Staying Fit At University: Our How-To Guide
University and college is a complete lifestyle change for many of us. We go from the comfort of home, school routines and home made meals to living in student accommodation, budget meals and a completely different timetable. Even if you are a stay at home student, like I was, getting to grips with lectures, seminars and all of the time to spare in between can be liberating, but overwhelming too. I remember feeling so excited at the prospect of a lecture starting at midday, having 4 hours to spare and ending with a short seminar at least twice a week. Having a Starbucks on campus was the dream and chilling with friends pretty much whenever I wanted was the best! Plus, there were no teachers chasing me for assignments; I was literally living my best life! For my international friends who were visiting England for the first time, they were loving life, filling all their spare time with sightseeing and tourism. However, one semester in and the novelty of sipping my caramel macchiato every morning started to wear off. I was starting to feel the effects of late lie ins, snacking all day, and essentially just drifting from day to day.
I had always worked out when at school and tried to stick to a similar schedule when I started university, but I underestimated the change in lifestyle, friends and place. I wasn’t enjoying being a student as I didn’t really give myself structure. I soon realised that’s exactly what exercise can give me. Exercise has the power to shape and determine your day, week and lifestyle - and that is no exaggeration. In fact, I would go as far as to say it made the greatest difference to my lifestyle as a student. I had a plan for everyday; I had more energy; I was motivated; I felt that I had done something for myself and I was noticing amazing physical and emotional benefits to my wellbeing.
When we exercise, certain chemicals and proteins are released that help us relax, make us more energetic and give us the resilience to manage stress; these chemicals and proteins can also improve the way our brain functions - all of which is vital for your primary function as a student, to study! Over time, exercise can make you more time conscious and therefore you become more time efficient. What I mean by this is that exercise can be quantified: we can decide how long, how many reps, sets etc, etc, we want to do in a specific amount of time; we then realise just how much we can actually get done in 20, 30, or 60 minutes! This then rubs off to your study schedule, your lectures, your time in the library, your meal prep and plan...basically, it has a positive impact on your entire lifestyle! The Tone & Sculpt app caters for pretty much every time limit, if you have only 10-15 minutes or up to an hour or more, there are workouts to suit pretty much every lifestyle, especially those of a student! The team at Tone & Sculpt have been where you are, especially your girl, Krissy! The workouts and plans are specifically designed with you in mind, therefore you will reap the benefits from the app from day one!
However, we fully appreciate that getting into the flow once you’ve started is doable, it’s starting that can feel overwhelming.
Here we share some of our best tips to getting fit as a student to support your mental and physical wellbeing when studying!
1. Invest in a weekly planner: I say invest, but this can simply be completed on your phone, on some note paper or in a weekly planner! We all receive student timetables; look at your week in hourly slots, fill it in with your priorities (lectures and seminars etc) and then look at it from a birds’ eye view. This will help you begin to carve out the time you have to fit in a workout, what will work for you and your lifestyle. The other thing to remember is you don’t need to workout everyday. This can help if you are feeling a little overwhelmed. Starting with 1 or 2 days a week is perfect too! The Tone & Sculpt app has a 3 and a 5 day guide for home and gym workouts, so you can literally choose what works best for you if and when using the app.
2. Choose a time of day that suits you: although several advocate ‘starting your day’ with a workout is best, as a student, we all know our days don’t follow the usual work day pattern. Therefore, when looking at your weekly plan, choose a time of day that works for you. Decide whether this will be at home or at the gym (this might make a difference to your timings) and write it into your planner just like you would a lecture or seminar. There is something magical about writing tasks down and getting them done too!
3. Go to a class or follow a workout schedule: we’ve already said the app has everything you need, and it costs a lot less than a gym membership, especially if you choose to workout at home. If you would like a taste of the gym, especially if you’re not used to going, book on to a class and take a friend if you can! Plus, classes are scheduled within a 30-60 minute time period so you know when you’ll be in and out! If you would like to use the gym, most gyms offer a free induction with a personal trainer, which I highly recommend, just to get you used to using the different equipment.
4. Wear your workout clothes: Let’s be honest, gym wear is the new day wear! You may find you are more likely to workout and get fit if you wear your gym wear before you head out the door. Plus, if you are short on time, it’s a great way to save time! It always works for me; once I put my sports bra on, the gym is my oyster!
5. Pack your gym bag and snacks: my fellow blogger, the gorgeous Leanne Jacklin-Grey, has written a very informative blog on your gym bag essentials. As you pack your college bag, grab your gym bag so you have everything you need to fit in the best parts of your day! Or, combine both! Carrying some healthy snacks (dates, protein shake, or check out blogs by our awesome dietician, Nicole Ramirez) will keep you fuelled pre and post workout, so you have every reason to fit that workout in!
Remember, as soon as you start, it will become a key part of your lifestyle in a matter of weeks; you’ll find easier ways to integrate LISS into your days too, which is a great way to stay fit and active. You are 100% doing this for you, we want you to be successful in your studies as well as your mental and physical wellbeing. We are here for you, and here to support you every step of the way! Let us know in the comments below how you get on!