Several college students undoubtedly have a love/hate relationship with the tedious task we simply call “exercise.” Every day is an ongoing process of questioning if we really want to workout out or catch up on the next episode of Friends on Netflix, despite the millions of times we’ve watched it. We know what we should do, but we also know what we want to do. We’re tired from our assignments and don’t have the motivation to spend our precious free time sweating it out at the gym, yet when we’re finished, our mood is instantly enhanced and we’re proud of the awesome workout we just forced ourselves to suffer through. It’s complicated.
The students at FSU are very much into fitness and working out, most likely because bathing suit season is year round in Tallahassee. The gym at FSU, also known as the Leach Center, is enormous, consisting of three floors, a swimming pool, a basketball court, volleyball court, indoor track, and every workout machine imaginable. Really, it’s no excuse to not take advantage of this on-campus amenity. It also offers a variety of free workout classes, ranging from Spin, Cardio Endurance, Zumba, Circuit Training, Yoga, Boxing, and so much more. While I have only participated twice in workout classes here, it definitely was well worth my time and blasted calories like no other. These classes are for the students who need that extra boost when exercising. A workout class will certainly push you to your limits and make the time go fast as the instructors force you to keep going. They don’t particularly care that you’re on the verge of collapsing, which will only benefit you in the end. In addition to fitness classes, each FSU student is entitled to 4 free personal training sessions at the Leach to gain some fitness tips and customize their workouts depending on their fitness goals. The trainers are very helpful and keep everything on file for future reference when you’re on your own. If you feel that the Leach Center is overly crowded or simply too overwhelming, the Health and Wellness Center recently built a small indoor gym as well.
Walking to class in itself may certainly burn calories, especially up the hills carrying heavy books in the blazing sun, but it’s also important to incorporate a set time for exercising and focusing on getting your heart rate up. A great way to stay in cardiovascular shape is to simply go for a 30-minute run on campus. The weather is usually always ideal for running, so you will often find students jogging along the campus any time of day. I actually prefer to run on campus because it’s hilly and more challenging than simply running on a treadmill in the gym. It’s also a great way to get your share of Vitamin D and enjoy the beautiful scenery around the campus. Yes, running can certainly be boring, but there’s always a sight to see when exercising outside as opposed to running in place. Take advantage of the beautiful Florida weather.
Another effective outdoor exercise is referred to as “stadiums.” This is basically just running up, down, and across the bleachers at Doak Campbell Stadium. It sounds easy, but it’s actually an unbelievably hard workout considering the stadium is enormous and the sun feels extra hot from the attraction of the metal bleachers. Bring a lot of water and mentally prepare yourself before doing them. Don’t forget to snap some photos of the empty stadium during your rest periods.
On days you simply don’t feel dealing with the crowded gym, there are always home workouts. I recommend Insanity as being one of the best home workouts that’s both time-efficient and provides an amazing, full-body workout. Each of the exercises pushes you to your max limits and essentially focuses on strengthening your core and providing an overall leaner appearance after the first few weeks. It involves HITT- High intensity interval training, which shoots your heart rate up in a matter of seconds with short rest periods in between, providing an even higher afterburn post-workout. Several of the workout videos are less than an hour, which include warm-up and cool-down stretch periods. So when you feel like exercising in the comfort of your own home and you lack both the time and energy to drive to and from the gym, give it a try. It’s extremely hard, but exceptionally rewarding!
It’s important to note that exercising a few times a week does not necessarily mean you’re staying in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It actually only consists of 20 percent of your diet, so eating healthy is even more of a necessity when trying to stay fit. If you can’t find the time to workout, at least make sure to eat clean. I personally thrive off Publix grilled chicken and fish with a side of veggies and tons of water during the week so I can treat myself on weekends without feeling guilty. Eating healthy foods full of protein and nutrients will automatically make you feel better mentally and energetically. Most importantly, you will naturally look better physically. Snack on healthy food such as apples and protein bars. Make smart choices when going grocery shopping and keep yourself on the outside aisles as opposed to the ones containing processed foods. Prep your meals ahead of time if you have a crazy week ahead and so you don’t feel tempted to grab Chipotle for dinner when you’re too tired to cook. These will all contribute to a habitually healthier lifestyle with time. The thought of treating yourself on Saturday night to some sangria and Mexican food can be your motivation as you munch on healthy food Monday-Friday. (It’s certainly mine!) Yes, if I could eat Moe’s and Chick-fil-a every week I would, but unfortunately, college is the time to say goodbye to the Ramen noodles and start adopting healthy habits!