Do you stress out about finding time to fit a workout plan into your already crazy college schedule?
No worries, I have just the right advice for you! I used to stress out about finding time to fit working out into my busy schedule. As a full time student, part time employee, and NSCS officer I thought it would be near impossible to find time to get in shape. With a little advice and support from friends along with a strong motivation, I found just the right amount of time to fit in a work out plan.
Have an hour or longer break between classes?
An hour or more is the perfect time to fit in a quick workout. In the amount of time that it takes you to get lunch from a busy campus food place, find a seat, get out your laptop, update your Facebook status and start snacking on your lunch you could have already fit in a workout! After class head to the campus gym, quickly change into some workout clothes and hit the machines. Working out on the machines is the perfect way to stay sweat free while still getting in a good workout. If you are unfamiliar with how different machines work at your campus gym don’t be shy and ask an employee. Most employees are college students and would love to show you around the gym.
Start your hour with a five minute warm up, either walking fast paced on the treadmill or jumping on the elliptical. Follow the five minute workout with a ten minute stretch. Coordinate your stretching with the type of machines you will be using for that day. For example, say I have an hour break only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays focus on arm workouts with arm stretches and on Thursdays focus on leg workouts with leg stretches.
Next, choose five different machines that will target different muscle groups. For instance, I choose the following machines for my leg work outs: leg press, leg push-back, leg abduction, leg adduction and seated leg curls. These machines focus on different muscle areas in the legs that help build muscles and reduce fat. Most machines at the gym will have pictures of the muscle groups that the certain machine targets. Try to find a variety of different machines. Once you have your machines picked out, start with a weight that seems slightly difficult but not too easy. You will become stronger and will be able to increase your weight in the following weeks. Perform two to three sets of twelve reps each to start and work your way up in sets and reps in the following weeks. You will amaze yourself with how much improvement you will see. Remember to perform the reps slowly and to write down the machines you choose to use as well as the amount of weight. This will help you keep track of your progress. Once you become accustomed to the machines and routinely perform the workout you will be done faster each week because you are stronger and more familiar with the routine.
After your workout change back into your normal clothes, if you feel like it, and head to your next class. Since these workouts aren’t cardio workouts you will hardly sweat so it’s okay not to shower. I promise you won’t stink (at least us girls). You may have plenty of time leftover to fit lunch in as well. Eating right after a workout is a great way to boost your metabolism and burn fat. Instead of waiting in the long lines at your campus restaurant, try to find a place that has pre-made sandwiches and fruit. For example, my campus has the Union Market that offers pre-packaged tuna salad sandwiches on whole grain bread and pre-packaged fruit. It’s convenient, healthy and delicious.
For an additional fitness workout, try running on the treadmill or in your neighborhood for thirty minutes to an hour. Cardio at least once a week is a great way to help you stay in shape and reach your fitness goals.
I would like to dedicate this post to my good friends Sara and Chad who have been a positive influence in my life and who help me continue to reach my fitness goals. For more helpful information on how to get fit please visit www.exercise-lifestyle.com.
Brittany Darrow is a junior at the University of Akron majoring in Marketing Management. She has been a member of NSCS since 2008 and currently holds the officer position of VP of Membership & Public Relations at her chapter. Brittany’s hobbies include working out, cooking, hiking, fishing, and skiing. Brittany’s future goals include visiting India (to visit a hall named after her grandparents who sponsored an Indian boy who is now a public school teacher), writing and publishing a book and owning a small farm someday. Brittany loves animals and has her own husky lab mix named Ari.