The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The summer before going into my freshman year of college, I was probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in years. I lost the quarantine weight, I was exercising regularly, I felt great about my body, and I was eating freely. However, when I got to college, I found it pretty difficult keeping up with my workout routine, and I found myself falling into bad habits. Constantly snacking, always having fries with every meal at the dining hall, never working out, and binging late at night. By the end of my first year, I had gained 30 pounds. It was really frustrating seeing myself esteem drop and my relationship with my body change so drastically, especially when I had worked so hard that summer to feel healthy. I knew that when going into my sophomore year, I couldn’t put myself through that again for my physical and mental health. I started looking into ways to stay in shape on campus that fit in with my busy class and work schedule.
Everything on this list is something either myself or my friends absolutely swear by:
- Rec Center Classes
This is honestly TCNJ’s most hidden gem.
My best friend and I decided on a whim to sign up for a rec center workout class through the TCNJ Atleto app this semester. We wanted something fun and cute that would get us moving, but nothing that would take a real toll on us.
We picked a Sunday afternoon spin class.
If you’ve ever taken a spin class, you would know that yes, it is in fact fun and cute, but it will also leave you sweating buckets by the end of it.
Our class was located on the lower floor of the rec center in the dance studio; spin bikes were lined up waiting for us, and we could already hear Charli XCX playing through the speakers. We were the first ones to arrive and felt pretty nervous, but our instructor was genuinely so sweet, and made us feel extremely welcomed. Other girls piled into the room, and then the class began. Our instructor was also a TCNJ student, and she made us all feel so comfortable- no matter how red in the face we got, how often we needed to take breaks in the middle of class, or if we were dripping with so much sweat that it stung our contacts (this may or may not have occurred to me). It was a fun class. We were peddling for about 45 minutes straight when it was all done. I had never felt more energized after a workout in my life. It was truly such a good experience, and everyone in the class just felt excited to move, listen to great music, and be encouraged by a really awesome instructor.
The rec center offers a ton of different types of classes at most times of the day, such as yoga, muscle training, and full body workouts. If you’re going to follow one thing from this article, this is definitely the one I most recommend.
- Walking Around Campus
I’ve found daily walks around campus to not only be great for my physical health, but my mental health as well. My preferred time is around 10pm when campus is calm and dark, and I also run into the rest of the night-stroller crowd. I throw on some headphones and simply walk loops around campus, just going at my own pace and enjoying the crisp fall air. These walks allow me to be with my own thoughts and decompress after a stressful day where I just haven’t been moving around as much.
It’s also great to walk around campus with friends. My besties and I like to do a few laps, maybe even get an iced coffee, and just catch up. It allows us to spend time with each other while also being active.
Since taking these daily walks, I’ve also noticed that it’s made me appreciate how beautiful TCNJ’s campus is, especially during the changing seasons.
It’s truly such an easy way to keep yourself moving in a non-vigorous, but impactful way, and it can be done in literally any season at any time of the day, by yourself or with friends.
- Morning Yoga
This is only something I’ve just recently started doing, and I’ve noticed that it really makes such a difference in how my body feels for the rest of the day. As soon as I wake up, I stretch out my arms, legs, and back, which is then followed by a 5-10 minute guided morning yoga video on YouTube.
Even just simple stretching in the morning gets your blood flowing, and you will already feel more energized for the day. Not only that, but yoga is a very underrated exercise. Yoga is gentle on your body, especially in the morning; it enhances flexibility, your posture, balance, boosts your metabolism, and is a fantastic stress reliever.
I find this to be an absolute game changer for how I start my mornings, as someone who dreads waking up before 10am. It’s also super easy to do in a dorm if you have just a bit of walking space, and it’s something that’s not too disruptive that it could potentially wake up your roommate.
- Club Sports
This is the one thing on this list that I have not personally tried, but all of my friends that participate in Club Sports absolutely love it. TCNJ has a few “levels” of sports offered, and Club Sports are less of a commitment than competitive sport teams. Club sports are also a great way to be active with friends. They are all student run, and range from ice hockey all the way to fencing. I know people in soccer, basketball, and rugby, and I have only heard great things about it.
I also believe that this is a great option for people who used to do a sport during high school and want to continue it in college, but don’t have enough time to be on the competitive teams.
If you want to pitch your own Club Sport that isn’t offered currently, you’re able to do so, too!
- Campus Town Gym
Honestly, working out around other people makes me feel a bit uncomfortable; I much prefer exercising solo or in my room. However, for those who enjoy the community aspects of fitness or just want to step out of their comfort zone, the Campus Town gym is honestly the place to go. Any TCNJ student can go, you just need to swipe your ID at the front desk and you have full access to everything.
There is genuinely a lot of equipment there that caters to people like me who only use the treadmill, the spin bike, and maybe some freehand weights to those who deadlift and are more into advanced workouts.
Back at home, I honestly never go to the gym, but at Campus Town, I feel like there is just more of a community there due to the majority being TCNJ students. It feels more comfortable to be surrounded by people also trying to get in a workout during their busy student schedule. It feels like there’s less judgment compared to going to a more public gym.