Don’t let classes stop you from making progress this fall!
By Roger Lockridge
When you’re preparing to go back to school and start another year, there’s always one thought that goes through your mind. Summer was too short. If you’re reading this then you likely were training and getting in great shape so you could look your best while on vacation. But just because you have to go back to the routine of making it to your seat before the bell doesn’t mean you have to slack off your fitness aspirations. These strategies can help you keep making improvements and gain muscle while you work on improving your grades, whether you’re in college or one year closer to graduating high school.
Do Something Active First Thing in the Morning
It’s already going to be tough to wake up early and get back into the morning routine. So you might be questioning why you should exercise first thing in the morning. First of all, this can be as simple as going on a 15 minute walk or riding a bike at home. The end game here is simply to move. Moving will help you wake up, get your heart pumping and sending blood throughout the body, can help you burn some fat, and also help you send oxygen to the brain. So you’ll be better able to focus when you start your first class of the day.
Plan Everything on a Schedule
You’re pretty much locked in on your classes so that schedule is already set. Take some time to figure out what happens around those times. Do you have a spare few minutes to drink some water so you can stay hydrated? Would you be able to go straight to the gym after school? When can you knock out some extra homework so you can free up more of your evening?
Look at your schedule of classes and insert water, meals, or maybe a few power walks in between so you can stay more accountable to your fitness goals and gain muscle without slacking on hitting the books.
Have Healthy Snacks on Standby
If you’ve been eating every 3-4 hours throughout the summer, then going back to school is going to make that eating plan a little challenging. You can plan accordingly by having a few healthy snacks on standby when you have a few minutes in between class or if it’s a long walk from one room to the other. Swing by your locker and grab a bar or shake. Eat while you’re going. If the lunches at school aren’t the best options to help you meet your goals to gain muscle, have a cooler in your car or locker with something you can make from home. It can be smoothies, sandwiches, or anything convenient that will help you keep your nutrition on point.
Now this doesn’t mean you should go right to the heaviest weights and try to jump right into banging out reps. What I mean is you can use intensity boosters like supersets, rest-pause training, and circuits to help you do more work in less time. The 10-15 minutes you might be able to cut down here can be all the difference in getting healthier meals in or more time you can study, or perhaps even free time for you to live life. You can still have very productive workouts and gain muscle in less time if you train smarter as well as harder.
Don’t Give Up
It can be so easy to see the backpack, the planner, and the list of all the assignments due and think that training and fitness will have to wait. They don’t have tol! You could actually find that focusing on fitness as well as classes can help you on all fronts. There is no cookie cutter way to make it all work. That’s based on the individual – meaning you. You can walk to the local gym and train before catching the bus like I did or get off the bus at the gym after school. You can train on weekends or space the workouts out to 2-3 a week.
Regarding nutrition, you have to eat regardless so you might as well eat healthy and make those calories work for you, not against you. That nutritional support will help you immensely come test time when you can focus and retain knowledge a little better than you thought you could. Whatever it is you do, make sure what you don’t do is give up.