One of the most difficult parts of being a college student is adapting to the “typical” college lifestyle. College students are constantly criticized for the excessive amounts of time they spend staring at a screen, doing homework for hours on end. Factor this in with a poor diet consisting of greasy, processed food, and it is no wonder the “Freshman 15” strikes fear in the hearts of first-year students across the country. But what if I told you that it is possible to achieve your fitness goals while also being a stellar student? Following are my top tips for staying in tip-top shape this school year:
- Schedule your workouts
Start by finding the gaps in your schedule when you have some free time. For me, this would be on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, as I only have one class on those days. The important thing here is to commit to the same times each week; think of them as important meetings with yourself that you can’t miss.
- Figure out your personal goal(s)
Some people may be more focused on building body muscle, while others may want more endurance. Perhaps you want to lose weight or you just want stronger calves to make that trip to the 4th floor of Hennesey slightly less excruciating. Whatever your ultimate goal is, start with achievable, yet challenging goals to work towards. For example, if your goal is to build endurance, but you’ve never run for more than two miles at a time, don’t try to go out and run four miles. Start small and slowly work your way up.
- Plan your workouts in advance
If you are anything like me, you are able to motivate yourself to wake up, put on your workout clothes, and walk to the gym. But as soon as you walk through the doors, you ask yourself, “Where do I even start?” This is where having a pre-planned workout comes in handy, so you don’t waste time and energy wandering around the place. Personally, I have a go-to list of YouTube videos to follow when I don’t feel like planning out my routine.
- Exercise how you want!
Thus far, I have mostly focused on going to the gym, but the gym isn’t the only place you can exercise! If running on a treadmill or lifting weights isn’t your cup of tea, find alternative methods, such as body weight workouts that you can do in your room. Play a game of Just Dance on the Wii, invite some friends to kick a soccer ball around with you, or swim laps in the San Jose Pool. Actually having fun while exercising will motivate you to stick with your plan.
- Enjoy the physical and emotional benefits
Not only will regular exercise help you achieve your fitness goals, but it can also help to improve other aspects of your health, as well. Regular physical activity improves your mood and mental health, allows you to concentrate and think more clearly, prevents illness, and reduces stress (Ulifeline.org). In addition, exercise can boost your self-esteem and make you more confident.
It might be a struggle for you to initially begin a more active way of life than what you are used to. But trust me, just take the leap! Your body and your mind will thank you.