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Fram Fram to Fitness: Take a study break and hit the gym!

Hello HC St. Olaf Fitness Readers!

There is no better place to begin the Christmas season than at St. Olaf. With the abundance of Norwegian sweaters, the beautifully decorated trees and buildings, and the continuous playing of Judy Garland’s “Holiday” on Pandora – well for me at least – the Christmas spirit on campus is just so contagious! At the same time, finals are looming around the corner. Thus, the level of stress starts to increase; giving us all the more reason to take a study break and head to the gym.

This week I promised myself I would run for 20 minutes during my workouts and eat no desserts (even though that lefse was particularly tempting). I did it! And surprisingly, it didn’t seem as difficult as I thought. Maybe because my first “step” was not as drastic of a change as I thought. As I said in my first blog post, I have been going to the gym this semester, although my workouts were getting increasingly easier. It was nice to set a goal for the week and do it!

Besides running, I also learned a new workout to incorporate into my routine, and you can add it to yours as well!

What you’ll need: a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells
— Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms by sides.
— Lunge back with right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees and lifting arms to shoulder level in front of you, palms down.

— Stand up on left leg, then hinge forward from hips, extending right leg behind you until leg and body are parallel to floor and arms extend downward. Return to standing, touching right toes to floor behind you, and repeat lunge.
— Do 10 to 20 reps. Switch legs; repeat.

For this next week I plan to increase my running routine to 25 minutes and eliminate snacking between meals. Although I am currently completely cutting out certain “bad eating habits” I have taken to this semester, this is not for everyone. For me, it is easiest to eliminate certain foods temporarily and gradually work my way back into treating myself. Maybe instead of disregarding desserts for a week, limit it to Fridays, having a brownie with your lunch (this is what I plan on doing now). It’s not bad to treat yourself – but in moderation.

*Healthy Eating Tip: Peanut butter is a great source of protein, calcium and dietary fiber. However, just like everything else it is good to consume peanut butter in moderation. So, for all you peanut butter lovers out there, here is a helpful eating tip when you head to the Caf. The typical serving size for peanut butter is two tablespoons, or as one source I’ve read says, the equivalent of a ping pong ball. Try using the soup spoons in the Caf (they are about the size of a tablespoon) as a measuring device; it’s an easy way to realize how much peanut butter you are actually consuming. Afterall, peanut butter on a banana or an apple is always a yummy treat!
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