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8 Tech Savvy Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

Alexa Smahl/Demand Media

College is filled with learning opportunities and exciting adventures. Unfortunately, college has also become synonymous with the dreaded "Freshman 15." This unexpected weight gain, which usually occurs your first year of college, torments the waistlines of many a student. But with a little care and some advanced planning, you can make sure those unwanted pounds stay away from yours.

Alexa Smahl/Demand Media

1. Develop a Diet & Fitness Plan

It doesn't take an advanced degree in mathematics to figure out that you'll gain weight by consuming more calories than you're burning. While it's helpful to increase your healthy food intake and decrease the number of late-night jaunts to the drive-thru, your activity level also needs some attention. Exercise instruction apps will provide you with helpful tips—often in the form of professional exercise videos or animations—to make your workouts more effective and with other motivational guidance to help you fend off unwanted weight gain.

Alexa Smahl/Demand Media

2. Grab a Healthier Smartphone

The Galaxy S® 5 smartphone offers a handheld alternative that can help keep you motivated so you’re more apt to stay healthy and keep the Freshman 15 at bay. Built-in sensors—including movement sensors to keep track of your jaunts around the block and a heart rate monitor to keep your cardio days at maximum effectiveness—feed data into the device's native S Health app to track and analyze your fitness and overall health. Dozens of additional fitness-related apps are also available to keep you , sweating through workouts and tracking your healthiest habits.

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3. Track Your Food Intake

For many new students, weight gain results from unhealthy eating habits. Let's face it, when it comes right down to it, junk food just seems easier and cheaper. A food diary app like Calorie Counter Pro or Diet Planner Free can help you stay on track by keeping you accountable for those late-night sneaks to the fridge or the post-party trips for fast food. Extensive food databases—typically with bar code scanning support, so you can call up nutritional information easily—help you choose healthier ingredients, and since menus from most major restaurant chains are entered in the database, there's less guesswork when ordering out.

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4. Wear Your Personal Trainer

Wearable tech—like the Gear™ Fit—offers the same real-time health tracking you get with your smartphone fitness apps without the need to hold anything while you’re staying active. Using Bluetooth to fully integrate it with your smartphone’s calendar, social networks, email and other mobile features, the Gear™ Fit can call up health data—like your heart rate, calories burned and steps taken—or provide motivational coaching and effective exercise recommendations. Need some additional validation? The Gear™ Fit also rewards you with a gold badge anytime you reach a goal.

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5. Schedule Your Activity

When it comes to staying active, knowing how to exercise is only half the battle—you'll also need to know when to exercise. Program your workout schedule into the calendar on your phone, and then set notifications to remind you to get moving at appropriate intervals beforehand. Transfer some of your favorite upbeat tunes to your phone's internal storage so they can be set as the notification ring tones—and be sure to pick those with real "get-up-and-go" so you'll have no choice but to start moving your body.

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6. Brag About Your Activity

Few things make exercise more satisfying than sharing it with friends—whether it’s competing with a workout partner, completing a fitness relay or simply being recognized for all of your hard work. Share your progress with your favorite social network using an app that tracks your activity. A running app like Jogging Tracker, for example, integrates your smartphone's GPS functionality to map out and then share a record of your jog. An exercise diary app like Fitness Tracker Pro is similar; these tools help you track individual activities and calculate valuable health data—calories burned, for example, or total miles walked in a given time period—and then give you the option to share the information via email or social network.

Alexa Smahl/Demand Media

7. Jam Out During Your Workout

Once you're actively exercising, keep yourself motivated and pumped up with your favorite tunes. The Milk Music™, powered by Slacker, radio service features a variety of popular musical genres—with several stations in each—so you're sure to find something to keep you moving. You're permitted up to six track skips per hour per station, so you don't get stuck listening to a musical dud. While you can't download Milk audio files to your device—you can access and listen to any of the last 500 previously-aired songs.

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8. Get the Sleep You Need

All-nighters may be a necessary rite of passage for college students, but sleep is essential for overall health and weight maintenance. Sleep needs vary by individual, and you're likely already aware of how many hours you need to feel refreshed the following day. If falling asleep is an issue, a soothing sound app like Relax and Sleep or Sleep Music Plus may help. If you regularly wake up tired, install a clock app like Smart Alarm Clock or Elegant Clock, both of which feature sleep monitors that sense night-time movement so you know when you are—or aren't—getting effective rest.

Photo Credits: Alexa Smahl/Demand Media

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