Turquoise Dumbell weight (left) and water bottle (right) symbols in front of a grey background with a pink heart in the middle with a heart monitor line in the middle of the heart.

5 Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy During the School Year

By Piper Blake
Assistant Web Content Manager

Since this semester began, I have set the goal of living a healthier and happier college life. College can be hard when it comes to staying healthy due to minimal healthy food options and busy schedules. That is why I have found that if I set myself a goal of how I want to feel or look for myself, I will more likely stick to a regimen that works for me. 

I started off the semester by trying to get to the gym as much as possible around work, class and homework. This worked for a little while before I realized I was only making it to the gym maybe three times a week and I wasn’t feeling or looking any better.

Once classes started to calm down and I found time in the afternoon, I started making the gym a daily routine. I also decided that even if I exercise every day, I won’t see results unless I change a few more things. I have created a list of the daily choices I have made and incorporated into my everyday life that has improved my overall health and wellness. 

Water

Drinking water has many health benefits over other choices like coffee or soda. Water prevents bloating, aids in hydration and digestion, and improves energy and physical performance. I have been drinking tons of water daily. I carry a 24 oz water bottle with me throughout the day while in class. I try to drink at least four full bottles from the time I start my day to the time I go workout. 

This change in how much water I intake has improved how my stomach feels and looks. I don’t get as bloated as I did when I wasn’t monitoring my water intake and I don’t crave as many sweet drinks. 

Sodas, teas and coffees are diuretics. This means they flush your system of the water you do have in your body leading to dehydration. Cutting out sodas and teas and limiting my coffee intake (which has been painful) has given me more energy and allowed me to see a change happening in my body.

Exercise

I try to work out five days out of the week, all of which are weekdays, while weekends are used for rest. Rest days are important when it comes to exercise and changing your health routine. This allows your body to adjust and recover from the exertion.

I mix up my workout routine every day so that I don’t overexert a certain muscle group. This allows for muscle gain all over rather than in one specific place. Also, when losing weight, you want to work your whole body to burn fat faster and all over. 

HIIT workouts, or high-intensity interval training workouts, are great for full body workout days or if your goal is weight loss. I only do these workouts twice a week so that my body doesn’t get burned out. The other days are focused on specific muscle groups using weights and cardio.

Here is my weekly workout schedule:

M: Full HIIT Body Workout

T: Weighted Arm Workout + Cardio 

W: Leg and Glute Workout + Abs or Cardio

Th: Full Body HIIT Workout 

F: Stretch Day or Low-Intensity Workout

I get all my workouts from Katie Yovin. She posts videos of all her workouts with how many reps and sets to do in the comments. She also has a YouTube channel and Instagram which are easy to follow along with.

Diet 

Eating right is probably the hardest part of getting healthy and looking fit. It’s a fact that to get abs, you have to eat right and burn more calories than you intake (calorie deficit) rather than just doing core exercises. 

For me, this has been one of my biggest struggles because I am a huge foodie. I have cut out a lot of the carbs I used to eat and have chosen more greens to fill my plate with. This hasn’t just improved my body, but my energy has skyrocketed. I feel so much better and my skin is clearer, which is a big plus. 

I know eating clean is hard, but it has to be a conscious decision. I started out by minimizing how much I am eating and then I started incorporating high protein and greens into the mix. 

Sleep

Sleep is so important when you start working out or changing your diet. Your body goes through so many changes because it starts to get sore and it feels like there should have more food in your system. However, this is just your brain and body reacting. 

Sleep allows your body to recover and cleanse itself. You get back the energy you exerted at the gym and your food has a chance to digest and impact your immune system. Sleep is your friend and getting the full recommended eight hours allows for maximum energy recovery. 

Stress

Since I have made these changes in my life, I have been less stressed and more focused. Working out improves stress because you exert frustration and energy. Eating right improves your body’s overall feeling and impacts your mood. 

Overall, changing small things to help your health and wellness will make a difference in the long run. I just wanted to make a list to encourage anyone looking to become healthier. Like Nike says, “JUST DO IT.” You will feel so much better once you do, and it’s a great lifestyle choice to make.

Featured image by Piper Blake.

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