Once the semester gets going it seems like time just disappears! We all laugh when we are told to schedule three hours of study time for every one hour in class, but cry as we cram at 3am just hours before the midterm. Time is the most valuable commodity on this planet because we can never get back what we have already spent. This feeling of time constraint often causes us to make excuses and miss workouts, eat foods we know are detrimental to our health and cut chunks out of our sleep schedule. To prevent these negative behaviors, follow my Top Five Tips to stay healthy and fit during this chaotic semester.
Schedule your workout as it’s just another Class
We all have our class schedule posted on our , whiteboards and calendars. Why not dedicate another 60 to 90 minute time block in there for your workout? This makes your workout a priority because it is a scheduled event with a set time frame that you have committed to. Whether it’s before, between, or after classes there is usually a logical time slot in your schedule that works out perfectly.
I get it, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to hit the gym, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough time to exercise! When the gym doesn’t fit in to your schedule or you’re not feeling up to it, have some home workouts up your sleeve! There are plenty of affordable fitness tools that allow you to get a killer workout, regardless of your location. Some examples include resistance bands, jump ropes and dumbbells. With the combination of these tools and/or some knowledge on body weight exercises, you can easily get your heart rate up and be dripping sweat in a matter of minutes.
Stop skipping breakfast!
Mama always says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and she is right! As we sleep, our body is working hard to recover, especially our liver which is responsible for keeping our blood sugar in a balance throughout the night. This is a huge reason why it’s extremely important to refuel in the morning with carbohydrates and water, so that we can be physically and mentally ready for the day ahead! Wake up and literally, BREAK THAT FAST! It’s rare we make it eight hours without eating during our day, so why would we do it at night?
But I get it, it’s hard to wake up early enough to shower, eat, get ready and actually be on time. That’s why I recommend finding a couple breakfast items that are quick and easy, without sacrificing quality nutrition. Search Pinterest for some breakfast bake and/or overnight oatmeal options you can make during a meal prep! If that still takes too long to prep, then be like me and make an energy dense Protein Shake! Every morning before I run out the door I dump four or five quality ingredients into a blender, mix it all up and I’m headed off to class with a chocolate plant-based power meal that cost me maybe $2 in the long run!
Plan your partying
Let’s be real, with all of the mentally draining school work we need to indulge in our social life to stay sane, which typically involves some form drinking. And that is perfectly ok, but in order to stay fit we must prepare correctly. When you know you’re going out that night, consider that most alcohol is loaded with sugar and other carbohydrates. What can we do to compensate for this? We have two options: Take the proactive approach of eating less carbohydrates and sugar throughout the day (I recommend eating most of your carbs 1-2 hours before the festivities begin) or take the retroactive route, utilize the extra calorie intake during a high intensity workout in the morning. Good luck if you choose to go with option #2.
WATER! WATER! WATER!
You’ve heard it enough but H2O is one of, if not the most important nutrient that we can consume. Think of it like this, you and I are just a floating brain within a complex system of tubes and layers. software of a computer system, which communicate to the hardware (our bodies) via electrical impulses. Literally everything that you know to be a human sensation: vision, touch, smell, emotion… was something that your nerves communicated to your brain via an electrical impulse! Now let me ask you this, does electricity travel faster or slower in a higher water concentration? Faster! This means that the more hydrated we are, the more efficient our nervous system can function. On top of this, being properly hydrated has a massive list of benefits ranging from skin health to higher energy levels. How much water should you be drinking? The traditional rule is 1/2 your body weight in ounces, or you can just drink until your pee is clear! So start chugging! You will see and feel the differences.
All you need is your water bottle and five rubber bands! First thing in the morning, fill your water bottle (should be at least 28oz) and have all rubber bands wrapped around it. When the bottle is empty, remove one rubber band, then drink another bottle, take another off and so on until they’re all gone before you go to sleep.
“No! Not meal prep! I don’t want to spend all day cooking!” A common misconception, but meal prep is the best way to save time, energy and money! It may seem daunting at first, but once it becomes a habit, meal prep can be done in 60 to 90 minutes on a Sunday. Stay tuned for an in depth article of Efficient Meal Prep!
I’m sure you are all witnessing and experiencing the damage caused by stress to college students. Although our bodies are amazing and built to quickly adapt to stress, damage is inevitable without proper recovery. There are many stress management techniques such as meditation, mindful breathing, gratitude and many more that will be reviewed in more detail in the near future.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, or inquiries to get involved!