• Miranda O'Brien

How to Get Fit & Fuel Your Body

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

With late night study sessions, long lectures days, living in the library, and the inevitable weekend shenanigans, managing weight in college can present itself as a challenge. Over the recent years, the Freshman 15 has been trending down mainly due to our generation becoming more health focused.

And fortunately, UNF has made it a priority to integrate healthier food choices and physical activity into its campus to help combat obesity in college students. Below is a list of free resources available to UNF students that could help them manage their weight on campus!

UNF Student Wellness Complex

Across the street from the UNF Student Union lies a 75,000 square-foot Student Wellness Complex which opened in the Summer of 2012. In 2015, the Student Wellness Complex was ranked #7 for Most Popular Architecture Design in the AIA Florida People’s Choice Competition. The building features three stories of recreational space. The first level is equipped with a rock climbing wall, a cycling room and two large group fitness rooms. Group fitness is a great way to stay motivated and to burn calories! According to our fitness instructors, one shreds around 600 calories per hour per class (depending on the intensity). See here for the Spring 2018 Group Fitness Schedule.

UNF's Department of Recreation and Wellness is also located on the first floor. They offer many resources for students such as free nutrition counseling sessions with the wellness dietitians, physical assessments, the Ogier Garden, and more. Right next to RecWell, is Jamba Juice where one can enjoy a healthy snack before or after a workout. This is a valuable source for students who are trying to manage their weight on campus!

On the second level of the gym is where all the state of the art machines are located. Christopher Frye, the architect of the Student Wellness Complex, understood that there is not a single fitness equipment manufacturer that can produce the best quality for every machine. This means that unlike other major gyms in the area who only utilize one fitness manufacturer, Frye decided that he wanted to purchase the best rated machines regardless of who manufactured them. There is a cardio section (treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers etc.), CrossFit section, free weights section, and even a cozy corner for those who enjoy a little more privacy while working out. Many of the same types of equipment can be found throughout the second floor, however, they are grouped into sections based on their level of difficulty. Personal training is also available at an additional cost. The Personal Trainers do provide a free orientation for those who are new to working out in a gym and they can also explain how to use all the fancy equipment. See here for Personal Training.

On the third level of the complex is a running track which provides a stunning 360° view of the campus. For general information about the UNF Student Wellness Complex.

UNF Nature Trails

For the non-gym goers, UNF has over 500 acres of sanctuary including three trails and two loop connectors. These trails are free and open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. The main trails are Goldrenrod Trail 2.85 mi., Blueberry Trail 1.44mi., Gopher Tortoise Ridge 0.78mi., Big Cypress Trail 0.47mi., and Red Maple Boardwalk 0.19/0.31mi. The trails surround Lake Onieda where student can launch kayaks, canoes, and other small non-powered boats. Kayaking and canoeing is a great way to burn extra calories during the day, which are available for free to current UNF students. From personal experience, I burn anywhere between 200 and 400 calories per hour when kayaking or canoeing. Fishing is allowed for catch and release, only. For general information about The Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails.

UNF Club Sports

Joining a UNF Club Sport is a great way to not only get into shape but it is also a great way to meet new people and build lasting friendships. UNF has 29 Club Sports; each hold weekly practices and travel occasionally for competitive games. Some teams require tryouts while others welcome anyone who wants to play. Even if you do not make the team, many open their arms to let people come and practice with them! All the sports offer great physical activity that can help one lose or maintain their weight! For example, playing one session of Ultimate Frisbee (1 hour) burns an average of 550 calories. For those of you who do not like running, volleyball burns around 600 calories per hour! If you are interested in what Club Sports UNF offers.

UNF Intramural Sports

For those who are not interested in playing sports competitively, UNF intramural sports is a great option! Intramural sports are sports teams that are only formed within one college. For example, if one joins a UNF intramural team one will only play against other UNF students. Intramural sports are free to all students and one can choose from many different sports: flag football, volleyball, sand volleyball, indoor soccer, outdoor soccer, softball, basketball, racquetball, tennis, and kickball. Each sport has the option of playing in a Men’s, Women’s and/or a Co-Rec team. Intramural sports usually play once weekly and can have a multi-day championship tournament. For more information about UNF Intramural Sports.

