Time flies when you're having fun, and at no time is that more evident than during summer break. However, all good things must end, and now you're back to the grind of classes, studying, lectures, and exams. School is back in session. During the summer, you had plenty of time to train, rest, eat, and take your supplements - and you actually made some really great gains. There's no reason you should have to forfeit the great shape you've attained just because it's time to start a new semester of school. Check out these tips for maintaining your muscle and leanness when you return to school this semester!
Schedule training sessions
During the summer, you likely have the benefit of just training whenever you wanted. Sleep in, then hit the gym. Cook and eat when you're hungry. Of course, this all changed when school started, as you were suddenly inserted into a very rigorous schedule. Classes' times are set - and your workouts should be as well! Plan your workouts on the way to or from class, when they are most convenient and when you're most likely to actually complete them. You schedule everything else, from classes to study time to sleep, so why wouldn't you schedule your workouts? All of the fun parts of college can fit it - after you train!
Every time a professor assigns a new project or assignment, the collective groan from all student in attendance cannot be denied. This work eats into your available time, and you may be tempted to skip the gym. However, if you are training with a buddy on a regular basis, you'll be much less likely to bail on scheduled workouts, since you'd be letting him down too. Find someone who shares a class with you, and you can use the time between sets even better, talking material you both need to study. The added benefit of training with a partner are many. You'll be motivated to push yourself longer and harder in workouts. You'll be able train safer, since you have someone keeping the bar from crushing you. Suddenly, the ability to push for that extra repetition or three will be at your disposal, every time, without fear of injury. Find a buddy!
As mentioned, things in school don't always go as planned. There will be times when the workload and demands of your study schedule exceed what you had planned, and suddenly you have to make a choice between training and studying. Experts recommend using a back up plan for times like this. Pick up exercise bands, a training ball, and some light dumbbells. Stash them in your dorm room, and use them for a quick impromptu workout whenever study demands exceed your schedule and you still want to something to ensure you stay in good shape. The workout won't be ideal, but it will provide you with adequate muscle stimulation to ensure you don't start losing your recent progress.
On campus, you're likely walking, biking, or driving from place to place. This is the perfect time to knock out your cardio training sessions! If you can drive 5 minutes, or walk 15 minutes, why not use your feet? You'll arrive a few minutes later, but you'll have completed your daily cardio requirements, which can save you a trip to the gym later. College has a lot of demands upon your schedule, but using your time wisely can ensure you make the most out of the hours of each day.
Save time by studying while training! We all know how tedious and boring cardio can be at times, when our mind is elsewhere. However, we also know that being alone on the treadmill or eliptical is some of the quietest, most uninterrupted times of the day. Use the time on the treadmill to read the chapters and chapters of text that would normally be keeping you up at night. You can put on your headphones to alert others around you to back off, then fall into a book. Before you know it, an hour will pass, and your cardio will be done for the day and you'll have absorbed those 3 chapters of American History that you've been dreading reading!
Buying protein bars, protein powder, and other muscle building "snacks" in bulk is a great bet for the student who plans on being cooped up for hours at a time reading. Vending machines are the enemy to muscle building and fat loss goals, and you don't have to let them be a part of your daily diet. Always have a healthy snack nearby so you never reach the hunger desperation point where you're eating a slice of pizza from a vending machine! Plan your meals just as you plan your training and nutrition!
We all know the stories of partying, celebration, and letting loose in college. However, when a good time and expanding social life begin to overtake your training and school progress, you can find yourself in very bad situations. Enjoy your newfound social life, make friends and get out there - but do so in moderation to ensure your school and training goals are still being met. You make great decisions regarding your actions most of the time, and you're seeing good progress because of it. Don't change up your mindset because there's a party. Stick with the actions that have been giving you the good results, and you'll keep improving and growing in college!