Gained some weight during your semester abroad. Yeah it is normal, you are not the only one… The reason is simple! You party too much, hangover and lack of sleep are not the best to feel in shape. You eat cheap food which is often the most fattening food… even in Asia. Plus you do not exercise on a regular basis. Yes, the huge hike you did last weekend helped but the burger you ate afterwards as a reward did not!
So, you woke up on day and realized you are not as in shape as you use to… you know what you have to do….
“Nooo not a diet…” hug no never! I don’t want to starve myself and start being obsessed counting calories in everything I eat… Don’t go on a diet, just avoid unhealthy meals… I don’t say you can never eat a burger or a pizza… just not every day…. Moreover, try to exchange as much as possible the chips or cookies for bananas or apples.
“Give up the amazing student parties?” Well… we all know it is unhealthy to drink and stay up all night! But we all do it… why? because it is fun! So, no I’m not telling you give up the fun parties and to quit drinking for good. I believe you can be in good shape and party, dance all night long and drink as long as you do it in moderation and occasionally.
But the purpose of this article is not to advise you to follow a diet or have an alcohol-free exchange semester! You know the best solution to stay fit is exercising!
First, know that everything counts… so start taking the bike, walk more, take the stairs instead of the escalators, say yes to hikes, etc… those exercises that don’t feel like exercises are a good way to start being in shape.
Free ways to exercises
Like I said, that’s a start but you should exercise more regularly, to make it a habit, at least once a week to be honest. Now if you are on budget like me, here are some ways to exercise for free.
Check your university facilities. Most universities offer free facilities like public basketball fields, football fields or tennis court. Whatever you are into, there are lots of ways to practice your favorite sport!
There are also some amazing university gym that are free for the students.
Well, you did not come so far to get stuck in a gym, I get it. But don’t take that as an excuse to not exercise!
There also exist free outdoor gym. While the equipment there is not electronic, the weight-based kit is all you need to regain your lost shape. Just google the location of the nearest outdoor gym and go!
Make up your own workout you can do anywhere, public park, top of a mountain, your room, … really anywhere is fine. You don’t need any equipment, just make up your own series of exercises. You can find lots of ideas on the internet. For instance, you can follow the “Basic workout you can do anywhere” from Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness or just follow any youtuber giving you ideas on how to work out.
Go for a run. This is the cheapest sport you can do. Grab your trainers and run around the local park. Try even to run farther into the countryside. You’re guaranteed to be more motivated when the scenery is amazing!
Sign up for digital classes. Nowadays there exists hundreds free app that act like your personal trainer. If you want to have Yoga lesson but can’t afford it
Stop finding excuses…
“Yeah but I don’t have the time in my busy student schedule…” Lame excuse! Don’t get the wrong idea that it takes long to exercise. You can stick a 10-min workout in between two classes or to start the day… You’ll find thousands of exercises and get-fit videos on youtube. The possibilities really are endless from 10-minute abs to 30-minute cardio routines, there’s a wealth of different options for workouts.
“Yeah but it’s too hot in this tropical weather country…” Go for a run or an outdoor workout early in the morning or when the sun is almost setting… the temperature will cool down and like I said, working out while observing a wonderful scenery is amazingly motivating.
No more “Yeah but…” just go for it.
Motivation is the key…
If like me, you are really motivated in the beginning but then never seems to be able to keep up with the exercise…
- The best option is to find a workout buddy… this will help with your motivation and to keep up the good workouts week after week.
- You could also find a boot camp. Yeah nothing gets you going beyond your limit like a coach! I am not talking about the renowned boot camps followed by celebrities and costing a fortune…no there exist some free or cheap camps you can easily find in your area.
- You can also join a team at your university… this is great to try out a new sport, get fit and make new friends… and it is easier to keep up when your team mates count on you.
To sum it up:
Take any occasion to exercise; Like Theodore Roosevelt said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Exercise more, there are plenty of ways to exercise for free in amazing sceneries. Try to make it a habit.
Stop being lazy and finding lame excuses, just go for it
The most important is motivation, find a way to find yours.