Getting to the gym can be a challenge. For a Greenbaum-dweller like me, even finding the motivation to make the trek to Reily seems daunting. Between classes, studying, and social obligations, we don’t usually have an abundance of free time during the day. But when we do find time to go to the gym, we may leave Reily feeling dissatisfied with our workout, and lament that we could have used our time more effectively. To avoid this feeling, set aside one hour of your day about three times a week for a high-intensity workout that will help you feel healthier, more relaxed, and ready to take on the rest of your day.
It’s super important to get your blood pumping and to start warming up your muscles before a workout. Through deep breathing and dynamic stretching (stretching that involves some cardio element), you’ll start to feel your pulse rise and muscles loosen. Try these exercises in the Functional Fitness Room located on the first floor of Reily to get ready for a great workout. Do each of the warm-up exercises for 20 seconds and repeat three times.
High-Intensity Exercises (5:00-10:00)
This is the part where you give it your all. Stay in the Functional Fitness Room or go upstairs to the mats in the weight room to start your workout. Pick a move, like mountain climbers, to do for 15 seconds, then rest for 30. Repeat this sequence for five minutes, then choose another exercise, like jump squats, to complete in intervals for the next five minutes. This will boost your heart rate and get you sweating quickly, without tiring you out for the rest of your workout. If mountain climbers and jump squats aren’t your favorite exercises, here’s a list of other high-intensity moves you can try.
Strength training is important for any workout because it increases your basal metabolic rate, meaning your body can burn more calories when at rest. While it’s tempting to get on the elliptical as soon as you get to the gym, you don’t want to waste your energy before lifting weights. If you head to the weight room before doing cardio, you have the energy to complete more reps and using heavier weights. Combine one lower-body exercise, such as deadlifts, with one upper-body exercise, like tricep dips, and one ab exercise, like jack knives. Do 12 reps of each exercise, rest for 45 seconds, then repeat this sequence two more times.
After high-intensity intervals, steady cardio can be extremely effective and less strenuous than sprints. Hop on the treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical for 15 minutes to finish off your workout, helping to get your heart rate back up, burn more calories, and loosen up your muscles. Push yourself as much as you can and see how far you can go in this period of time.
Stretching and cooling down are often the most neglected parts of any workout, but they’re extremely important! Remember to breathe deeply as you find a comfortable place to stretch. The Functional Fitness Room on the first floor or the mats next to the indoor track usually has plenty of room. Follow this video to guide your stretching, prevent sore muscles the next day, and leave the gym feeling strong.
And just like that, you’re done! Finding the time to exercise a few days a week will help to improve your sleep and fitness as well as encourage healthy eating. As college students, it’s super important for us to take care of our bodies, as stress, irregular eating habits, and lack of sleep can take a serious toll on our health. So, allot just one hour of your day to following this workout and know that you’ve spent your time at Reily both intensely and effectively!
COVER PHOTO: Lily Heller