As first-year students get accustomed to their new surroundings and food options on campus it can be easy for them to pack on extra pounds.

For the second year in a row, students can work to avoid that weight gain by participating in the Freshman Fit-teen program, offered by the West Virginia University Student Recreation Center. The free 14-week program runs from Sept. 6 through Dec. 6, and offers fitness education, support and encouragement for any WVU student – not just freshmen – trying to prevent or lose the “freshman 15.”

“Last year it went really well,” said Nancy Oliverio, manager for fitness and wellness at the Student Recreation Center. “We had 120 freshmen sign up, and about 70 were continuously coming to complete the personal training and collect their points.”

Interested students can sign up on the center’s website until Sunday, Sept. 5. The kick-off activities will start on Monday, Sept. 6.

The program works on a point-based system: participants will receive points for completing personal training sessions and by participating in an intramural sport or group exercise classes. Additionally, each pound of weight and percentage of body fat lost will factor into the students total points. The winner will receive a $250 gift certificate to the Book Exchange.

“We’re trying to add different components this year,” Oliverio said. “We’ve added a sports’ conditioning class as well as an intramural sports option to spark more interest on campus.”

Kristie Capizzano, a sophomore journalism student and last year’s program winner, said that the program changed her college lifestyle for the better.

“Freshman Fit-teen helped me transition into college life and also made me keep my health and weight on track, despite all of the outside distractions here on campus,” Capizzano said. “My personal trainer was awesome and kept me motivated to keep coming back. The group exercise classes were a great way to meet new people, and the nutritionist helped me learn how to make healthy choices in a college cafeteria.”

Capizzano encourages all students to enroll in the program.

“Because of the program, I now see the rewards to working out – I not only look better, but I feel better every day,” Capizzano said. “I work out at least five to six days a week now, because of the knowledge I gained from my trainer.”

Oliverio also emphasized the importance of students taking advantage of their privileges at the center while they are in college.

“We feel very strongly about students getting personal training here at WVU since our trainers are highly qualified, and it’s free for students,” Oliverio said. “We have changed the standard of our personal trainers at the rec center. All of our trainers will be certified by a third-party accreditation by the end of September, and the lessons that students can learn from them will be something they can take with them forever.”

For more information or to sign up for Freshman Fit-Teen, visit



CONTACT: Nancy Oliverio, WVU Student Recreation Center