With nearly 40,000 students, the University of Maryland is a bustling hub of activity. You’ll find the campus painted with red, gold, white, and black not only on game days, but on any given day of the week. Yeah, it’s no secret that Terps value their Maryland pride, but we’re pretty darn passionate about staying healthy too.
Need some help in that department? Here’s everything you need to know about the health and wellness scene in College Park. You don’t have to rub our mascot Testudo’s nose for good luck to find the best workout spots and secret good eats — it’s all right here!
Navigating a dining hall that—let’s be honest—probably smells like pizza or pasta is a daunting task for a hungry Terp. While it’s definitely possible to indulge (hello, homemade ice cream from the Dairy and warm Testudo-imprinted Belgian waffles), it’s also easy to maintain a healthy diet. You just need to know your options and have a plan!
At The Diner, head to Sprouts, a vegan station with custom-made wraps, hot meals, and made-to-order stir fries with veggies from the salad bar. Got class on south campus? Head to the South Campus Dining Hall for the infamous stir fries from Seasons 12 with rice, vegetables, proteins, and sauces, or fresh smoothies with no added sugar from Smoothies. And here’s a Fitt tip: you can find nutrition and allergen facts for both dining halls here.
Though, if you’re craving adventure, you can find Green Tidings, a UMD-based food truck offering delicious local, sustainable cuisine. The menu changes seasonally and the location daily; check them both out here.
Hoping to spend some of your meal plan’s Terp Bucks? Look no further than Sneaker’s Cafe in the Eppley Recreation Center for Naked juices, salads and sammies, post-workout snacks, and made-to-order protein shakes that put Smoothie King to shame. Or, check out “the Co-op” in the Stamp Student Union, boasting “the best food on campus – Period” by serving huge sandwiches (think falafel, fresh meats, or even Tofurky), salads, a hot food bar (*cough cough* taco Tuesday *cough*), and even kombucha, all for great prices. Trust us — we saved the best for last!
Heading off campus to grab a bite? We’ve got you covered. Here are our best recommendations on where to score the healthiest eats near campus:
There’s a great selection waiting for you on Route 1 if you’re using the DOTS buses, biking, or even walking. For lunch, head to sweetgreen or Bread N Greens for light but loaded salad bowls. Or, catering to everyone from the health-conscious to the “devout vegan,” NuVegan Café offers an extensive menu including entrées, sandwiches, cold and hot sides, pressed juice, and smoothies. Got time to spare? Munch on some small plates while playing board games at Board and Brew or catch up with friends at Jason’s Deli while enjoying fare with no artificial trans fats, MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors and dyes. And may we recommend Jason’s unlimited salad bar option for $8.29?
If you’re lucky enough to have a friend with a car or own one yourself, you’re in luck. Busboys and Poets earns our #1 spot with a rockin’ menu for meat-eaters and veg-heads alike. Set yourself up with homemade baba ganoush, coconut tofu bites, sweet potato hash, lamb sliders…and these are just appetizers — then add in an in-restaurant library/bookstore, and a socially-conscious activity schedule.
Right around the corner, Spice 6 offers Chipotle-style, pick-your-toppings Indian dishes. But if high-protein is your thing, taste test some authentic Jamaican meats at The Jerk Pit. Fitt tip: For Terps without their own wheels who want to explore outside of College Park, take the Metro into DC to discover a new extensive culinary scene.
Any current or past Terp will tell you this: Eppley Recreation Center on north campus is the place to be. The ERC has everything — an indoor track, vast cardio room, two-level weight room, functional training studio, matted boxing room, basketball courts, group fitness studio, Olympic-sized indoor pool, outdoor pool, sauna, steam room…the list goes on! To break out of your normal routine and check activities off your college bucket list, test out the Racquetball courts (reserve a time slot here and show up early to rent equipment), conquer your fear of heights on the outdoor Climbing Wall, or try a group fitness class — all for free.
Intimidated by a large gym setting? Check out Ritchie Coliseum across Route 1 or the gym at the School of Public Health, both with cardio machines, weights, and group classes. Or join a club or intramural sports team — from ballroom dance to rugby, we’ve got it all! Fitt tip: check each gym facilities’ usage meter here to see how busy they are before you show up.
Your student ID is your ticket to other great, lesser-known sweat spots on campus. Try out cycling classes in Regents Cycling Studio get deals on tee times at the golf course, play pick-up futsal at the Record Armory Gym, or sign up for outdoorsy trips with the Maryland Adventure Program. Plus, keep your mental health game strong by meditating at the Labyrinth next to Memorial Chapel!
