the sack.

Does Cory Gregory have you determined to leave college with only an added 15 pounds in muscle this spring? Tweet us @Reebok to tell us which of his tips you're most excited to test out.

Experts / August 2016
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom