With the all-nighters, late nights’ studying and partying all our money away, it may seem impossible to stay fit and healthy in college. This post will tackle the seemingly impossible and find out how to stay fit even with limited time and money.
Students often struggle to juggle both college and personal health and fitness. It can be frustrating and they may feel like there is no way to balance both and still be successful. To help educate himself and other students, this reporter spoke to personal trainer and Overall Irish Natural Bodybuilding Champion 2016 Jay Robinson and asked him all about fitness for students.
He started off by reassuring students: “It is 100 per cent possible to improve your fitness and live a healthy lifestyle while being in college.” It takes a little bit of time to get used to the lifestyle but once you get the hang of it, it is worth it.
There is a lot of free information on the Internet and Mr Robinson recommended listening to the right people and doing your homework, whether it is learning about nutrition or finding your motivation. It is recommended that to save money you should utilize your college facilities but not every college has adequate facilities.
The price of a gym membership for students is quite outrageous so if your colleges’ facilities do not suffice, it is not the end of the world as there are ways to save money such as preparing your meals in bulk. This is done by choosing a handful of food sources for each macro-nutrient (protein, carbs and fats).
Jay Robinson advises cooking and freezing chicken fillets at the beginning of the week; this saves students valuable time and money. Convenient meals he recommends to prepare in bulk would be Greek yoghurt, berries with nuts and dark chocolate or chicken, salad, cherry tomatoes and nuts. These are only a few examples – there are many combinations of quick and easy meals you can make.
One of the biggest downfalls for students trying to keep up their fitness is alcohol. It is no secret that students enjoy a drink but can you drink fairly regularly and still reach your fitness goals? Yes, surprisingly. Having a drink every now and then is absolutely ok.
Mr Robinson shared his “80/20 rule”. This is where 80 per cent of your food should be coming from food that has higher nutritional value and the other 20 per cent can be junk foods, including alcohol. If you enjoy your few drinks, it is possible to fit it into your day’s nutrition and keep your progress going. “Plan ahead and don’t think that flexible dieting means forgoing your social life.” But, of course, always drink responsibly.
One of the most important and often forgotten aspects of both physical and mental health is sleep. Whether you are staying out till all hours or up all night doing assignments, a few late nights are inevitable. “If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have the needed time to complete all stages of sleep needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.” As a result of losing sleep, we wake up less prepared to concentrate, make decisions or engage fully at work or in college.
An aspect of student fitness and fitness in general that people do not really realize is that regular exercise or training actually has lots of mental-health benefits. When exercising, you will have an instant release of “feel-good” hormones called endorphins. After every session, you will see progress and have a feeling of accomplishment.
Research shows that optimists and happy people tend to be healthier, enjoying lower blood pressure and less depression and anxiety. Working towards your goals keeps your motivation high. Recent research from the Centre for Brain Health at the University of Dallas shows that aerobic activity can in fact improve memory. Aerobic activity is a valuable tool that can give your brain a boost in many different ways.
When asked if there were any gyms in particular that he would advise students to go to, particularly if they were a bit low on funds and if their college did not supply such facilities, the gym that Jay Robinson claims is the best choice for students is Flyefit as they are reasonably priced, well equipped and very conveniently placed. Wherever there is a large college in Dublin, there is always a Flyefit nearby.
Students today are under a lot of pressure and stress in college, which is why it is all the more important for them to hit the gym or do their preferred form of exercise as it will greatly help relieve stress. At the end of the day, health is wealth and like anything worth having, you have to work for it and the sooner you start the better.
You will look better, you will feel better and you will thank yourself.