Getting into shape is one of the hardest things to do in the modern age. It requires discipline, willpower, sacrifice, sweat, blood, and tears, even to make the smallest amount of progress. Turning exercise and fitness into a habit is a huge and essential part of the process- a process often interrupted by things like school.
Which sucks, because getting fit during your teenage years is the best and easiest period of your life to so. Your metabolism is working overtime, you’re full of youthful energy and vigor, and you’re not yet burdened with the responsibilities of providing for a family or a full-time job or paying off your online poker debt.
So here are three top tips for getting fit in and around a school schedule!
1: Fitness is a Lifestyle
Obesity rates are going through the roof in western countries for two important reasons.
- Food Abundance
- The Modern Sedentary Lifestyle
The first is a good thing. I mean, it’s absolutely better to have too much food than to have too little, right? I mean, the opposite would literally require the country to become the USSR, and I don’t think anyone wants that.
The second reason is entirely dependent on you. Unfortunately, the sedentary lifestyle is encouraged both by our biology and our technology. Why walk when you can drive? Why go out when you can order in? Why travel when our homes are nice and cozy and safe…
Getting fit is about changing your lifestyle permanently. Hitting the gym twice a week won’t do jack if you lie around the rest of the week. School forces you to sit for hours and hours all day, every day (and then somehow expects the students to perform well in Gym class), so YOU have to take what time YOU have control over and use it.
Do you drive to school? Perhaps you could walk or bike instead.
Does your school have a sports team? A fitness club? Join it.
At home, do you game from your couch? Ask your parents to invest in a standing desk.
It’s all about taking all the activities you already do and making them healthier. You have to go to school, but getting there is up to you. Be realistic, obviously. I’m not asking you to walk to Manhattan from New Jersey.
2: Prioritize Your Time
You do not have infinite time. You need to divide your evenings between what’s essential and what isn’t. Getting your homework done is important, but do you have to do homework every night? For some of you, the answer is yes, because your teachers are a**h***s.
If you can, however, reserve some nights for fitness and some nights for homework. Every other day for homework perhaps, or however else you choose to divide it. Remeber, taking care of your body is just as important to your future as homework is, maybe even more so.
By the way, doing fitness regularly does not mean doing 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, and a ten-kilometer run every day. Just going for a walk or going to the local park counts. Get out and do something, so long you aren’t sitting on your couch, eating chips, and watching NCIS or Naruto or whatever else. Wear earbuds and put on some tunes.
As the meme goes, JUST DO IT.
3: Fix Your Diet
Your Diet is arguably the most crucial part of getting fit in and around a school environment. This is also the section that’s easiest to screw up.
Now, it’s easy to say what you shouldn’t be eating. If you’re having a hard time with it, think about it like this. It takes, let’s say, a minute to eat a donut. However, it would take several hour-long runs to work off those same calories.
However, it’s just as easy to screw up what you should be eating. Even the science seems confusing and contradictory, and that’s because… well, it is. What used to be new life-saving diet plans are now yesterday’s fads. First, it was fat that was the enemy, then sugar, then carbs, but actually, meat is okay, then it wasn’t okay, and so on and so forth.
Forget all of that. Here are my two top tips:
- Drink only water
- Eat less
That’s it. No magical life-changing diet plans. No forbidden sweets and food-blacklists that you’ll break eventually. Eat what you love, but eat in moderation. Count your calories; there are fitness phone apps that will do all the math for you.
Drinks are the fastest way to intake calories. The amount of sugar that can be put in even a small amount of soda is insane. Zero-calorie soda isn’t any better for you either, because of all the chemicals put in to try and replace the flavor lost from the lack of sugar.
Juice is not that much better, if you do the math on the sugar/caloric intake. Water is simply the best thing you can consume, and best of all, it’s free!
Being fit requires you to change your lifestyle. It’s permanent. There won’t be a day that comes where you can suddenly eat cake and soda and donuts again. So for the best chance of success, you need to change your lifestyle so that you eat healthier without denying yourself one of the best parts of living: good food. But remember, you’ll only ever be as fit as you push yourself to be!