Why your schedule is killing your fitness
With New Year’s resolutions currently at their peak, everyone has the best intention to make some serious changes in 2015 (unless you’re already yoked, in which case start your summer shred already!). If you’re not in the latter category and you’re about to settle back into State College, read on.
We hear it time and time again at LionHeart in the fall, “This summer I ate healthy, slept plenty, and went beastmode at the gym on the reg.” But somehow all that changes when you get back to school. Whether you realize it or not, your life at Penn State isn’t helping your gainz.
Over the summer you’re able to find a routine. Each day you follow the same schedule: you wake up, go to work, go to the gym, and go home. Repeat that schedule M-F all summer and you’re at PSU come fall ready to rock. But something happens. Your routine falls apart, your schedule isn’t the same MWF as it is TR, your workload changes on a week by week basis (midterms v. gettin sylly), throw on top of that a social life (25% of students are Greek) or participation in a club/org (350 orgs in THON alone, involving 15,000 students!) and it’s easy to pump the brakes on that resolution.
The best way to stick with your resolution is to be prepared, so let’s look at some solutions. First and foremost, start small. Don’t dive in head first week one and set yourself up to burn out. By making small changes over time, you’ll be able to slowly adjust to your new routine and will be less likely to fall apart after just a few short weeks.
You don’t need to overhaul both your fitness and nutrition goals at once. Start by making a plan for when you’ll get things done. Your plan shouldn’t just include time to work out, but you should incorporate at least two days a week where you can prep your meals for the approaching week. By having some food already prepared you’ll be less likely to wait 20 minutes in line for that burrito bowl.
When it comes to your 2015 fitness plan, make sure that you go the gym every Monday to set the tone for the upcoming week. If the gym is on your schedule for the day, go early to clear up your afternoon and beat the nighttime rush. If you need to go back to your apartment before getting to the gym, don’t sit down! Walk in, do your thing, and get out of there.
Work and school happen. If you really procrastinated on that project and don’t have the time to make it to the gym make sure that you don’t miss two days in a row. Researchers have found that one of the primary reasons we continue to exercise is because we enjoy the post exercise high and want to feel that sensation on a reoccurring basis. If you think your bender may spill over into a second day or you’ve got big weekend plans, carve out 15 minutes for a quick bodyweight circuit to get your feel good endorphins for the day and keep your routine on schedule.
A consistent routine will develop with time. After a few short weeks it will become your everyday norm. It’s just a matter of convincing yourself that you can do it and giving yourself the time to get there. The more you do it the more confidence you develop to stick with it. Prepare all your meals, do all your cardio, and make sure to hit every training session hard.