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Squeezing Weight Training Into Your Schedule

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You can get in a good weight training workout in just 30 minutes.

You can get in a good weight training workout in just 30 minutes.

I remember starting college dreading the "freshmen fifteen." Thanks in part to my fears, I tried my best to work out every day. College, however, is a busy time, and weight training sessions were hard to keep on my list of priorities. I found it was easier to fit in short 30-minute weight training sessions rather than longer workouts. With a 30-minute routine, I was able to make sure I exercised nearly every day.

For equipment, I relied exclusively on dumbbells — no specialized gym equipment needed. That way, my workouts could be done in the comfort of my dorm room. This saved both time walking to the gym and money on a gym membership. After all, in college, every minute and penny counts!

Finding time for exercise was my biggest challenge, partly because college schedules can be highly inconsistent. I remember some days when I'd have back-to-back classes from 9 to 4, and other days when I'd only have an hour of class in the morning.

My solution for fitting in a weight training workout with a schedule like that was simply to embrace the inconsistency. Who wants to work out at the same time every day, anyway? When I could, I'd work out first thing in the morning. Other times, I'd work out right in the middle of the day. During more hectic times, I'd use my workout as a way to break up evening study time. It's helpful to take time to refresh your muscles and your brain after a long study session.

I also found I exercised more regularly if I gave myself a break every so often. I did train each weekday, but I gave myself the weekends off. Working out every single day might get you stuck in a mindless routine and forget the reasons you started training in the first place.

Having two days a week free of weight training was enormously helpful. But even on these days, I stayed active. Little things go a long way: take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to class if you can, and find types of entertainment that involve physical activity (like dancing). Every bit of exercise you do can help.

Weight training and exercising in college was worth the challenge of finding time. Working out every day helped keep me healthy, even when homework had me up to the wee hours of the night. Studies consistently show that exercise improves mood, so 30 minutes a day can do a lot to help you feel better when work has you stressed. Weight training has other benefits, too, including improved bone density, increased metabolism, and, of course, more strength.

Finding an appropriate 30-minute routine is up to you. Consider working with a friend to find something that's mutually beneficial, especially if you're just beginning. Alternatively, do some research online to find easy 30-minute routines. With a 30-minute weight training routine, you'll be sure to fit a workout in each and every day while at college, and improve your strength, toning, and general health, while avoiding the freshmen fifteen.

Image source: Flickr