There are even more prime places to get the endorphins flowing in the College Park community. Serious yogi? Head to newly-opened Numi Yoga (next to the infamous Bagel Place) for various types of classes including hot yoga and Vinyasa. Perfect for a sweaty detox, flexible stretch, intense flow, or maybe just a reason to enjoy a fresh bagel.
If kicking and punching is more your style, iLoveKickboxing in Hyattsville can hook you up with a new student offer. You’ll have that right hook down in no time! If only we could knock out exams so easily…
Looking to try something new? Beginners, regulars, and dancers alike swear by barre, a total body sculpting workout, and what better place to try it than OpenBarre? Created by a UMD alum, this studio offers discounts for Terps, so get your friends together and head to the barre. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
Finally, for our runners, walkers, cyclists, and nature-enthusiasts, break out your Asics ‘cause the trails nearby are beckoning. About one mile from campus, Lake Artemesia is a beautiful escape from the everyday grind of classes, work, and studying. If you’re lucky, you might even see some swans! Or take the connecting Paint Branch or Indian Creek Trails. For more info about the trails (and some old-school maps), click here.
With thousands of student groups on campus (not to mention tens of thousands of people), it’s easy to feel conflicted when faced with so many choices. Here’s our best advice: follow your passions and expand your interests! We’ll let you in the know on some of the hottest groups that will not only challenge you physically, but make UMD’s huge campus feel like home.
Let’s start with Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls. Sound like your jam? Check out UMD’s chapter of CHAARG, the organization taking campuses across the nation by storm. For powerful women that work to disembody the “cardio bunny” stereotype, this is the group for you!
If you’ve ever dreamed of jumping over a ring of fire (yes, you read that correctly!), now’s your chance. Gymkana trains students with no prior gymnastics experience into tumbling, flipping, and spinning acrobats. Plus, the group is committed to healthy living through the example of its members. Check out some of their media to see some awesome stunts.
Now, if deadlifts and donuts are more your style, we’ve got just the thing! The Barbell Club unites weightlifters from different styles (Olympic, powerlifting, bodybuilding, etc.) in one room with one goal: to get stronger in every sense of the word. The club offers “open gym” practices and has produced several titled powerlifters. And, we just love their philosophy that “under the bar, the world fades away.”
If you’re like us, you like to explore new cities, try new activities, and meet new people. And with Washington, DC in your backyard, there’s no better place to do all three than the nation’s capital.
If you’re an early bird, check out the November Project, a group which meets three times a week to workout around the DC monuments. Expect sprints, stairs, and “spice” — bodyweight exercises that change each session. You’ll be feeling positively presidential in no time!
Meanwhile, the Capital Striders will help you get some mileage under your belt and wear ’n’ tear on your running shoes. The organization hosts group runs every day that meet all around the DMV area (DC, Maryland, Virginia).
And if you’re not a pavement-pounder, you’re not out of luck. From donation-based yoga classes to cycling groups, BicycleSPACE holds down its position as the “best bike shop in DC.” Check out their site for more details!
Get your glow on at Glow Yoga on the Mall. Join in on an hour-long Vinyasa class on America’s front yard, the National mall, complete (of course) with glow sticks and body paint. This event is held several times throughout the year, so stay tuned if you can’t make this one!
Prove your grit at the Nation’s Triathlon, the only tri in DC. Swim, bike, and run your way through the nation’s capital with three different distance options: Sprint, Olympic, and Olympic Aquabike.
Purpose and pride unite runners in Arlington, Virginia, at the 42nd annual Marine Corps Marathon, the “best for beginners, best organized…the will-do, must-do, can-do marathon.”
Rock ’N’ Roll Marathon hits DC! Choose from marathon, half marathon, or 5k options and join in on the fun! And if you didn’t pick up on this already, there will be plenty of live jams along the way.
Here’s a UMD special that you definitely want to be a part of! Terp Thon is a student organization on campus which fundraises year-round then hosts a 12-hour dance-a-thon each March where the fundraising total is revealed. Get your friends together, dress in your brightest colors, and get ready to dance #ForTheKids! Also check out their Festival of Hope 5k color run in September.
Hosted by the UMD Department of Recreation and Wellness, the Terrapin Fitness Combine gives coed teams of two a chance to compete to earn the title of ‘Fittest Terps on Campus.’ The fitness challenge is modeled after NFL scouting combine and measures strength, endurance, agility, speed, and flexibility… think you got what it takes?
We’ll keep you up to date on all things health, fitness and local food in Pittsburgh.