So you found out vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan kills it at the gym, does P90X and keeps his body fat down to an impressive 6-8%. If he can fit such a hardcore fitness regimen into his schedule and still find time to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, how hard can it be to work a little bit of consistent exercise into your own busy schedule at school this year?
The beginning of a new semester is one of the best opportunities to get on board with a new fitness plan — whether you want to emulate Ryan and commit to P90X, train for a 10K or finally give bikram yoga a try. Of course, there are many little hangups that get in the way of living healthily at college. Below are some easy tips from Andrew Sweet, head strength and conditioning coach at Vassar College, to help even the busiest college students live healthier on campus.
• Make exercise social
If you’re trying to commit to a new workout plan this semester, don’t do it alone. It’s infinitely easier to get out of bed to jog or lift weights when you know you’ve got a friend who’s coming with you.
“I’m a firm, firm believer that you are who you hang out with,” said Sweet. “Get around another person who works out, and who is going to hold you accountable to meet them at the gym at the same time every morning.” When you’re around someone who has the same exercise and fitness goals you do, you’ll both be more likely to adhere to your plan and stay motivated.
• Treat workouts like class
No matter how free-form you like your schedule to be, there are probably still things you make time for every week no matter what. Going to class, showing up to extracurricular meetings — those are usually high priorities. Make your workouts an equally high priority; block exercise into your schedule as a responsibility, instead of thinking of it as an optional part of your day.
• Avoid ruts in your routine
Even students who do make time to work out regularly often end up making a simple mistake: They do exactly the same exercise routine every day. If you’ve been doing the same old workout for ages, it’s easy to get bored and reach a plateau in your results.
“Humans are creatures of habit,” said Sweet. “So, you’ve got to get outside that. At the start of each month, ask yourself what you’re going to do to change up your routine. Start thinking, what’s a completely new thing that I can add to my fitness plan?” Make sure to change 15-20 minutes of your workout routine on a monthly basis, and your fitness plan will be more effective overall. When you regularly switch up the muscles you’re working, you build more all-over strength. (This sort of “muscle confusion” is a major part of P90X.)
• Don’t be a sucker at the dining hall
What’s tough about being on a meal plan — for student athletes or any undergrad trying to eat healthily — is that you have no control over what’s being served. So Sweet tells his athletes to stock their dorm rooms with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to snack on before heading to dinner. If you’re not ravenous when you step into the dining hall, you’re more likely to opt for a balanced, light meal instead of a heaping plate of fries.
• Think outside the campus gym
It’s great to have a free or low-cost campus gym at your disposal through college, but don’t let it limit you. Look around to see what kinds of classes and equipment are available at gyms near campus and ask for a student discount. You might end up discovering a type of workout you never would have otherwise tried.
“College campuses are often isolated,” said Sweet. “Don’t be scared to go off campus. Drive five minutes to a new, random gym and do something else.” Also, if there’s a sport (team handball? Badminton?) or type of fitness class (synchronized swimming? Swing dancing?) that you’re really jazzed about, see if you can get an intramural club going on campus.
Powered by Facebook Comments