Exams are drawing near, evenings are getting lighter and we’re going to find more excuses on why we don’t have time to train….
…. BUT you can always find time to train!
Before we even discuss ways to find time to train at university, I feel it is important to remember that you can train without having a gym membership card or having to be restricted by gym opening hours. The variety of bodyweight exercises or fitness equipment you can buy and use is so vast that it means you can always find TIME to train at home or outdoors. Even if you are a late riser, the vast number of 24 hour gyms available now means that a gym is always open.
Spend less time indulging
We devote time to our social life, work, and other activities including things you may not even realize consume a big portion of your day (how many hours do you spend sitting at a computer on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter?). These are all things in which we can spend less time indulging. Everyone has 168 hours in a week and finding 4-5 hours out of that to commit to training should not be that difficult. People often overestimate the amount of time they will have to devote to training whilst at university. People who go to the gym 2 hours a day, 7 days a week often burn out after only one week. In order for you to find the time to train at university you ultimately have to make training a habit and build fitness into your lifestyle.
Early riser or Late gym goer
The University timetable for the majority of students is the only thing consistent within university life. Therefore you can plan the time you wish to spend in the gym around your timetable. Lectures start and finish between the hours of 0900-1800 with students often having large gaps between lectures each day. Worst-case scenario is you find the time to train outside of these hours. Start with just 3-4 hours a week scheduled into your routine. If you’re looking for an empty gym, pre 9am is the time to get training. The majority of university gyms won’t be busy at this time, as the vast number of university students choose to get up later in the day. This is my preferred time to train as I know no matter what day of the week it is I won’t have any commitments before 9 o clock.
Catch the gym bug
If you’re a regular gym goer you will know about the endorphin rush you get after training and therefore I find my energy levels throughout the day are higher if I train in the morning. There is nothing better than walking out of the gym on campus bright eyed and ready for the day whilst observing all the other students still half asleep. If that sounds like you then I would recommend purchasing a sunrise simulating alarm clock, which definitely helps wake you up more naturally in those dark winter mornings. Late night training from 6pm will guarantee you a busier gym. This is due to more students feeling like they have now woken up or are attempting a last ditch effort to put on some muscle before a night out. A WORD OF CAUTION; If you plan to take pre workout with an evening workout, it’s unlikely you’re going to get an early night.
Building fitness into your daily routine
By building fitness into your daily routine and keeping to a set time of day for your workout you’re more likely to start the habit building process and start training for consistently. By making the decision to invest a set amount of time each week to workouts, you set a standard to which yourself. This allows you to objectively measure whether you are on track to meet your goals. If I have set the goal of 4 sessions a week before the week has begun I have a clear vision of what must occur that week for it to be regarded as a success.
Cut your gym time in half with HIIT
If you are truly pressed for time, you can break your fitness sessions into shorter intervals that are performed at certain times during the day, such as during your lunch break. I have often gone into the gym knowing I only have 30 minutes, so Im focused and know that im going to do HIIT on the bike or I will do my own weight circuit with no rest periods. The key thing here is your level of intensity, not time you spend in the gym. A person training at a higher intensity can do a more effective workout in 20 minutes than someone who spends an hour at a lower intensity.
Prioritise and Plan
So in end we can see that the problem regarding finding time to train isn’t actually due to the lack of time in the day, it is down to us not building fitness into your lifestyle and poor planning. Coming to the gym and working out shouldn’t be a chore and something you dread if it is, I guarantee that you are approaching it all the wrong way. Barack Obama wears pretty much the same colour suit each day, by his own admission saying that he has enough decisions to make without having to add one more each day.
We can apply this logic to finding time to workout. If you leave deciding what time and whether you will go to the gym to a decision each day you make your life more difficult. Planning at the beginning of each week what goals you must achieve allows you to plan, prioritise and execute your daily routine more effectively without having to waste time and energy each day deciding if and when you should workout. Hours you spend in the gym will more than make up for themselves in productivity later during the day. Remember, life is short but if you invest your time in keeping fit, you might just live a lot longer. So the real question is why wouldn’t you?
By Adam Tarpey