Being a university or college student is an odd state to be in. You have more freedom than you did previously, but apparently, you have less time and energy to enjoy it. The process generally involves one adjusting to both the freedom of independence, as well as the burdens of responsibility. So how then amongst all this, does one find time and energy to train?
1. Get Enough Rest
Rest is highly overlooked in student lives’. It is either seen as too much of an absence of socialising or wasted time that could be used for work and revision. The benefits of sleep easily justify such losses, however. Being well-rested means you work more productively, which means you can work smarter and not longer. This means more time in the day, which means more time to workout. Combine this with the obvious benefit of increased energy levels, your little bit of extra rest yields some great returns!
2. Do Not Over Rest
Over rest means sleeping too long, and lounging around too much. Every person is different if your body only needs 6 hours of sleep a night, and you sleep 8 hours, you will find yourself lethargic and sleepy. Or, you may need a minimum of 8 hours, and over sleep is 10 hours. How much sleep you need is not determined by the time you wake up, but rather an assessment of what is best for you based on trial and error. So the best way to do it is to try a night of 6 hours, and the following night 7 hours, and so on, and at the end of this, assess which works best for you.
3. Split Your Workouts
You do not need to complete your workout in one sitting, sometimes it helps to do half your workout in the morning, and the remaining half in the evening. For example, you might do your heavy lifts in the morning, and some hypertrophy training in the evening. This allows you to dedicate more energy into your workouts, you will lift heavier, and if you plan it right save time. Even if you find you are expending the same amount of time in your day to working out, the benefits of the extra energy and focus can justify such an act.
4. Use Workouts As A Motivator
Workouts can be a motivator, but not just in a rewards style way. A reward is a benefit you accrue as a result of good performance. Your workout as a motivator is different in that it can come prior to your performance with the books. This means that you workout early in the morning so that when you sit down to work, you have nothing else to focus on. Your workout is out the way for the day, and you know that as a result, you need to work hard, keep focused, and get through it all. It’s the fact that because you know that you have had your workout, you have to work hard on the books now.
Just because you are training, does not mean you cannot also be working. Recording yourself reading out your notes, or downloading lecture audio can make an appropriate workout playlist. Even if you do not listen that hard while you workout, hearing the notes and principles will at least establish some memory base. This then allows you to both workout, and get some studying done at the same time, which helps get rid of that guilty feeling.
6. Use It As Your Balance
When you are working hard, in terms of studies, life can become quite sedentary. Exercise is a great way to not only ease off the stress that comes with studying but actually refresh your body so that you can study some more. After doing a good number of hours of work, a workout in the gym can do wonders to reawaken your body, and refocus your mind. Exercise is an excellent way to find balance in your lifestyle and keep your mind focused on what matters.
When studies get tough, it’s sometimes difficult to find the motivation to still make it to the gym. That is okay. There is nothing wrong with that. What does help, however, is to plan, or at least estimate, when those days are going to be. When I have a big assignment due on a Monday, I know that the preceding Sunday, and sometimes even that Monday too, I am going to find it very difficult to get to the gym. In those cases, rather than forcing myself, and having a mediocre workout, I plan them as rest days. That means I work extra hard in the gym on Saturday, and by Tuesday I am feeling good as new again. Allowing yourself room to breathe in the stressful process of studying can go a long way in both keeping up your mental well-being, and your exercise progress.
Similarly, it helps to have a rest day floating in your week. By that I mean, if you have two rest days in a week, keep one of them set as the final day of the week, so you start the next week fresh but allow the other to be on standby. This means that you do not assign on which day your second rest day is. Rather than second rest day sits on standby for when you get an unexpected load of work or stress, and you can assign that day purely for studies, without getting stressed that your workout week is going to be affected. If you have an easy week, it means that you get two rest days at the end of the week, which is certainly no train smash.