It’s that time of year when we all head back to Uni (in Australia) and get a step closer to getting a degree. But for a lot of people, heading back to the books means heading back to eating takeout and halting working out because our lives become ‘too busy’. Well, fear not because I have put together five of my personal tried and true tips and tricks to help you stay on track and ace your finals and fitness goals this year.
#1- Start Your Day With Exercise
Now trying to juggle work, university and a social life is hard enough, which is why having to add in regular exercise is too hard for some, me included. Going to bed late and having to wake up early while being constantly tired is something all students deal with, and eliminating factors that make our days longer is ideal. But, exercise is an extremely important part of keeping yourself healthy and also assists in stress control.
My biggest tip for keeping up with your exercise routine in University is to do it first thing in the morning, even if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes before you have to run out the door; you’ll feel the difference in your day.
I used to be an afternoon exerciser, but after my workouts, I never felt overly accomplished and found I struggled to push myself to my limits. So I wanted to mix it up and began working out in the morning after breakfast. Well, this didn’t work either, I was full of food and was trying to jump around (rookie mistake). Instead, I set my alarm that little bit earlier and worked out before I did anything else in the morning, between 30-50 minutes depending on how I felt and how busy I was in the day.
This time change in my workout has honestly changed my life completely (sounds dramatic, but keep reading). I have found my digestion is better throughout the day, I feel more awake, I have more energy, and I feel so accomplished in the morning. It is also a great feeling to finish Uni or Work at 5 pm and know I can just come home a relax.
Now, I understand working out in the morning doesn’t suit everyone, even fitness extraordinaire Kayla Itsines has shared her dislike for working out in the morning. You have to do what suits you but I would highly recommend giving this a go! I only have to wake up 30 minutes earlier in the mornings, and that’s a small price to pay to feel good all day.
Favourite Workout Channels:
I combine multiple videos from the above channels to tailor workouts to what I want to focus on each day.
#2- Fuel Your Body Right
Being on the go all the time, it is easy to slip into the constant ‘eating out’ routine. Coming home on the bus and opening Uber Eats to see what’s nearby or skipping breakfast and grabbing a chocolate bar for a quick pick me up en route to a lecture is not a good way to go about your health.
The easiest way to avoid these diet downfalls is to meal prep or snack prep. When I go to Uni, I am a snacker much more than a meal eater. For me, breakfast is the biggest meal I have for the day, and it’s usually either a smoothie bowl or GF oats with Banana and Protein and everything else throughout my day I keep light and sustainable.
I am not much of a meal prepper, but I do prep snacks. I always have cut up capsicum, carrot, cucumber and cooked sweet potato in my fridge with homemade hummus. And I also always homemake GF, DF, RSF protein balls and bars as well as Fruit and Nut mix, so I can keep myself fuelled in-between classes.
However, if I don’t have time to make the sweet treats, I have a few go-to brands I chuck in my bag including:
Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars
I also always carry a large water bottle with me around campus with apple cider vinegar, this helps me stay hydrated and helps combat any sweet cravings I might get when I am bored in class (haha).
#3 Find Local Gems
Now, this slightly goes against what I said above about avoiding to eat out, but sometimes it is unavoidable. So my biggest tip for this would be to do your research and find places close to your Uni that provides healthy and yummy snacks and meals. Also, if all your friends want to go to a burger place, just read the menu well and try to opt for the healthiest option. For example, all my friends love Grill’d, so whenever we go I order:
*Veggie Vitality or Zen Hen
*on the Low Carb Super Bun
*and with Sweet Potato Fries (I only order fries if I share or I am particularly hungry)
Now, this is still a treat meal, but it is the healthier option and allows me to stick to my healthy lifestyle, while still being involved in the fun with friends.
Being in my second year now, I have also scoped out places around campus that sell my favourite Coconut Water, Kombucha and Paleo Bars.
#4 Write Down Your Goals
What do you want to achieve with this lifestyle? A more positive life outlook? Increased motivation? Stress relief? Weight loss? Toning up? Whatever it is, write it down! This not only holds you accountable for every positive decision you make towards a better you, but it also helps you visualise your end goal which increases your day to day motivation.
For me, every night before I go to bed I write down my workout plan for the next morning. This both keeps me accountable for my workout, but also allows me to go to bed and wake up motivated, as once it’s on paper, it has to be done. Since commencing this routine in mid-January, I have only missed ONE day, and that was because I woke up with a stiff neck and my doctor recommended I give it a break.
#5 Vitamin It Up
One thing that I think has truly allowed me to properly focus on my health is taking vitamins that help my body seize the day. I am currently taking a Calcium, Mega B, Vitamin C and Horseradish and Evening Primrose to support my health. I have never really been into these approaches, but with feeling the way I do right now, I have no idea why I wasn’t. Now, of course, I am not a healthcare professional, so you should always consult them before adding these supplements to your diet, but I would highly recommend going to them and figuring out what you need. I am calcium deficient, so a Calcium supplement is a must for more. Additionally, I suffer from anxiety and elevated stress levels, so my Mega B supports that and the Evening Primrose helps with my skin and in reducing my serious symptoms of PMS. Finally, the Vitamin C and horseradish is a general wellbeing one that helps with my immune system. When taking vitamins, it’s important to understand what you are taking and why you are taking it.
Despite everything above, you have to do what works for you. It is so important to take care of your health and wellbeing throughout your whole life, but when you have to juggle 100 different things throughout the day, your body needs some help. I hope you at least try one of these tips above and good luck with your studies.