How I Got Into College Fitness

By May 23, 2016Live, Motivation, Move

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see my progress and day-to-day developments towards a bold, brighter and healthier future! Buttttt, not many know who I am and how I got started.

I currently attend Florida State University, which is located in the capital of Florida, Tallahassee. I’m from a medium-sized beach city called Sarasota, FL, where the weather is consistently hot and humid  🙂 .

kiahI chose to apply FSU as a last minute decision without even knowing the slightest bit about the school, but ended up falling in love as soon as I stepped foot on campus. FSU has a great atmosphere and almost immediately after starting, I made close friends who had very similar interests as me – which actually helped begin my fitness journey. But more on that later.

I’m majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Chemistry, which can get extremely difficult and frustrating (science majors, where you at?). But believe it or not, I’ve actually loved studying science since middle school. My goals for post-undergrad are to pursue medical school.

What officially began my fitness journey is quite different than how a lot of other people out there get started.

Let me explain…

Throughout my life I’ve had total of 8 different body phases: how is this possible?! Two words: KNEE SURGERY.

  • kiahFreshman year of high school, I was on the heavier side. I had gained some weight from puberty and pretty much ate what ever I wanted, I played competitive volleyball year-round, which I believed made me “fit” and athletic. Towards the end of that year I tore my ACL and meniscus in my right knee. Being bed ridden and on drugs made me lose almost 20 pounds.
  • Sophomore year I gained almost all of that weight back and then some.
  • Lost some weight after getting involved with beach volleyball along with my year round indoor volleyball.
  • Senior year tore my ACL again (other knee). After the second tear, I gave up my dream of playing in college and opportunities to play at the collegiate level. This cause me to go into a depressive stage and again lost weight a ton of weight. I graduated high school at a weight too low for my height.

And then, I got to college…

The fall semester of my freshman year, two of my closest guy friends practically forced me to try out the large school gym, what we call “The Leach” at FSU. I was immensely intimidated at first, and stuck to the various cardio and hammer strength machines like many girls do at the gym. However, my friends were the ones to get me off my bed and into the gym and, slowly but surely, I started to branch out a little more, moving from cardio machines and into the weight room. I began to isolate muscle groups and gathered up the courage to pick up a dumbbell in front of all those sweaty frat guys in the weight room (lol). As I kept returning to the gym, I began to learn more and more through my own research, experience and after following a bunch of Instagram fitness pages. The rest is history!

Also, as it turns out, one of those guys became my boyfriend and we’ve been dating for 11 months now 🙂 #fitcouple


A photo posted by Kiah McSwain (@kiahmfit) on

Summer of sophomore year is when I started to notice significant changes all over my body. Though it took 8 months to even see a little visible progress, I was so addicted to the way training helped me become confident and fall in love with my body (because NO, I was not always confident in the way I looked — especially as a freshman in college).

It was hard for me to find others with my same mindset at FSU, such a huge party university. I wanted to find people who not only ranked their education as their #1 priority but also ranked their #2 as living a fit and healthy lifestyle. So I decided to look elsewhere and thankfully I found Fit U! Their promotion of a well-balanced college lifestyle reflected everything that I believe in, so I couldn’t help but join this amazing community of powerlifters, runners, and healthy foodies, all with the same goals that I have!

Before wrapping up, I want to touch on the struggles of choosing this lifestyle. It’s not as easy as it seems in college, nor is it an always-positive slope. Fall semester of my Sophomore year went great—I aced Orgo 1, ended up with a 4.0, and had a set workout schedule where I made amazing #GAINS.


Then the spring semester came. My schedule was awkward, and Orgo 2 and genetics were wake up calls: my grades were not where I wanted them to be. I got sick and lost weight, and I missed the gym 2-3 times in one week. When spring break came along, I finally was able to catch a break and reassess what I wanted to do with fitness and school. I came up with a schedule and returned back to spring semester with a plan. I amped up my weekend study sessions by 3-4+ hours. By doing this, I saw my grades come up immensely and was still able to squeeze in my workout sessions!

Moral of the story? As college students, things don’t always go as planned…classes get hard, exams spring up and life gets in the way. I’ve gathered a lot from my fitness journey but if I had to boil it down…prioritization and patience are the two most important things I have learned thus far.

Author Kiah McSwain

Kiah is a twenty year old ambitious college student with her heart set on big goals. She majors in biology and minors in chemistry with the hopes to pursue medicine. She has a love for fitness and health that is unwavering and most of all has her mind focused on helping those in her community whether it be through fitness or medicine.

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