College workout plans don't usually go to plan. College is one of the most impactful moments of your life, but it's not usually the easiest time to stay in shape.
Let's be honest; college students have a lot going on. There are lectures to attend, books to read, and exams to prepare for. That's before you even throw in the socializing and lack of money for gym memberships.
But with a little motivation and a few workout tips, you can find the time for college bodybuilding or workout routines. In fact, it's as simple as working out in your dorm room with bodyweight exercises or a dedicated set of resistance bands for hips; you don't need an expensive gym membership or half a day spare to find time for a college workout plan!
In this post, we look at how you can build your workout plan to stay in shape throughout the entire college experience.
Benefits of a college workout plan
If you're a student, then right now you're probably wondering what the benefits of workout programs for college students are. Your time is valuable in college. There are social events to attend, debates to be a part of, and besides, don't you get enough exercise walking to your lectures every day?
Finding a few spare hours to exercise throughout the week can really help you to stay in shape. There are so many benefits for students to gain by scheduling a college workout plan into their weekly routine.
Here are the most important reasons to workout at college:
- Burn off the snack calories.
- Keep your metabolism working all through the week (that means you can eat more pizza.)
- Improve your long term health while you're young.
- Avoid injuries and chronic pains when you need to study.
- Avoid illnesses when you need to study and file coursework.
- Take a break from working and studying, escape the sedentary desk lifestyle.
- Feel positive and have more energy for studying.
- Reduce stress during busy exam periods.
- Better regulate your sleep patterns (perfect after a heavy weekend.)
- Join sports clubs or exercise classes to make new friends at college.
How much exercise do college students need?
College students are people too, and despite (generally) being young and gifted with a fast metabolism, students still need to work out as much as non-students do!
Professionals recommend that we fit in a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate cardio activity each week to stay fit and healthy. On top of this, we need one session of intense cardio and two strength-training sessions. Combine this with a few stretching and flexibility sessions as well.
For a busy college student, that seems like a lot of time spent exercising when they could be studying. As we'll show you, though, there are many ways to fit a college workout plan around your studies!
How to build a college workout plan
Build your college workout plan around your studies and socializing. Unless you're a die-hard fitness fanatic, it shouldn't have to take up all your time, let alone be a chore. Fitness comes in third on the list of priorities during this season of life, but it's crucial for your mental and physical wellbeing. You won't regret making time for yourself!
You can build a workout plan around the sports or exercises you love doing most or around the places where you spend most of your time, such as your dorm room or college campus.
A college workout plan doesn't have to be extreme or fancy either; it just needs to get you started. As you progress through and your fitness improves, ramp up the intensity or the frequency of your exercises. We recommend aiming for at least three workout sessions a week while you're at college to start seeing the benefits.
Here are our most essential tips for building a college workout plan!
1. Exercise in your dorm room
You don't need to head off campus or visit the gym to start working out at college; in fact, you don't even need to leave your dorm room. You can easily fit in exercise sessions around your work from the comfort of your bedroom!
There are plenty of great exercise routines you can practice in your dorm room, and you don't need expensive equipment! One of the best dorm room styles of exercise for students is resistance band training. All you need are a set of pull up assist bands or hip circle bands to get started.
Resistance band exercises offer you the chance to gain strength and work on your cardio simultaneously. You can use them with stretching or yoga or for bicep curls and banded push-ups. You can easily vary your dorm room exercises, and as your fitness improves, you can change the strength of the band you're using too.
Here's an example of a full-body resistance band workout you can practice in your dorm room. The goal is to complete three circuits in one session.
- Banded bicep curls x 15
- Banded chest flies x 15
- Banded squats x 15
- Side-lying hip abduction x 15 on each side
- Banded glute bridge x 15
- Banded splitter x 10
- Banded lat walk x 10
- Banded push-ups to failure
Remember, everyone starts at different fitness levels, so don't be discouraged if you can't complete this set number of reps for each movement. Just keep working!
2. Get up early and exercise
Okay, so morning exercises for students sound like an oxymoron! Students aren't usually known for their love of early mornings, but getting up early could be the secret to fitting in a workout at college.
We aren't even talking about getting up with the sunrise; all you need to do is modify your routine slightly to wake up even just one hour earlier than your lecture. Instead of staying in bed, get up, and use that extra morning hour to complete a workout plan!
There are plenty of great morning exercises to incorporate into a college student workout plan that you can enjoy. You could start the day with some simple morning stretches or a quick yoga routine. You could fit in a resistance band workout in your dorm room, or you could hit the pavement for a run before class starts.
3. Join exercise classes or sports societies
College is all about socializing, so why not stay fit while you socialize?
You'll find that there are college clubs, societies, and classes offering everything from yoga sessions to hiking meetups. You can join sports clubs for some serious training, or you can meet up with other students who are go jogging once a week.
College clubs or classes are often discounted (compared to real-world classes,) giving you the chance to exercise while you're on a student budget. There are so many opportunities while you're at college, so why not try and make the most of them?
4. Exercise between classes
If you're spending all day on campus or at the library (maybe even all night), then you can still find time for exercise. Consider joining an on-site gym and take advantage of the discounted membership for students. When you've got a spare hour between lectures, hit the treadmill or the weight room.
Working out between classes will help you stay awake and focused throughout each lecture!
Suppose your campus has a few grassy areas, bring along your yoga mat or resistance bands during the warmer months. Take an hour out of the library and exercise in the sun for a well-earned break from studying. Discover creative ways to spend your time while you're on campus!
5. Create a training goal
To set up a successful college workout plan, create a training goal to work towards. Do you want to build strength and join a sports team? Are you looking to participate in a fun-run in the holidays? Are you just looking to shed a few of those excess pizza calories that you've picked up?
It doesn't matter what your goal is, but having a target to aim for is the best motivation you can have when you're at college. If you're looking to improve your cardio fitness for a half marathon, then you know to include more cardio training days in your weekly schedule. On the other hand, if you want to build bigger muscles or tone your look before spring break, you need to focus on strength training!
6. Save time with HIIT
Students are notoriously short on time when they are at college, so it can help your workout plan if you schedule HIIT sessions each week.
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. HIIT sessions are short but brutal. The idea is that you hit your maximum capacity on every exercise, with short rests between circuits.
HIIT sessions can last as little as 20 minutes, but you burn calories and set your metabolism on fire for the rest of the day. If you're struggling to find time to exercise in college, then HIIT is the way forward!
7. Don't forget your diet
Students aren't best known for their great diets (like they aren't best known for getting up early, either!), but your diet is incredibly important when it comes to implementing a successful college workout plan.
Yes, it's all too easy to order a pizza when you're studying late at night, but why not force yourself to make a salad or at least order in some healthier food? We're not saying give up pizza and snacks altogether, but incorporating healthier choices into your lifestyle will make a huge difference!
Making small changes like this are more about overcoming your existing habits and mindsets. Once you get used to ordering late-night pizza, it becomes the typical thing to do. Order in the salad, though, and you'll break the habit and start to see the benefits of your new exercise regime much more quickly!
Start building your college workout plan!
Your college workout plan should include exercise elements that you enjoy most. To stay motivated, you should vary your routine, join classes or sports societies, and set targets and goals that you can reach before the end of the college term.
Staying fit is doable for students, even with lectures and parties to attend every week. In the long run, you'll appreciate the health and fitness benefits that you'll gain from keeping up an exercise routine at college, and it will even help your studies!
What are you waiting for? Why not save our college workout plan guide for next semester?