T Nation

College Training


I started my training back in my last few years of high school and one year at community college all while living with my parents. I was able to pick and choose what I ate and how much of it. Unfortunatly, things have changed.

I now attend a University and live in a situation where all my meals are planned for me. I wish that these cooks knew that I can't grow on two scrambled eggs and a greasy piece of sausage for breakfast. Here I am not able to eat what I want, nor as cleans as it should be. I still have my snacks be clean and beneficial, but it is my regular meals that I can't control for the most part.

Do you have any tips on how to improve my diet? Is it ok to steer away from these crappy foods and rely more upon supplements? Any help would be awesome!


You are going to have to be more specific with your situation. Is your dining hall all you can eat or pay per meal, can you go 2-3 times a day or unlimited? Do you live in a dorm, and if yes do you have a microwave and or fridge? Do you have a job/money to afford outside food?

Some of these things are still fresh in my mind(was a freshmen two years ago) so I've got some thoughts if you're more specific with your situation.


go to costco and stock up on good food. natural peanut butter, jerky, tuna, almonds, etc.

this is where you prove how badly you want it


My meals aren't all you can eat, but I do have three meals a day. I have a fridge and a microwave in my room. I do have a job, but it isn't much so I can afford some outside food.

yougguns516 do I just snack on that food all day, or include it with my meals as well?


You should be eating more than 3 meals a day. George Forman Grill - if you can't afford it remember Christmas is coming!


What sort of budget would you have for groceries weekly?


This situation sucks, I totally understand. If you are forced to adhere to a shitty meal plan because of your class status or living situation, you might want to follow a course of action in which you move to a reduced debit plan, or all debit plan, or NO meal plan whatsoever - in which case you can simply go pick up your $2k-ish check from the Bursar.

I think you should first and foremost try to speak with people in a friendly manner at your Bursar's Office, or Student Financial Services, and explain that you have needs for better nutrition. If you mention hypoglycaemia or diabetes, you might have strength in your position. The fact is, it is not difficult for anyone with access to the financial database to change your meal plan - but there may well be an active policy in place and a chain of command, beauracrats, et cetera.

Unfortunately you are either going to accrue body fat if you are stuck on a diet of crap food in the cafe and microwaveable shit, or or you are not going to be able to consume adequate calories, and you're going to lose weight, and muscle.

If, worst case scenario, you are stuck in the dorms - then you better start eating plenty of canned fish, fruit, frozen berries + vegetables, nuts, olive oil, et cetera. Avoid microwaveable dinners like the plague. Avoid high fat+carb meals like sandwiches with shitloads of fatty meats and mayonaisse.

For right now, either use your own car or your friends car to go to Costo and stock up on quality food with your money. Start working on the meal plan situation for next semester. And don't slack, because you will regret it if you're at all serious about your training.

Good luck.


Our cook is a bitch so I doubt i'll really be able to change her food. I guess she's been cooking the same old fatty greasy shit forever! But I will go to the closest food place and stock up on suggested items. I've got about 30-50 per week for food. Any more recomendations?


30-50 dollars a week is plenty dude. That's what I pretty much live off of. Best case scenario some person would let you use their kitchen and you'd cook up a bunch of protein and carb sources that you can just nuke later.

Look for coupons at the various grocery stores around and the week a good item like chicken breast or ground beef or steak goes on sale for under 2/lb get as much as your budget allows. Tuna is always cheap and if you are in a bind or happen to like the taste then buy it up. Milk is getting more expensive but 3 dollars for a 100+ grams of protein still isn't too bad. Carb sources are practically free if you look at rice and potatoes and somewhat oats.

10 lbs of ground beef at 2/lb=20 dollars
5 lbs of chicken breast at 2/lb=10 dollars
14 cups of cooked rice =1-2 dollars
3 gallons of milk at 3/gallon=9 dollars

You can do it, find a way to cook up the food and store it. Protein powders are still cheaper per serving if you can buy them in bulk(split with a buddy if possible to save on shipping). If you need any more help PM me your email and I'll have some extra suggestions.


I don't know how close you are with people who have houses/apartments on campus so I don't know what you can cook. Stock up on tuna, raw nuts, frozen berries, canned chicken, and any other healthy source of protein and nutrients that you can afford, that doesn't have to be cooked. Also, save 10$ a week, and in 5 weeks you'll be able to afford 10lbs of protein, hopefully you have a blender or a shaker cup.


Should I continue to eat my regular meals and then add in some tuna with it and then use it again as a snack later on?


I would eat as clean as you can in the dining halls. Opt for skim milk and if they bread all their meat scrape it off, etc. Save the food you buy for snacks and meals when you can't be in the dining hall, it will last longer that way.


Thanks for all the help guys. Hopefully I won't get fat or lose muslce for the next couple years in college.


George Foreman baby. Get that and 20 Plastic/Glass containers and prepare all your meals twice a week. Put it in the fridge and place it on a plate and nuke it in the microwave. Safe time and get huge. I highly recommend Save Way, Super Fresh, or Costco. Jump on the special deals and buy in bulk.


Are you recomending things like meat or more like nuts and vegetables? What would be an ideal snack plan for me because I cannot controll my regular three meals.


I'm making my best gains to date while in college, don't settle for "mantaining". This is 1-4 years of your gym training career you have when there isn't much in the way of life(like family long term career house payments etc) to burden you.


Scott, you make a good point. However, I am in a fraternity and that takes a lot of time, especially my freshman year here in the house. Do you live in the dorms or in an apartment? Do you do the same things as recomended above? What is your meal plan like? Work out plan? Ammount of sleep?


If your cafeteria is buffet style, go with plastic containers and take home the available healthy food so you don't have to buy it, and can snack on it throughout the day.


Apartment currently. I'm too lazy to look back at what was recommended, but I do the things I suggested to you if that's what you mean. I don't have a meal plan I buy all my groceries. Work out plan you can click on the thread called "trying dogcrap training" in the bodybuilding section and that's what I follow.

Amount of sleep(as I write this at 2 AM ha) is not as much as I like because of work, usually 6-7 hours on average. If I don't expand on this tomorrow bump it up and I'll be back to share some more specific thoughts. I just got off work a little while ago and it's time to sleep finally.


It would definately be nice to live in an apartment for the food quality.