UNF Brooks College of Health Walking Challenge

UNF Brooks College of Health will be hosting their 2nd Annual Brooks College of Health Walking Challenge in February 2018! This can be an individual or a team event. There will be daily and weekly prizes in addition to an end of challenge prize. Steps will be counted between Monday and Friday only. The challenge begins on February 5th 2018 and lasts until February 23rd 2018. Teams must have 5 people with a maximum of 10 people.

For more information regarding this challenge, please contact

Amanda Lovins, MEd

Office: (904) 620-1054

Osprey Fit

The Department of Recreation and Wellness is hosting an 8-week program called Osprey Fit. This program will have prizes, workshops and scheduled walks to help you manage your weight and be more active on campus. To sign up for this event attend Market Day on 1/31/2018 from 10:00am-2:00pm and look for the Healthy Hut!

Eating Healthy on Campus

Physical activity is very important when it comes to losing or maintaining your weight, however, one must also eat healthy to reach a certain weight goal. UNF provides numerous nutritious food options on campus to help promote a healthy campus. Below is a list of some dining services and healthy food items that I found when exploring the UNF campus:

The Osprey Café is my favorite place on campus if you are looking for wide variety and healthy options. There are always two Chef inspired action stations and they even have vegan and vegetarian menu items, plus a full salad bar!

Enjoy the Berry Up-Beet which is rich in fiber, or a Fruit and Greek Yogurt Bowl (loaded with protein) or indulge with a shot of orange ginger cayenne or Wheatgrass.

Try the Supreme Grilled Chicken Sandwich or the Healthy Osprey Salad.

Einstein Bagels has many healthy options such as the Tasty Turkey on whole wheat bagel with hummus (instead of the shmear.) They even sell cups of fruit and lunch salads.

Get 50-80% of your daily fiber intake by ordering a black bean-brown rice bowl! (And, remember to fill it with colorful veggies.)

Outtakes provides a fantastic variety of protein bars and even has a fresh grab-n-go section with fresh fruit, sandwiches and salads.

Chop’d & Wrap’d is a great place to build your own salad or wrap. They have a massive salad bar with over 20 toppings to choose from! *Look for the Healthy Osprey Icon to help guide you towards a healthier meal!*

Right inside the clubhouse, you can enjoy a healthy wrap, sandwich or salad from PitaPit. The plus about PitaPit is that they are open for breakfast and late night!

Don't forget, you can meet with our very own registered dietitian to guide you towards healthier options all around campus! (You can follow her on Insta @OspreyDietitian)


It is important to schedule one’s time for physical activity and yet our common reasons for skipping the gym tend to be “I have too much homework”, “I need to study for a test”, or “I am too tired after class,” which then can get in the way of reaping the benefits of being active everyday. Scheduling physical activity into one’s calendar is a great way to make sure one is making enough time for their well-being as well as their school work. It is completely possible to squeeze in at least twenty minutes a day, such as getting off the shuttle one stop sooner, working out as a study break, or planning a date with a friend to catch a UNF fitness class together. Trust me, your body and mind will thank you!

Many believe that gaining weight in college is inevitable and they struggle to find ways to lose or maintain their weight. Thankfully, UNF provides students with endless resources to help them lose weight on campus. The state of the art wellness complex provides gym-goers with a wide range of options from group fitness classes to rock climbing. For the non-gym goers, UNF has miles of nature trails to explore. For the more competitive individuals, there are over 29 sports to choose from in both Club sports and intramural sports. Brooks College of Health and Health Promotions constantly have fitness challenges to help promote physical activity. The food options available on campus is also beneficial for people who are looking for a healthy meal. Losing weight can be a challenge, but UNF provides students with the resources to help meet one’s nutrition and fitness goals!

And remember, reach out to Yemila, your campus registered dietitian if you have any questions or simply want to schedule a nutrition appointment.

Stay Healthy Ospreys!

Edited by Yemila Lowry, RDN and Haley Dixon, Senior Editor.

*Most images are not are own and have been taken from various UNF affiliates. All are linked to their original postings.*

#Outtakes #exercise #jambajuice #healthyeating #healthyincollege #FitnessClasses #physicalactivity #dietitian #SWC #nutrition #eatingoncampus


For more information about meal plans or hours of operation, please visit dineoncampus.com/unf