Whether you’re staving off the freshman 15 or trying to survive your thesis research without turning into a permanent chair-dweller, college can be a tricky time to stay fit. And with such a competitive body image culture, lots of ladies have a hard time finding balance between getting classwork done and having an ideal dance bod for the weekends.
Luckily, college is actually the perfect place to start a fitness routine that you can keep up for the rest of your life.
Here’s the NFG Lowdown on how to get fit and stay fit in college.
First you want to get to know the campus gym. These are usually free to students, especially if you live on campus. Start by finding a time to set aside that works with your schedule, keeping in mind that some times are busier than others.
Lots of us find that working out alone is less anxiety-inducing, so weekend mornings and weekday evenings might be your best bet. Then again, some of us like to work out socially, so if being around lots of fit, motivated people gets you going, choose a busy time.
Now that you’ve sussed out your gym, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal! The most important part of any fitness regimen is cardio. It’ll keep you at a stable weight, and help you feel all those amazing post-workout hormones. Start off with a reasonable goal. To feel the full biological effects of cardio, you have to do a minimum of 20 minutes. Start there, then slowly work your way up to an hour. Work out 3 times a week or more, and add 10 minutes to your cardio time each week. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you build up your endurance.
New to the gym? Working out for your first time? You might not know which machine to try, between the stair climber, exercise bike, treadmill, and elliptical trainer. Our favorite is the elliptical. It’s the lowest-impact machine, which means it doesn’t hurt your joints or spine like running. Plus you get a workout in your whole body, which doesn’t happen with any machine other than rowers! Ellipticals give you an amazing core as well as making the fat fall away
We know that a lot of you are getting in shape for the first time at college. If that’s the case, even the elliptical might be too discouraging to stick with. You want to start out with something fun that doesn’t feel so much like slogging through a workout alone. Look for free zumba classes on campus, or sign up for a set of classes, starting with 6 to make sure you can stick with it. Once you’ve got a decent amount of stamina built up, you’re ready to go it alone in the gym on the days between classes!
After you’ve had a few weeks of cardio under your belt, you’ll start to see the fat going away. That’s the first step of your fitness routine: you’ve established control over your body weight.
Now you’re ready for step two, which is the shaping part. Now that you’ve got a stable weight, you want to start achieving your ideal body shape. For most college girls, that’s going to mean core toning, and working on strong legs and a sexy booty.
Start adding some strengthening exercises to your cardio routine, focusing on your legs and core.
Squats are ideal to add into your regimen, because they do both at once! They also help you get some extra back muscles, which give you better posture whether you’re standing or sitting. Posture is the key to being seen as the assertive force of nature you’ve always known you were!
Once you’re starting to get the hang of squats, you can hit the other machines! Try leg presses for even more of a quad and butt workout. One super easy (and cheap) way to learn about all the different equipment and to start your own routine is to sign up for training sessions with trainers in training! If your school has a fitness and physiology program, you can usually get one of the seniors to train you as practicum! It’s way, way cheaper than a professional trainer, and they’ve got most of the same knowledge.
That’s it, ladies! If you’ve ticked off everything on this list, you’ll be feeling super fit and ready for anything! Healthy bodies mean happy minds, too, so you’re going to see all your exercise pay off in the classroom, too.
P.S. If you’ve been doing your cardio, your squats and a few other exercises, but aren’t quite getting to that ideal figure, we’re going to introduce you to a little-discussed secret known only to those girls at the gym who always seem to have a perfect hourglass going on. Waist trainers are slimming, shaping pieces of clothing you wear under your workout gear, and they help pull in your stomach and make your hip curves pop. They won’t get you looking like Beyonce all by themselves, but they
Remember to subscribe for more slimming tips and tricks, and check out WaistTrainers.Reviews for absolutely everything you need to know about shapewear, from all the different styles for women, to even the best rated waist trainer for men (yes, they do exist).
Regardless of the major you pick in college, you’re guaranteed at least one week of pure mania: crunch week. The week before finals is a blur of reading days, panic, and cramming, which doesn’t take any prisoners. If you’re going to survive, you’ll need to follow our tips here.
