We know staying fit during the week can be hard, especially for a busy collegiette like you. The best way to make sure you're on top of your fitness game is to start early! Here are 10 different things you can do so you can be energized and focused during the week.
1. Prep your meals for the rest of the week on Sunday
Go shopping! “For college students in particular, anything that’s grab-and-go and already prepped ahead of time is more likely to be eaten—that means that it’s worth it to spend the little bit extra on pre-cut veggies and fruit,” Registered dietician and nutritionist McKenzie Hall says. She recommends easy, pre-prepared snacks like dried fruit and Greek yogurt.
Food blogger Talia Pollock suggests "jar meals," which you can quickly throw together in a jar, stick in your fridge and eat later on in the week. To make her quinoa-chia chilled porridge, mix quinoa flakes, chia seeds, almond milk in a bowl or a jar, put it in your fridge for at least 20 minutes, and add fun toppings of your choice like fruit or granola when you're ready to eat it.
Kickboxing trainer Kristie Glenn, owner of Blue Labels Boutique, suggests preparing all the protein you need for the week on Sunday. Cook enough chicken breast for an entire week, for instance, and pack up some brown rice for one day, bread for a sandwich on another day, and fresh greens for salad the day after that, and you're good to go--not to mention you've saved yourself a lot of time in the upcoming week.
2. Plan out your workouts
Bust out your calendar (or your iPhone) and set aside some time during the week to hit the gym! “With a plan in place, it is much easier to make decisions based on health vs. what everyone else is doing, what's convenient, or emotional decisions,” fitness specialist and psychotherapist Kathryn Gates says. This way, you can keep yourself from having to run in between class and workouts--no one needs the extra stress of squeezing things in last minute.
3. Find motivation!
You probably find yourself scrolling through off of your suggested page on Instagram, and we’re willing to bet that a chunk of that is made up of fitspo pages. Try checking them out! Jacqueline Hinton, CEO and co-founder of Good Citizen, suggests heading to social media for some inspiration for your workout. At the same time, don’t get too into those Instagram profiles! ”Remember, social media shows the “best version” of everyone but we all face challenges in our life and with our fitness and nutrition from time-to-time,” author and fitness coach Jen DeCurtins says. Train hard, but keep in mind that you’re doing your best!
4. Catch some z’s
You’re not going to be prepared for the week if you don’t sleep! “Just because you can function on five hours of sleep doesn’t mean it’s good for you,” Whitney Harris, founder of Miss Fitness Inc., says. She adds that sleeping well is definitely related to better health. Getting more sleep always sounds great to us! Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night—especially on Sundays, so you're set up for staying awake throughout the whole week.
5. Park your car farther away when you go out
This one sounds silly, but repeated and combined with other simple workouts throughout the day, the longer walk from your car to wherever you’re going can definitely make a difference! “Just like lots of small calories add up over the day making you fat, small frequent bouts of physical activity add up to burn fat,” UK-based nutritionist Tom Irving says. Walk a little extra here and there while you're running errands on Sunday (and buying snacks and meals for the rest of the week like Hall and Gates suggest), couple that with some short workouts, and you'll be feeling great for the upcoming week!
6. Bring a friend on a workout-hangout!
Almost anything is better if you do it with your friends. “Next time a friend says let’s meet for coffee or a drink, offer to connect at a yoga class or at the park for a run,” fitness blogger Aliah Davis, The Get Fit Diva, suggests. Catching up over a run and a healthy snack sounds like an awesome way to kick it! You could try signing up for the usually-free (or at least inexpensive) on-campus classes offered by the recreation department, or do a gym date. Plus, having a friend around will help you keep your fitness goals in check and holding you accountable for staying healthy. "If I am reaching for a cookie, I need my bestie to grab it out my hand and crumble it into small pieces in the trashcan," fitness blogger and doctorate student at Johns Hopkins School of Health Kristian Henderson says. It'll make spending your cheat days together way more fun!
7. Try a virtual workout buddy
Celebrity trainer Josh Holland says that physical distance shouldn’t stop you from working out with a friend. Having a workout buddy keeps you accountable, and Skyping a friend to work out on video chat together is a great way to keep up with your friends who might not live so close to you.
Nutritionist and public speaker Jennifer Cassetta suggests 20-minute circuit training. You don't have to get outside to do it (and therefore you can keep your laptop safe) and it's short enough that you and your workout buddy will have trouble saying you don't have time to do it. For 20 minutes, here's how it goes: Do four different short exercises for a minute each. Every fifth minute, take a breather. After you've done this four times, you're done!
8. Clear your mind with yoga
When Sunday rolls around, you might still be thinking about what you did last week, what went down last night or any number of other hopefully-not-too-stressful things. A good way to be prepared to look at the week ahead with fresh eyes is to go out and do some yoga, and think about the week to come and how you can get ready for it. "Sunday nights can be stressful, especially if you've procrastinated over the weekend, so take a moment to work on your yoga practice and set your intention for the week ahead," Samantha Markovitz, Coach and Owner of GraceMark Wellness and Lifestyle Coaching, says. De-stress, put your fitness goals in place and know you can take whatever life is going to throw at you in the week ahead. Namaste, collegiettes!
9. Work out with your books!
We know there are professors who mark books on the syllabus as "required" and then never ask you to crack them open during the class. But rest assured, collegiettes, those textbooks aren't completely useless! Holland suggests using your books for more than just your education (or to get rid of the money that's totally burning a hole in your pocket). Before you do squats or lunges, fill your backpack up and put it on! And when you're done, you should probably hit the bookstore and try to get some cash back for those textbooks.
10. Do some food exploration in your city
During the week, it's pretty easy to get hungry and be tired of the dining hall. The easiest option is probably for you to hit the on-campus fast food restaurants, or head downtown for whatever's quickest so you can make it back to class on time. Dr. Erin Stair, who goes by Dr. Eeks, suggests using your free time on Sunday to drive around and scope out all the healthy restaurants and grocery stores where you live. This way, you'll know exactly where to go when you've got an hour or two in between classes, and you won't lose half of your time arguing with your friends about which fast food chain to jet to.
Go get yourself hyped up and prepared for the rest of the week! The smallest lifestyle changes can make a BIG difference when they add up.