1 March 2016

How to stay in shape when you're a full time student

Sorry for the lack of posts, Holly & I have been busy with uni recently, and the weather hasn't been very cooperative for picture taking either! I'm currently stuck in class at uni, Tuesdays are 11 hour days for us, and sitting down all day really isn't fun! So I thought I'd share this short post, with a few tips to stay active when you're busy at uni or at work!

Although I started going to keep-fit classes at the age of 14-15, my healthy lifestyle only took shape when I was 18. Having a fitness instructor for a Mum helped me out alot. Not only does she show me which exercises to do when targeting a specific area, but she taught to me how to take care of my health (I also have access to different material which helps a LOT) . 
When I began university, my usual work-out schedule was really effected: tricky schedules and odd gaps of time between classes meant that I had to plan my work-outs beforehand. I couldn't just do a 45 minute workout after a 10 hour day at uni, because I hadn't  eaten enough food to sustain me. So I had to schedule different times for my 'big' full body workouts, and when I was short of time, I did the following:

  • A 15-20 minute HIIT workout:

When I don't have time to do a 45-50 min workout and if I'm able to eat a proper meal (and not just a banana when I have long days at uni) 2 or 3 hours beforehand, I do a High Intensity Interval Training workout instead. Known as 'HIIT', it's a short, intense workout which consists of short periods of intense exercise followed by a short recovery period between each one. It's a form of cardiovascular exercise, so it boosts metabolism and burns fat. I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you already workout on a regular basis, because it's pretty intense so your body WILL struggle if you're not used to working out. (I'm not a doctor or health specialist, so remember to read up on it first!)
Searching Beginner's HIIT workouts on Youtube is your best bet, there are a number to choose from in terms of duration and intensity. I usually do a HIIT if I've spent the week-end in food-comas too!

  • Simple changes in your daily routine:

Here are a few simple tips you can take to stay in shape. The key is just to stay active!

  1. If you have to catch a bus to uni,  try exiting the bus at an earlier bus stop, continuing your journey on foot. This will only add 5 or 10 minutes to your usual travel time, and cycling is also a great alternative to public transport. 
  2. All of my classes just happen to take place on the third or fourth floor, which means taking 6 or 8 flights of stairs several times a day, every day. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator will help your leg muscles stay active, especially if you're spending hours on end in a chair.
  3. Take a longer route. If the sun is shining and you're in no rush to get home, take a longer route, or one that is slightly uphill so you can work those legs muscles.
  4. Drink LOADS of water. This is pretty obvious, but having your own small bottle of water and refilling it up several times a day makes a big difference. 
  5. Stretching. If I have ten or eleven hours of classes in a day, my back and legs tend to get stiff and then ache due to sitting down all day. A good way to deal with this is stretching before you go to bed, whether it be a few yoga stretches or simple post-workout ones. 
  6. Food shopping. If you don't mind looking a little odd, lifting your shopping bags like weights is a great way to put your arms to work. (I've done this and it does actually work aha)
Food is the most important component when living a healthy lifestyle. Vegetables, fruits, non-processed food is the key. Living on a student budget makes this very difficult, I'm currently living off vegetable wraps, whole grain spaghetti, jacket potatoes and toast. As you can imagine, it's not ideal, (whenever I go home for the week-end I literally spend half of my time eating) but you can still manage. I recommend buying frozen fruits and making fruit smoothies for breakfast as frozen fruit is a lot cheaper. I also make granola bars for breakfast too. Smoothies and granola bars are great as they give you an extra boost of energy on long days.

Quite a simple post, but thought I could share anyway! Only 6-8 weeks of university left, trying to achieve the best results I can so I can finish my degree with great grades! Hope you're all having a great week. I'm still smiling about Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar win! x

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