Working Out On A College Schedule (And Budget)

Working Out On A College Schedule (And Budget)
Work it out (and have time to clean up those stinky clothes after a work out). Photo credit: Flickr/ヘザー heza.

I am a student, and that occupation can often seem more frustrating than rewarding.

To begin, students are generally busy- between schoolwork, actual work and extracurricular activities, cramming a social life, downtime and working out into a 24/7 week gets to be a little stressful.

In addition, there are a lot of expenses that come with being a student.  Whether it is books, food, rent or the actual cost of attending an institution of higher education, being a student means you are paying for learning.  And learning is not cheap.

Between the stress of a busy life and lack of excess funds, often the first activity to be cut is a  regular workout routine.  It seems like too much effort with too little payback, not to mention expensive when you add up gym memberships, class fees and equipment costs.  Students often find themselves thinking, “Why?” with a beer in their hand and Doritos on their lap.  And when I say students, I mean me.

But as I have attempted to keep  a workout as a regular fixture in my life I have realized a few things:

  1. Often the best workouts are the cheapest.  Running=free.  Walking=free.  Biking=free.  Fancy yogalatesumba classes are for those who have enough money and time to tailor their workout that specifically.  Besides, fresh air is healthy.  And also free.
  2. Working out doesn’t have to take forever.  For a long time, I was deterred from running because it took me a really long time to get out the door, go on a run and get back into normal life.  But in reality it wasn’t the working out that took a long time- it was just that I would be indecisive about what to wear, dig around my room because I lost my iPod and be too lazy to shower right away when I returned.  The key is to lay out everything you need for a workout like you would lay out clothes for a workday- even down to a towel to shower in afterward.
  3. Gyms aren’t the only places with workout resources.  The internet is a glorious thing.  Between blogs, websites and YouTube videos, the World Wide Web is practically your personal trainer.  Plus there is a never-ending supply of new workouts, fresh routines and varying time lengths which is honestly a necessity if you have a busy life like mine.

Using these realizations, I have been trying to utilize the time and resources I have to train better with the crazy life I have.  My first attempt was doing a 20-minute yoga lesson.  Who was my instructor?  YouTube.

It was perfect.  I expanded the video to full screen and yoga-ed away, no driving or credit cards required.  Though it obviously lacked the personal attention of an in-person yoga instructor and comradery of a class full of people, it was convenient and got the job done.  Plus I didn’t feel like a fool because I wasn’t wearing Lulu Lemon and could only reach my kneecaps when we stretched at the beginning.

Another resource I am excited to tap into is the fitness blogging world.  This is sort of a tricky situation because in one sense, speaking as an avid blogger, I love blogs and appreciate the passion that often goes into writing them.  However, I have begun to notice that the lack of regulation can sometimes make posts a little creepy.  Especially when girls post a really great workout routine and seemingly healthy mantra one minute, and a picture of Kate Moss’s abdomen the next minute.  Workouts don’t have to come with an aesthetic goal- they should just focus on making someone healthy and happy.  So keep that in mind if you delve into the fitness blogosphere.

But more on that another time.  I am excited to try out this four-minute workout routine I found on a Tumblr.  Apparently it burns as many calories as a forty minute run.  Talk about saving time.


Simple, quick, calorie-killer

Aside from these ideas, colleges often offer free yoga, Pilates, spin, zumba and often a plethora of other workout options, so be sure to take full advantage of tuition hikes (and a gym in walking distance of your apartment/dorm) by dropping into these classes from time to time.

Your turn: how do you work out on a college budget and schedule? Comment below, hit up our Facebook page or send us a tweet @Chicago_U and tell us how you work it out.

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