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The Freshman 15: Fact or Fiction?

Motivational picture of Snoopy the Dog lifting weights.

You may have heard stories about the Freshman 15. It’s the extra 15 pounds that magically appear on your bathroom scale after your freshman year. But is it really real?

You bet it’s real! From the moment you step back on campus after DOC First-Year Trips, you will be bombarded with food. From gelato runs with trippees, to free barbecue at the Hopkins Center, to lobster dinners at Foco. Yes, you read that right. Foco (aka the cafeteria) serves lobster during its annual clambake.

During orientation week, you’re going to be eating so much food, you may even encounter the Freshman 15’s belly busting twin: The Orientation 15!

As described by Dartmouth alumna Myrel Iturrey, the Orientation 15 is the extra 15 pounds that you gain before you start your Freshman 15. Surprised? Can’t believe the Orientation 15 is real? Well don’t just take my word for it. You can read more about the Orientation 15 by checking out Myrel’s humorous article here.

Now that we’ve confirmed the existence of the Orientation 15 and the Freshman 15, it’s time to talk about how we’re going to beat it! Listed below are three strategies to help you lose the Freshman and Orientation 15.

Join a Sports Team: Even if you’re not a varsity athlete, you’ll find numerous opportunities to join intramural athletic teams at Dartmouth. From rugby to water polo, to ultimate frisbee and ice hockey, Dartmouth has your sport. Joining a sports team is a great way to meet and workout with new people. Together, you and your teammates will fight off the Freshman and Orientation 15!

Visit the Alumni Gym: Prefer to work out alone or in a smaller group? Check out the Alumni Gym. With thousands of square feet of free weights, strength machines, and cardio equipment, the Alumni Gym is the place to be. Did I mention there’s an indoor swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, and an indoor track field? You’ll have no problem getting fit here.

Dorm Fitness: If you were assigned to the River Cluster for first year housing, then the Alumni Gym might be a bit too far to visit every day. Although a 15 minute walk to the gym doesn’t seem like a long time, it will seem a lot longer when you’re trudging through snow during Hanover’s icy winters. Trust me, this is coming from personal experience. But don’t worry, even if you can’t make the trip to the Alumni Gym every day, you can still beat the Freshman and Orientation 15 with dorm fitness. There are tons of bodyweight exercises that don’t require any equipment. Get back to the basics with push-ups, sit-ups, planks, and crunches. Workout on the original stair climber by running up and down your dorm’s stairs. If you’re looking for a cardio workout, try jogging along one of Dartmouth’s many running trails near Occom Pond - the trail scenery is awesome.

With all of these fitness options, you’ll not only beat the Freshman and Orientation 15, but also get into the best shape of your life!

Hope you're enjoying your summer and best wishes!

- Jonathan A. Lu '19

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