Written by Joya Lydon a current 2nd Year Psychology NTU Student
I know when you read the word fitness you were either getting an image of a bright pink leotard and leg warmers from the 90s fitness DVD’s or a man the size of HULK looking like his veins might burst by the second. Okay… maybe I’m exaggerating but you get my point. I’m here to debunk the idea that fitness is alien to us or even a chore. Stick with me to the end of this blog post and I’m sure I can positively surprise you in one way or another.. Pure gold dust in my opinion.
Imagine a world where we’d get free gifts just for our daily steps? How about I make that a reality. NTU have partnered with the app ‘Moves’ where you can literally convert your points (gained from steps, walking, running, cycling or swimming) for Amazon vouchers, NTU Café smoothies or hot drinks… treat yourself! There’s also the option to donate money to charity so here’s a way to make a difference without forking out any precious dollar. Just sign up with your NTU email and get moving, it’s that simple!
Anyway, past all the materialistic wonders NTU offer I’m here to provide you some solid facts I’ve picked up along my own fitness journey.
- HIIT or High Intensity Interval training is my bible for working out. Short bursts of a set of exercises followed by a period of rest and repeating the set a few times will also have continued positive benefits on your body throughout the day even when you’ve stopped exercising. It’s time efficient and POWERFUL!
- Strength training helps you to burn more calories at rest. Or in other words you’re burning extra calories while you binge a whole Netflix series!! This is because as your muscles are growing, your body is burning more to help maintain the muscle growth. By strength training I don’t mean trying to lift 150kg on your first day, try it from home with a tin of beans or Nutella jars! I even used a sledgehammer before I realised the health and safety no no’s and invested in some 5kg dumbbells.
- If you need a low impact alternative to all this intense talk, you can still get the same amount of benefit to your fitness without jumping anywhere, “low impact does not mean low intensity” – quote from my fitness inspiration Courtney Black.
Okay I have to admit, this is the part I struggle with. Can anyone relate to having an entire fitness transformation planned in your head until a deadline decides to insert their uncalled-for deadweight over your head. Next thing you know you haven’t moved in a month and the idea of working out makes you sick?? Don’t worry we’ve all been there. I think everyone needs time to breath and you must listen to yourself if you need a break from the world, fitness included. However, if you make fitness a part of your everyday routine, it might seem just that less bit daunting. Here’s a few of my top tips.
- Always plan a workout between meals because the last thing you want to do is work out on a full stomach. I usually have something light at 9am like a smoothie, workout at 10am and then have a bigger breakfast around 11am.
- Stop seeing fitness as a quick fix (*Note to self, listen to your own advice*). Everybody is different and as soon as we plateau (get used to exercise) the noticeable effects of our exercise isn’t half as fast as it was the first couple weeks of working out. If this is something you just do to make you feel good, the long-term transformations is a plus really!
- Even if you don’t feel up to it, I can almost promise you that you will feel better after. In simple terms, just get on with it. There are hormones that are released from working out that will improve your positive mental health way more than the physical benefits.
- Try to separate your body parts across the week to stop your aches preventing you working out the next day. For example, if you work your upper body, your lower body won’t be screaming at you to stop the next day.
- My biggest recommendation for HIIT training is my fitness inspiration, Courtney black (@Courtneydblack on Instagram). She’s where most of my own knowledge comes from.. she really doesn’t mess about. She’s a qualified personal trainer who does all her work through her app and her Instagram IGTV’s (the free version). Really, she’s just a ray of sunshine in this world right now and she doesn’t even know my name!!
- Training timer is a free app I have downloaded on the App Store which helps you time every exercise and rest period as a whole set which stops you having to pause to reset your timer, it’s quite cool actually.
- If you are working out at home (like that’s even a question right now), I know Argos and Decathlon are selling reasonably prices home workout equipment and weights at the moment.
- Don’t forget to download the app Moves and sign up with your university email.
Okay, so to round it up, fitness does not have to be a chore, do what suits you! And yes, walking counts as fitness, I vouch for you. Try to keep your body active in whatever way works for you to help you create routine in these strange times. Most of all don’t put too much pressure on yourself! You got this.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness