How to Stay Fit in University

The truth is, you can’t do it all. There are only so many hours in the day, and rest time cannot be overlooked. When I started university, I had a plan: I would wake up early every morning and go for a run. It seemed like the perfect routine, and with beautiful sunny September mornings, it seemed I’d unriddled the riddle of maintaining my fitness. Not so fast …

As it does, winter weather came bounding along. Soon, the rain started to pour, and it was too dark to run outside before class. My fitness plan had crumbled.

It took a lot of trial and error, but eventually, I found several fitness plans that could endure the semester firestorm (and fewer hours of sunlight). Here are six fitness regimens that I followed during my university career, each regimen enduring one whole semester.


1. Working out at CARSA/McKinnon Gym by following a pre-written circuit workout

I was lucky enough to do four workouts with a personal trainer from CARSA, who set up four circuits for me. Each of them focused on a different part of my body and used gym equipment, which the trainer taught me how to use. Because of this time with a trainer, I could go into the gym knowing exactly what I needed to do and where I needed to be. Long gone were the days where I’d walk around aimlessly, staring at machines and asking myself, “How the heck does that work?”

If you can’t afford a personal trainer, don’t fret! There are tons of great websites online like POPSUGAR Fitness or Love Sweat Fitness where you can download and print off workouts. Either bring a paper copy, write it down or have it loaded on your phone to follow along!



2. Long distance and track workouts in my own time

When I can’t commit to a set workout time, I do it according to my own schedule. On an average day, I’ll do a timed 7- or 8-km run for speed. On weekends, when I have more time, I’ll do a long run of about 10–12 km. The important thing when you’re setting your own running workouts is to keep pushing yourself. It’s easy to slack off on a run and revert to walking, but you are capable of meeting your fitness goals! Never forget that.


3. Jazzercise

The biggest reason, I believe, that people discard their fitness routines is because they don’t enjoy them. Jazzercise is great, because the music and the community of people always get you pumped to move. It’s a great workout, but it flies by because of how much fun you’re having. This is a must-do if you’re struggling to get into exercise. Join with friends or solo, whatever you prefer. You’ll have a blast.


4. Triathlon running practices

If you want to whip your body into shape, this is the exercise for you. At only $40 for the entire semester, you can join (only) the running practices with the Triathlon Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the team meets at 6:30 p.m. at the track. We start with a warm-up run around the Alumni Chip Trail, followed by a led track sequence. The track sequence could be anything from 5 x 800 meter runs for consistency, or it could be 3 minutes at a leisurely pace, 2 minutes at a medium pace and 1 minute at your fastest pace in a loop to boost your speed! Don’t be intimidated, though. The team and coach are very welcoming to all levels.


5. Yoga

Lots of yoga studios in town offer student discounts! Awesome, right?! If you’re not a high-intensity sort of fitness person, yoga is a great alternative. My personal favourite studio, if you’re into flow practice, is the Fernwood Yoga Den. If you prefer hot yoga, however, or something closer to campus, try Found City Yoga.


6. YouTube videos in my bedroom

And lastly, if you just can’t commit to out-of-house exercise, then you can always pull up a YouTube video and follow along. Remember, 20 minutes of exercise is better than no minutes, even if it’s just in your bedroom. And, you’ll be amazed at how you can challenge your body without the need for fancy gym equipment.


That’s all from me, folks! Now, go forth and conquer your fitness goals with whatever plan works best for you. How do you stay fit in university? Share your fitness regimen in the comments below!