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Fitness Healthy Living
7 Must-Haves for an Active Student Students train with resistance machines

Let’s get real, being a college student can be hard. You have classes, work, friends, not to mention trying to actually sleep too. Getting out and being active can be hard. Let me give you some tips. Here are my 7 must-haves to help on your way to becoming an active student!


Whether your activity is just huffing to and from class or getting in an intense workout, your body needs fuel. This includes water, protein, and everyone’s favorite… carbs! What exactly should you get for a snack? Well that’s up to you, what you like to eat or what you can eat. Try to keep it clean while still getting the nutrients you need. Peanut Butter, bananas, nuts, and pita chips with hummus are a few examples for starters. If you want some more ideas go ahead and check out or see one of our registered dietitians on campus.

  1. Water bottle

If you don’t have a reusable water bottle, I would suggest getting one, two, or a whole collection, whatever makes you happy. Personally, I have two. One is my main water bottle and the other is a backup in case I leave my main one somewhere like a buddy’s place or the gym. Also, with your very own reusable water bottle, you can get creative and customize it with stickers. Laptop covers are out, water bottles are the new thing! Hydration is key to letting your body move the way it was meant to.

  1. A journal

No, it does not have to be a diary where you write your deepest darkest secrets. But I have found that some kind of journal is crazy helpful. Mine is full of workout plans, deadlines and doodles. Journals not only help you stay sane, but they can also help you track your progress and personal goals. Everyone’s journal is different, so what might work for me, might not for you. Write down whatever feels right for you. It doesn’t have to be every day, but I recommend keeping track of your life in some way. Being healthy is not just for your body, but also for your mind!

  1. Proper Clothing

As active students, we are not only trying to stay healthy, but we also have to attend classes and go to work, it can be hard. One easy tip that has saved me a lot of time is going to class in my workout clothes. This way I can hit the gym right after class. If I can’t make that work, I’ll pack clothes in a bag and either take it with me, or leave it sitting on my bed at home. This is partly to save time, but also to motivate me to stick with the plan I made earlier in the week to be active that day. When you’re looking for clothes, remember that if you are working out in State, Lied, or any of the other Iowa State facilities, we do have a dress code, so that everyone can be comfortable and healthy. You can see our dress code here.

  1. Shoes

Having a good pair of shoes is very important for an active student. I’m not talking about those super cute heels or rocking high tops that you saw online last week. You need shoes for the activities you enjoy. Not all activities take the same footwear. You may need different pairs of shoes for lifting and running. If you’re looking at shoes for the new gym season, do some research and definitely go try things on instead of taking an average joe’s opinion on what you should get.

  1. A Good Bag

I mentioned a bag before when talking about clothes. Bags come in all shapes and sizes and again, it’s all up to personal preference. Mine is an old duffle bag. I would recommend a different bag from your backpack too, because let’s be honest, no one smells like sunshine and rainbows after a workout. Get a different bag that can be dedicated to the stink. As long as it can fit the essentials, it works.

  1. Headphones

It’s hard to walk through a gym and spot someone without headphones. Some have earbuds, and some have a full headphone, some are Bluetooth, and some are corded. Personally, I find it hard to work out without music. If music isn’t your thing, maybe it would be helpful to catch up on your shows at the gym. Hop on the bike or the elliptical, plug those bad boys in, and pull up your Netflix app. Headphones are again, up to your own preference. Bluetooth headphones can be very helpful so you don’t have to worry about holding your phone or having it slip out of a waistband. Or maybe you feel like actual headphones stay on better for you. Whatever you choose, music is a great way to get into your workout and stay motivated.  

This is not a perfect outline for how you should live your active life, just some helpful tips from us here at Recreation Services. Whatever it may be that helps you stay healthy and active, keep it up!