If you’re studying at university right now, you’re well aware of how difficult it can be to make time for exercise. Not only is your schedule packed but you’re probably living off 2-minute noodles and frozen meals (no shade, just being realistic here). Although the assignment deadlines and compulsory tutorials are important, there’s nothing more important than your health.
Taking care of your mind and body is the best thing you can do to improve your university experience as a whole. If these are out of balance, you’ll notice almost everything else feels out of balance too. So, how can you realistically prioritise your health and fitness without sacrificing your grades? Let's find out.
Exercise is MORE Important Than Your Assignment!
Yep, you heard it here first. A big reason as to why uni students aren’t working out and staying active is simply because it isn’t a top priority. You have many other things on your to-do list and going to the gym is probably at the very bottom, but why?
How come you’ve decided that taking care of your health is less important than your assignment?
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an excuse to slack off on your uni work, but at the end of the day, you need to look after yourself. Plus, getting in a workout can actually help you be more productive.
Doing some exercise can be a great way to break up big periods of study and have you coming back feeling energised and refreshed. So, don’t think of exercise as just another thing you need to do. If you’re avoiding exercise in attempts to be more productive, this could actually be counterintuitive. Getting in some exercise is genuinely for your benefit and should be a time where you can forget about work and focus purely on moving your body.
Get Your Sh*t Together
I hate to break it to you, but organising things is actually kind of important. If your schedule feels overwhelming as it is, you’ll probably use your spare time to chill, rather than move your body.
When you have a pile of tasks you need to do, it’s much harder to do the things you want to do. Clean up your schedule and do the things that need to be done.
It's hard to completely get on top of everything once you’ve let it pile up over time, just try your best. Start by looking at your timetable and figuring out when you have free time. Now, reflect on what you’ve previously been doing with this free time. Studying? Relaxing? Find the times where you could be exercising and mark it out in your calendar. But don’t worry, you don’t need to reserve 2 hours for your exercise routine. This brings us to the next point!
Quick Workouts Big Results
You don’t need to be spending 3 hours in the gym to get the results you want. Be efficient with your time and smash out a 30-minute HIIT workout after your class.
If you can’t be bothered going to the gym, that’s all good! Set up some space in your home and follow along with a YouTube video.
It's much easier finishing a workout when you have someone speaking to you and doing the workout with you. You’ll find a bunch of these on the internet.
Making an effort to live an active lifestyle is also super effective. This could mean walking to uni, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or participating in social sports after class. Exercise can be fun, effective and efficient.
Make it Desirable and Easy
The best way to ensure that your exercise routine sticks is to make it something you genuinely want to do and make it easy. If doing some exercise means that you can STOP studying, then woo! How good is that?
Make it easy for yourself by setting up your gym clothes next to your bed or leaving them in your car so you can go straight there after class.
You’re far more likely to go through with something when past you has already set you up for success. You can even put in some kind of reward system to make the act of exercising more enticing. This can be unique to you but make the reward something good. Soon enough, you’ll see and feel the physical benefits of the hard work you’re putting in.
Fuel Your Body with Good Stuff
We’re going to cut you some slack here because we know how difficult it can be cooking healthy homemade meals every night. So, let's compromise. Make sure every day you’re doing these 3 things:
- Drink lots of water
- Get in your protein
- Eat wholefoods
Get yourself a high-quality water bottle and bring it with you wherever you go. Not only will this keep you hydrated, but you can sip on your water bottle whenever you’re stuck in an awkward interaction and are unsure of what to say (shout out to all the introverts). Get your hands on a good quality protein powder, so you can easily reach your desired protein intake each day. This will help fuel your body and brain, as well as build muscle for when you DO go to the gym.
Lastly, make sure you’re eating some whole foods (AKA real food). It’s easy to grab the blueberry muffin from the café, but this isn’t going to fuel your body for the rest of the day. Chop up some carrots and grab yourself a zip lock bag and you’ve got yourself a post-class snack.
At the end of the day, exercise and staying fit is genuinely going to improve your mood and your physical health. You’re going to be at uni for at least 3 years, so you should try to make the best of it! Be realistic, prioritise your health and go get that degree.