Understanding the ‘Freshman 15’

If you showed up to the LSC Theater on Tuesday expecting a financial lecture, you were in for a pleasant surprise. The originally scheduled “Funny Money” lecture was replaced with Tom Ryan’s amusing and informative presentation of “Fight the Freshman Fifteen.”

In addition to the free goodies offered by Student Services, attendees left armed with a myriad of useful facts involving realistic college fitness and health.

A self-proclaimed “fitness drug-dealer,” Tom Ryan is a formerly overweight entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and Iron man competitor. His open approach to his message and ability to connect with audiences made for a good evening.

He began building businesses in his 20’s and his successes led him through several ventures and a book, “One More Try, A Story of Entrepreneurial Passion.” He now owns a gym, the Dallas Athletes, and tours the country giving motivational speeches, both on the college circuit and the corporate world. His over-weight days long past, he also participates in the Iron Man competitions, essentially a living example of good food and exercise habits.

Tuesday night’s lecture centered on health/fitness, and how the average college-age student can be healthy. Tailoring his content to the audience and participation, Ryan presented easy and fun tips, and then discussed individual eating plans with audience members and fielded and intimate question and answer session with anybody who was interested.

His observations and advice about college fitness strike true for many of those well-meaning

“College students typically follow a pattern- large gaps between eating, skipping breakfast, which starts you out on empty, and that’s the last thing you want to do” Ryan said.

He also stressed the importance of getting enough sleep. Paired with good eating habits, enough sleep helps achieve better performances mentally and physically.

When asked about the easiest thing to do to be healthy, Ryan responded emphatically and without skipping a beat. “Walk!” Ryan said. “People think they have to run, and they don’t. It’s just movement of mass”.

Following the title of the speech, part of the lecture centered around the infamous “Freshman Fifteen”. Because of the change of environment and lifestyle, freshmen turn to familiar foods for comfort.

“It’s not about the food! Food is used to cope with wacky things happening – hence typical freshman fifteen. You go back to things familiar to you,”Ryan said.

Instead of focusing heavily on “do’s” and “don’ts”, Ryan stressed moderation and awareness in food and exercise. Rather than stress the calorie-laden evils of alcohol, he provided realistic advice for compensating for a suddenly empty six pack. He also toted the benefits of caffeine, an unusually positive spin on the life-force behind the student body.

“Moderate amounts,” Ryan said, “a cup of coffee, a Coca-Cola – wonderful!”

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