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How do you fit in time for exercise?


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How busy is your work/academic schedule and workload?

 

Especially for graduate students, (especially, especially, for those that work as well) how do you fit exercise into your schedule? (If at all)

 

I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree and working; in the past, I have had issues with finding time or the left over energy to drag myself to a gym and workout. So, I have been alternating Insanity (40 minutes) and Freeweights (20-30 minutes) each day.

 

Also, Insanity is free online thanks to Thailand and the weight bench and 200lbs of weights cost me $150 Walmart last year. So, it works for me as far as saving time and money. Though, I know many people that NEED a gym to workout. Ideally, once I move, I hope I can do more outdoor things year-round with warmer weather! (Being able to enjoy walking to school would also be a nice change.)

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I know people who set up experiments with incubations and just go to the gym or a quick run while their experiments are running. If you live nearby to your lab it's simple enough to walk/bike rather t

Exactly. The excuse for avoiding exercise that I dislike the most is "I never have the time". Free time doesn't appear out of nowhere. I have to actively put aside time to exercise, sometimes at the e

There are 2 major ways you can make time for fitness: 1) finding free time to exercise, or 2) incorporating exercise into your day. The first one is self explanatory. Here's what I mean by the 2nd one

Guest Gnome Chomsky

There are 2 major ways you can make time for fitness: 1) finding free time to exercise, or 2) incorporating exercise into your day. The first one is self explanatory. Here's what I mean by the 2nd one: I realized with all the stuff I had to do that I'd rarely have time to go to the gym during the week. So I started biking 20 miles round trip to and from campus. When you factor in how long it takes to find a parking space and then walk to class, you can bike there in about the same amount of time. That way you don't have to worry about finding time to work out. You already biked 20 miles. Of course, if you can squeeze in some time at the gym on top of that, by all means. Not to mention, the most important part, diet shapes your body much more than exercise does. Exercise makes an already well-shaped body more tone and hard. But diet is what gets it there. Sit ups/crunches do nothing if you have a few inches of flubber in the way. 

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When I was getting my Bachelor's I worked full-time and went to school full-time. The way I made exercise work into my schedule was by utilizing the gym on campus. My school had recently built a REALLY nice state-of-the-art gym, which was free for students to use. I almost always had at least an hour between classes a few days a week so I'd wear my gym clothes to school and then hurry to the gym for a workout between classes. It wasn't ideal because I hated going to class sweaty, but thankfully my school was very fit so a lot of people understood. I would also go to the gym after work or early in the morning (they opened at 6AM) if it was a day I didn't have class. Personally, I think the key is to multi-task. I like to watch YouTube videos. Instead of doing it on my butt at home, I do it at the gym on the treadmill/bike/elliptical. I makes me feel less bad about "wasting time" if I'm doing it while doing something good for my body.

Edited by Maleficent999
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How busy is your work/academic schedule and workload?

 

Especially for graduate students, (especially, especially, for those that work as well) how do you fit exercise into your schedule? (If at all)

 

I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree and working; in the past, I have had issues with finding time or the left over energy to drag myself to a gym and workout. So, I have been alternating Insanity (40 minutes) and Freeweights (20-30 minutes) each day.

 

Also, Insanity is free online thanks to Thailand and the weight bench and 200lbs of weights cost me $150 Walmart last year. So, it works for me as far as saving time and money. Though, I know many people that NEED a gym to workout. Ideally, once I move, I hope I can do more outdoor things year-round with warmer weather! (Being able to enjoy walking to school would also be a nice change.)

I'm not sure how your program would work, but since I'm in science I would go to the gym on lunch / when my experiments were running. When I was working in the lab full time, everyone would take an hour lunch, and I'd hit the elliptical for 45 minutes and eat at my desk instead. It was nice because it gave me a boost of energy midday and when I went home at night, I could relax. It was also the summer, and my energy tends to slump in the heat.

 

Also a lot of the grad students were in softball, soccer, football, etc. leagues. It's a fun way to make friends and keep in shape!

