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).