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The 25 Fittest Colleges in America

Find out whether your school made the grade.
No. 5 University of Texas, Austin, TX Everything’s big in Texas—except for maybe the students themselves, thanks to the Fitness Institute of Texas (FIT), which provides individualized assessments. Eight fitness and rec facilities offer Longhorns everything from dodgeball to indoor soccer. The school’s Fitness/Wellness program has a host of group activities, such as cycling classes and small-group personal training. The campus’s Stark Center houses an extensive research library on weightlifting and conditioning and a museum named after Men’s Fitness co-founder Joe Weider and his wife, Betty.

How We Ranked Them After narrowing the pool to a list of colleges with the largest enrollments, we averaged three categories:
The FITNESS Index accounted for the number of intramural athletic clubs, gyms, basketball courts and lap pools; the number of NCAA titles the school had won; and whether a fitness requirement was needed to graduate. The NUTRITION Index determined whether a nutritionist was available for students, how many fast-food joints littered the campus, whether calories were posted online and the number of bars within a mile radius. The CAMPUS Index gauged how many health and fitness majors were offered, the mean on-campus temperature and the annual percentage of sunshine (more sun meant more incentive to go outside). We weighted fitness and nutrition factors higher, then crunched the numbers to come up with the list.

No. 4 Indiana University, Bloomington, IN This is Hoosiers hoops country, so it’s no surprise that the campus has 15 basketball courts. Every April, IU holds the Little 500—the country’s largest collegiate bike race—which raises money for working students’ scholarships. Club sports range from table tennis to Taekwondo. There are two full size gyms, one with an Olympic size swimming pool, the other with 12 racquetball courts. An online NetNutrition plan helps students plan their meals—it even factors in allergy restrictions. IU also holds the annual Midwest Fit Fest, a conference at which students and staff can learn all sorts of fitness techniques. And portly professors can slim down with the summer-long Step Into Fitness program. No. 3 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI The largest of MSU’s four gyms is Intramural Center West—a 175,600-square-foot behemoth of a facility that features seven basketball courts, four volleyball courts and three squash courts. MSU offers classes like kickboxing, yoga and cycling; more than 20 competitive club sports; and access to sailing and a self defense center. Lake Lansing is a quick 15-minute drive away, with additional hiking trails, kayaking and rowing classes. MSU mascot Sparty the Spartan doesn’t get any points for name originality, but he does have two tickets to the gun show. No. 2 University of California- Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA UCLA certainly breeds fit competitors—the Bruins have won the most NCAA team championships of any school (107). The FitWell program hooks up students and faculty members with the classes, education and facilities they need to attain their fitness goals. The on-campus gym is open 24 hours from Mon day to Thursday and boasts certified personal trainers, four exercise studios and three basketball courts. The Student Nutrition & Body Image awareness campaign helps promote the proper way to lose, gain and maintain weight heathily. Off campus, students have access to more than a dozen challenging hikes, all within six miles, as well as the Marine Aquatic Center, where students can kayak, row, surf, or windsurf. Legendary Muscle Beach is located just 20 minutes away in nearby Venice, and during the winter, students can travel a few hours north to ski some of Cali’s snow capped peaks. No. 1 Ohio State University, Columbus, OH Why so fit? For starters, OSU scored a near-perfect 99.6 out of 101 for the Fitness Index (for more details on our methodology, see “How We Ranked ’Em”). Troubled football team aside, there’s nothing “improper” about the fit benefits offered here: four rec centers, a tennis center and even a skate park, all named after Buckeyes alum Jesse Owens. To boot, its nationally recognized Recreation and Physical Activity Center offers up all equipment imaginable, including video-game virtual fitness options at “The Lounge.” More outdoorsy? Hit up the ice-climbing wall, take up wakeboarding, or rent a canoe and paddle or snowshoes for the day. And if you’re a part of the school’s K1 kickboxing team and/or love lifting, immerse yourself in the Columbus MMA and strongman hub. The world-renowned Arnold Sports Festival in March offers up amateur bodybuilding contests, along with participation in CrossFit, fencing, skateboarding, martial arts, arm wrestling and Ping-Pong. That’s right, Ping-Pong.

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