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Between working full time and going to school full time I can definitely say I'm more the type that fits exercise into my day. I stopped being able to afford the $60+ per month gym ages ago. So now I'm the person who very rarely takes the elevator. I take the stairs, I walk to someones desk instead of email/im, I walk on my breaks, I park far and walk, and I live in a walkable neighborhood so I can drive less to resources. I have a list of low cost yoga classes that I drop in when I can, otherwise I do the poses at home. I go also walking/hiking with family and friends. Now I do miss the gym with all of the fitness classes and just the sense of not exercising alone. With all these $20 per month gyms popping up and they have great classes I'll see if there's room in my budget for that.

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

Between working full time and going to school full time I can definitely say I'm more the type that fits exercise into my day. I stopped being able to afford the $60+ per month gym ages ago. So now I'm the person who very rarely takes the elevator. I take the stairs, I walk to someones desk instead of email/im, I walk on my breaks, I park far and walk, and I live in a walkable neighborhood so I can drive less to resources. I have a list of low cost yoga classes that I drop in when I can, otherwise I do the poses at home. I go also walking/hiking with family and friends.

Now I do miss the gym with all of the fitness classes and just the sense of not exercising alone. With all these $20 per month gyms popping up and they have great classes I'll see if there's room in my budget for that.

I do a $10 a month gym. It's worth it. Is very limited, not spacious, mainly just has free weights, machines and cardio machines, but it's worth it for the money.
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A combination of the suggestions above, I suppose. For years, I did all my commuting on a bike, though not as far as Gnome Chomsky by any means. But, I'd bike to campus, to the grocery store, to the library, to meet friends at a coffee shop or bar, etc. Basically, if it could be done on the bike, I'd do it. I would also work out between classes/meetings on campus, time permitting. For those, I'd focus on lifting weights only so I wouldn't get too sweaty, wash up in the bathroom sink if needed, then head to the next thing. Even if it's only 20 minutes, it's better than nothing. Oh, and for a while, I took a hatha yoga class at lunchtime. It was mostly university staff but it was a nice thing to get up, stretch, and relax midday.

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I like to view exercise as a stress reliever rather than an obligation. Grad school is so much easier to manage when I make the time to de-stress, even if it's just by playing racquetball after work/classes.

 

Same here. It's especially helpful when I'm stuck on a paper, or when I realize that I'm rereading the same line over and over again- sometimes you just need to step away and do something else for a bit. I only started doing it last year, but it's made all the difference for me.

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I also mostly do exercise for fun and de-stress, and I'm not really working towards any particular fitness goals. I think, in addition to what was said above, that in grad school, you can't always just "find free time" to do something. If you want to do something, you have to go and make the time available. This might mean setting appropriate priorities on things like research, classwork, socializing, etc to match your own goals. In grad school, I feel that we could always be working more (spending a bit more time polishing up the problem set, writing that next paper, thinking about the next project/experiment, reading the literature, etc.) . It is very rare that we would ever be "done" and have nothing left to do!! So we can't just say "I'll do X when I have free time", I think we have to decide what is important to us and know when it's time to stop working and do something for our own health/sanity!

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I also mostly do exercise for fun and de-stress, and I'm not really working towards any particular fitness goals. I think, in addition to what was said above, that in grad school, you can't always just "find free time" to do something. If you want to do something, you have to go and make the time available. This might mean setting appropriate priorities on things like research, classwork, socializing, etc to match your own goals. 

Exactly. The excuse for avoiding exercise that I dislike the most is "I never have the time". Free time doesn't appear out of nowhere. I have to actively put aside time to exercise, sometimes at the expense of a half hour of work. It is much more important to keep your body healthy than to get that extra bit of work done.

 

If all else fails, just substitute Facebook time for exercise time.  :) Even 15 minutes a day keeps you active and keeps the stress down.

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I think, in addition to what was said above, that in grad school, you can't always just "find free time" to do something. If you want to do something, you have to go and make the time available. 