First off, take a break. No, really. Take a break, then take another. There’s only so long you can sit at a desk without your brain completely fogging over. The more you break up your study sessions with short, productive breaks, the more you can keep your mind fresh and alert. Take quick little runs to keep your juices flowing, or walk around the block to clear your head. If you play an instrument, give yourself ten minutes to play every hour, to totally shake things up!
If you want to hit the gym for a break, stick to cardio. You want maximum heart rate to reset your system after sitting down for a long period of time. Make sure you don’t slouch or slump when you’re getting tired, which can be a real problem at the end of the semester. Make sure to wear your waist trainer to keep your back straight and your core tucked for support!
Second, don’t let your diet go. For most of us, it’s the first casualty of crunch week. If your brain is going to get through those essays and exams, you need to keep it fully topped up. Think of it like an engine in a car. Sure, you need the gasoline to keep the basic motion going, but without all the other lubricants, motor oils, and cooling fluids, it’s all going to burn out before you know it.
So, when you don’t have time to make or eat a big salad, get a smoothie from the campus cafeteria, or keep carrots and hummus in your fridge. A good bottle of juice is also your friend, just make sure it’s not sweetened by anything extra. Make sure you’re still getting at least 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, whether you’re drinking them or munching them to keep your brain active.
A smoothie or juice is also the perfect replacement for traditional cramming beverages like coffee or cappuccinos. Vitamins and minerals from fresh fruits and veggies will give you a boost like those stimulants, but they won’t leave you crashing afterward! Have nutritious beverages instead of coffee, and use crunchy veggies like carrots or celery to keep your mind alert.
Use good study habits to maximize your reading days. Follow our three simple rules:
Change locations: every time you switch study spots, you prevent your brain getting into a rut.
Team up: everyone in your class has different strong suits, and pooling knowledge is a surefire way to make sure you aren’t missing something for your test.
Turn off: shut off your phone, and turn of notifications on your laptop if you’re using it to study or write essays. You need to eliminate distractions from your study zone if you’re going to be productive.
Good luck studying, ladies!
It can be a real struggle to keep yourself funded in college. You’re working part time, maybe even full time, studying like crazy and trying to save money, but getting wiped out every year when it comes to buying your supplies for classes and for your dorm or apartment. Never Fear, Girls! We’re going to teach you a few tricks for making your money go that much further this school year.
-scavenge during move-out week:
Yes, we know, our first tip technically comes at the end of the year. But if you’re mid-semester now, this is the most important one to follow! Move-out week is a treasure trove for those who take the time to scavenge. Look around campus for drop-off points where lazy students discard books, appliances, and kitchen supplies they didn’t want to bring home. You can find all your summer reads this way. And, if you don’t actually want a book, bring it back to the campus bookstore and see if you can sell it back for cash!
This is a super way to make extra money going into the next year. We’ve found fridges, toasters, pots and pans, and every other kind of kitchen gear, not to mention lamps, book cases, and even printers! So, make some time during finals week to scavenge around campus dorms and sidewalks by student apartments.
-re-sell books at the end of the year, both your and scavenged editions:
Even if you don’t have time to scavenge extra books, you should at the very least sell back all your own textbooks. Don’t expect to get the full price back, but you should easily get 50% back or more.
-don’t buy books you won’t keep:
One way to save money up front is to just not buy a book you don’t think you’ll keep or reread. If it’s a textbook that’s specific to a course, you probably won’t go back to it. Share with a friend or look for copies on reserve at your school library. If it’s a novel you think you’ll keep enjoying for years, buy it.
-always go to Goodwill or other shops for kitchen gadgets, cutlery, etc. :
You’re a college student, not an adult starting a household. You should never have to buy new dishes, cutlery or other kitchen essentials. Of course you want something that looks good and works well, but there’s no point spending hundreds of dollars for things that are going to get lost or taken in apartments over the years, or thrown out later in life. Buy used items at charity stores, and be sure to look in free piles at the end of each year.