“There is no time like today to start over."
SANDRA BROWN (Unspeakable)
This month I decided to talk about a very different topic than those we have dealt with in the last posts this year.
Freshman 15 (or Freshman 20) is an expression that is used in American colleges to describe the pounds that are gained during the first year of university studies. The measure in kilos translates into an increase between 5 and 8 kg, which part of the first year students, that is the Freshman, take as a consequence of eating in cafeterias and in the various food places available on college campuses. This weight gain is also attributed to the type of food offered in these cafes (some of which are very fatty), but also to the requirement for those with a meal plan to eat 3 times a day in certain times, in addition to the increase in alcohol consumption.
For many it is not particularly relevant to have a few extra pounds during the first year of university, but for a student-athlete it can make the difference between being able to perform or not in his or her sport, losing the place in the team or among the starters to even risk their athletic scholarships.
Personally, I have never had a good relationship with my weight since I was little, and certainly this complicated relationship, as a competitive athlete, became a problem even when I arrived at college.
For more than 20 years I have been doing competitive sports at a good level and I must confess that probably in less than 20% of my sports seasons I have had what could be called "the ideal weight of an athlete". Not for this reason I was unable to reach important milestones, but the question that has always remained in my head to this day has always been: "what would have happened if I had had my ideal weight in the most important moments of my sports career?".
Unfortunately this is a question that has no answer, at least not a real answer. I have thought about the many possible answers, but clearly they are all suppositions with no possibility of being confirmed in the real world, because the time has already passed.
To all who are reading this post, whether you are a student thinking of going to a college in the United States, parents of these students or of others ready to leave or already in America, reflect on the fact that this is one of the few things we are truly in control of. In this moment of great uncertainty in which it seems that we can do nothing but wait and follow the directions of governments and agencies, we can react on this issue.
It is a delicate issue that is particularly close to the heart of many international students who leave for the USA (athletes or not) and of which many are completely unaware of its existence. Fortunately, however, today there are many ways to get informed and deal with the topic: specialists, diets, books, but even just being informed of the existence of this phenomenon is already a step forward because it does not become an unanswered question in your future or that of your loved ones.