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How to build your perfect workout routine as a student

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Aug 6, 2019 2:44:06 AM

Portrait of a happy young woman sitting on the city stairs and using laptop computer outdoors

How to Build Your Perfect Workout Routine as a Student?


You’d think that lugging those heavy textbooks from one side of campus to another would be adequate exercise. Unfortunately, it isn’t. If you’ve been indulging in beers and pizza with your friends on a regular basis, you may have even noticed your fitness levels decreasing.

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This is a crucial point in your life when it comes to your fitness. As you become more independent, you’ll have fewer people keeping after you to stay in shape. It’s all up to you now. Your best bet for getting into shape now is to build a workout routine that works for you. If you can gain some successes, and knock out some performance goals, you are more likely to stick with your program. Below are some tips for doing just that.


Get Your Stats 


‘Getting into shape’ is too vague of a goal to be meaningful. You need specific, measurable goals to help you get started. Begin by establishing some benchmarks. It’s not difficult to calculate your body fat percentage, weigh yourself, and get your BMI. Consider taking measurements of your waist, chest, hips, and upper arms as well.


Now it’s time to check your current performance levels. Here are some common measurements that people use to evaluate their fitness levels. Just one caveat! If you are in poor physical condition, you may need to skip some of these for now to avoid injury.


  • How much weight can you bench press?
  • How many unassisted pull-ups can you do?
  • Push-ups in one minute?
  • Sit-ups in one minute?
  • How long does it take you to run one mile?
  • How much weight can you leg press?
  • How long does it take for you to run 300 yards?


These are just some suggestions. You can create your own benchmarks based on your fitness goals, and activity level.


Now Set Some Goals


People often fail at getting into shape, because they don’t set specific goals. You may find that it helps to use SMART goals. This is a system of setting and achieving goals based on the SMART acronym. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.


Now, imagine that you weigh 200 pounds. You don’t like how you look in the mirror. You’re tired all the time, and you want to get into better shape.


Scratch that. It’s too generic. You want to lose weight. Now you have the specific part down. The next step is to make it measurable. If you lose 20 pounds, that would be 10% of your overall body weight. You know that a 20-pound weight loss is doable. It’s attainable. Now, you figure out why you want to do this. Losing weight must be relevant to you. So, you imagine how you feel seeing your beer gut in the mirror, and becoming winded when you play ultimate frisbee with your friends. You want to continue to be active and to look good. Finally, you set a time limit for you to meet your goals. Ten weeks it is because you know that two pounds a week are a goal that is safe and achievable.


Center Your Workout Around Body Weight Exercises

Not matter where you go, there you are. It’s a cliche, but something important to remember when it comes to building a workout routine. You may not always have access to equipment, but you’ll always have yourself. Master some bodyweight exercises, and you’ll always be able to work out.


What are bodyweight exercises? These are exercises that don’t require any sort of equipment. Instead, you use the weight of your own body as resistance to help you get into shape.


Here are some examples:


  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Planks
  • Burpees


You can do these anywhere, anytime. Start three days per week. You can work your way up to a six-day schedule as you get used to exerting yourself. 


Obviously, you can start with more days if you are already in decent shape. What you want to do is avoid burnout by committing to too much too soon.


Remember that the keys to success here are consistency, good form, and increasing intensity as you go. There are loads of videos on YouTube that contain great bodyweight workouts. If you have a fit friend, ask them to work out with you, and to give you pointers on your form. Can you afford even one or two sessions with a personal trainer? They can also get you squared away with the specific exercises you should do, a number of reps, etc.


Finally, don’t forget about cardio. Jogging, brisk walking, jumping rope, even running up and downstairs are easy for most people to do. The idea is to get your heart rate up, and speed your respiration!


Take Advantage of Free And Inexpensive Resources


As a college student, there are several perks that may be available to you for free. Chances are, your tuition gets you admission to at least one gym on campus. There may even be a swimming pool for you to use as well. 


Check these things out. Even if your workout routine centers around bodyweight exercises, swimming, hitting the treadmill, and lifting weights can add important variety to your workout. You’ll enjoy exercising more if it’s interesting to you. You can also get some better results if you change things up. You’ll challenge different muscles in different ways if you add new elements to your exercise routine.


Finally, pay attention to discounts that you can receive as a college student. If you want to join an off-campus gym or take some fitness classes, your college ID could help you save a few dollars.


Make a Specific time Commitment


A successful workout plan isn’t one that you execute whenever you have a free moment. You have to carve out time for fitness. It isn’t enough to learn to do the exercises, you have to make working out a habit. In fact, research shows that creating habits is more effective than motivation. This is because motivation fades over time, and is driven by how you feel. By creating a habit, you develop self-discipline, and you are more likely to do what you need to, regardless of your feelings at the moment. 


Besides, there will always be something to do besides working out. You will have dates, college academic writing assignments, invitations to hang out with friends, and other distractions.


Look at your schedule, and carve out times when you will absolutely work out no matter what. Remember that as long as you have bodyweight exercises as the centerpiece of your workout routine, you shouldn’t have issues with anything getting into the way of your routine. You don’t need good weather, or even transportation to do these.


Look For Additional Opportunities to Increase Your Fitness


If you have a choice between the elevator and the stairs, always take the stairs. That’s not just good fitness advice, it’s the best way to approach reaching your fitness goals. Small activities like taking the stairs, walking the dog one extra time each day, and parking far away from the store so that you have to walk really add up. Even something as simple as tightening your abs for 30 seconds as time can help you tone and build strength.


Don’t Let Your Fork Destroy Your Progress


Let’s see, ramen, beer, pizza, coffee that’s more sugar and cream than anything else, late-night runs for munchies, and more! There are so many temptations that you will face as a student. It’s difficult, but you must resist. If you continue with poor eating habits, you will neutralize any fitness progress you make. Stock up on vegetables, jerky, and other snacks that don’t pack on sugars and other carbs. Engage in other hobbies when you get tempted to snack mindlessly.

Topics: Fitness