Fitting in Fitness in College

A college student's schedule is typically pretty full. Classes. Meals. Homework. Extracurriculars. Maybe a little social life. Not to mention (hopefully) a lot of sleep! It's easy to see, then, how the "Freshman Fifteen" is a more familiar "f-word" than "fitness."

Being fit in college is not only possible, but also fun! Today, this college celiac is breaking down her top tips for getting in tip top shape during college!

In college!
1. Jump into your school's gym! This is such an obvious point, but I can't count how many of my friends - juniors at this point - have exclaimed, "We have a gym?!?"

College is one of the only times you can access a gym without (at least, directly) having to pay a membership, so take advantage of it! I'll admit, my school's gym - in terms of equipment - is tiny. Three stationary bikes and elliptical machines, two treadmills and stairs steppers, one rowing machine and one weight room. Done.

Tiny power?
Even if the space is small, options can be limitless! To get the most sweat for your setup, go at off hours (I never have trouble working out at 3 in the afternoon!), and be willing to experiment with new machines. College is all about learning - even about using the stair stepper!

2. Look for hidden hiking/walking spots. It's true, my college's location right on the ocean means that walking (especially along the cliffs!) can be more beautiful than ever. Yet, walks on hidden trails on campus or town make me even happier - because there's no crowds and no expectations of what I'll find! 

Some of my favorite spots...
For instance, near my boyfriend's dorm there were wooden stairs that lead to the campus/off campus houses divide. Even though the grassy field is right above campus, very few students ever visit. More for me, right? 

If you are craving even more adventure, explore the neighborhoods surrounding your college. Sidewalk "hikes" may not sound exciting, but exploring the local scenery (especially when houses are rockin' swag decorations during holidays) will get you smiling - and sweating (those hills!)

Light at the end of the...street?
3. Speaking of walking...walk everywhere...and with everyone. Although some campuses (cough cough, many Universities of California) are so big, arriving on time to classes requires a bike or car, most colleges are walking friendly

The challenge? At times, driving to the Caf or a friend's dorm across campus sounds much more appealing than scurrying in the cold. My solution? Turn up the music or turn inwards for meditation! 

An accurate description of my walking-dancing!
That ten or fifteen minute commute can turn into a solo dance party with the right music (fun fact: your Bible teacher will look at you strangely if he sees you rockin' out as you walk across campus). For safety, though, keep the volume low or one ear bud out. 

Sometimes, silence is an even better companion. Walking across campus can feel rather magical when you're alone with your thoughts. Even between classes, try taking a "me" break and touching base with yourself. How are you feeling today? What do you need to do for yourself today? For others? 

Alone or with friends!
And when you have the chance, walk with your friends. In a twist on traditional gender roles, I've taken to walking my boyfriend to his dorm after class before I head to the gym. It gives us time to catch up, talk about our plans for the day, and/or tell a lot of corny jokes. Win win? (Except, perhaps, for the poor strangers who overhear our random conversations). 

4. Finally, realize and accept the days when a Netflix marathon at home "fits" your priorities best. Today, especially in college, "busier" often equals "better." You aren't studying, sleeping or in class? Then you should be out having the time of your life with friends! (Obviously). 

This "fits" into my schedule many nights!
As I'm continually learning, though, "fitness," "success" and 99% of other societal ideals don't require 24/7 participation. Instead, fitness is listening to your body. Feeding it, moving it, and resting it in the proportion that your individual body needs. 

Perhaps most importantly, remember "why" you want to be fit. Is it to look a certain way? To feel the best you can? To counteract the stresses of college classes? Though I won't judge anyone's motivation, in my experience, loving yourself - by getting stronger, reducing stress, being at a healthy weight, etc - always beats hating yourself - particularly, the way you look - as fuel for fitness. 

The most important reminder...
College isn't meant to be easy. It's meant to challenge students to grow, learn and adapt. Similarly, finding time for fitness in college takes hard work. Consider these tips a study guide. 

After all, I'm going to college to strengthen my mind. Shouldn't my body deserve the same treatment? 

*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link party!*

Do you have any tips for staying fit in college? How do you balance academic and self work? Comment below! 


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