Making Time to Work Out in College

By Olivia Lawnick, Student at Newberry College

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Fitness is on everyone's mind. Some people want to win a marathon, some people want to run a mile and some people just want to make it up the stairs. Regardless of what you want, it's important to get motivated and stay that way.

Getting to the gym can be a bigger task than the actual workout, with the biggest excuse for skipping the gym being that you don't have time. Well, here are a few simple tips for making sure you get to working out before your busy schedule finds something else for you to do.

Your schedule is so tight, you don't have time to take the stairs instead of the elevator. You don't have time to walk to class. You don't have time to fit in any kind of exercise. If you want to make fitness a priority for yourself, you are going to need to tell your planner. Sometimes this means waking up a little bit earlier, even a half an hour will help motivate you and start your day off fit.

Can You Sacrifice Half an Hour for Your Health?

7 a.m. Wake up

7:30 a.m. Breakfast

8 a.m. Leave the house


6:30 a.m.  Wake up

6:30 to 7 a.m. Stretches, 10 push-ups, sit-ups, planks

7 to 8 a.m. Regular routine

If you have a long lunch break, try brown-bagging it. The bonus on this is that you can control how healthy your lunch will be. With the time you save instead of having to order and wait, you can fit in a quick workout.

Try Out This “At Your Seat” Workout Plan:
  • Repeat these 3 times
  • 15 Tricep dips (off the edge of your chair)
  • 15 Lunges (each leg)
  • 5 Wall sits (30 seconds each)
  • 15 Calf raises (either both, or one at a time for 15x each)

Some of you have time, but it is dispersed throughout the day. That is OK, you don't have to commit to working out all at once. If you can fit in three or four shorter workouts a day as opposed to one long one, that works just as well. Just make the most of the time you have because every effort toward your health is beneficial!

Try and break up your training sessions evenly so you don't burn yourself out or only work one muscle group in each session.

Workout A: Repeat 3 times
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 50 mountain climbers
  • 50 seated twists (each side)
  • 15 push-ups
  • 50 squats
Workout B: Repeat 3 times
  • 2 minutes of high knees
  • 50 burpees
  • 100 bicycle crunches
  • 15 tricep push-ups
  • 50 lunges (each leg)
Workout C: Repeat 3 times
  • 2 minutes of jumping jacks
  • 50 squat jumps
  • 5 planks (front, both sides, each for 45 seconds)
  • 15 push-ups
  • 50 leg lifts (together, front)
Workout D: Pick one for the whole time (15-20 minutes)
  • Elliptical
  • Stair master
  • Treadmill
  • Bike

Another tip is to have your gym bag pre-packed and by the door. That way, when you finally get a chance to stop home, you can just grab and go. This will help you avoid the temptation to just stay at home, get comfy on the couch or find anything else to do — like laundry, dishes, painting your nails, helping your roommate study, etc. If your bag is ready to go, it is a lot easier for you to be, too.

At first, it might be difficult to add these things into your schedule. Who wants to give up half an hour of sleep for push-ups? However, if you really want to make those healthy lifestyle changes, your schedule is going to have to reflect that. The first week it might seem hard to adapt, but soon you will happily embrace your fit choices. As you begin to enjoy working out, you might notice that your fitness moves up the priority list and somehow you will find more fit time!

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!