 

This is why I choose Option 3, which is to make time for exercise in my schedule.  No matter how busy a particular week is, I have a set X days per week schedule.  Before it was 2x per week running 1 hour; then 3x a week schedule: two days of running and one day of yoga/Pilates.  This semester I may either do the 3x per week or add a fourth day of cycling if I get my bicycle as planned.  But no matter what I'm in the middle of, I finish it up, go on my run/to my class and then resume when I come back.  I like running and love yoga so it's something to look forward to, and it gives me the energy to last all day.

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I do a $10 a month gym. It's worth it. Is very limited, not spacious, mainly just has free weights, machines and cardio machines, but it's worth it for the money.

 

Good to know.  I'm happy to not pay for pools, hot tubs, personal training, and flat screen tv's.  Apparently the gyms near me have a $10 option where you get all that you mentioned, but you can upgrade to $20 and have unlimited access to the classes.  You're allowed to upgrade/downgrade your membership monthly as often as you like for a small fee.  They sent me some free passes so I'll definitely check it out.

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Some of my coworkers are expressing concern about me biking 40 miles to and from work on the interstate shoulder, and early in the morning in the dark, with a blinking tail light. I try to do that 2-3 times/week. Now I'm starting to second guess that decision.... But that's seems to be the only way to get in the exercise I need to be good at my hobby.

 

 

At my old apartment, I setup a pullup bar and did a routine every morning. It took no more than 10 minutes, and I was actually able to make a lot of gains from that. But with the way my new apartment is setup, pullup bar is no longer practical. so I just bike.

Edited by spectastic
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I do 30-45 minutes at the gym on the way into work, usually 4 or 5 days a week.  Luckily my gym is literally on my way to work and I never sweat (even though I usually run) so my post-gym routine is like 10 minutes and I can leave the house only about an hour before I usually would. I find I'm more productive on the days I start by working out than the days I sleep in anyway.

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I gained a lot of late. I don't eat much but have to sit in office from 10 am to 6pm. Went to my nutritionist and she said it's probably because of stress and sleeplessness, together with sitting for long hours, that has made my body bloated. Hating it. 

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I make time to exercise because it is one of my stress relieving habits...I find that I meditate best when on a machine. Also, I like taking care of myself which includes health and physical appearance. I am pretty sensitive to environment, so since I hate the ratty school gym, I recently signed up for a 24 hour gym membership.  

 

When I don't look good, I don't feel good. When I don't feel good, everything else suffers. 

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I'm one of those people who needs a gym. Last semester, I completely let myself go with exercise and eating habits, so I'm going to fix that this semester. I've got vinyasa yoga, girls-only weightlifting, and core strength classes at my school's gym, plus cardio (literally written into my schedule) and an intro to east coast swing dancing(!) class. I'm also going to try an intro to whitewater kayaking class, time permitting. Busybody!

 

I personally tend to do better when I'm interacting with others, hence the classes; that way, I'm less inclined to skip or eat terribly. My S.O. and I both need to eat better and exercise more, so it's nice to have someone who's in the same state of mind who will keep me on track. Also, if it's not written on my schedule, I won't do it, so I have to make time and set it in writing. I get around by bike, mostly, so that helps, too. I keep track of my daily calories and nutrition with MyFitnessPal, which is an awesome app.

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You'll be amazed at how much time you spend just sitting around goofing off if you begin to measure it. Or you can just set time limits.. like 30mins or an hour for internet, TV, etc..

 

When I get home from work, I tell myself I'm going to workout by the next whatever-o'clock. Usually it's like X:58 before I find my lifting gloves and have changed shoes.  You do need to have compact and well structured workouts. Leisurely workouts don't do crap anyways, but there's some good workouts that want an over-dedication of time. P90X works great for general fitness, but dear god, it wants a lot of your time.

 

I also try to set a firm bedtime depending on when I need to be awake in the morning. With that in mind, if I wake up naturally an hour or so before I need to be up.. well.. there's time for a cardio workout before work. I feel great if I schedule cardio in the morning - later in the day, at that moment it's pure hell. So I tend not to do them very often.

 

I had this one program once that tried to get me to do like very short but ridiculously intense cardio first thing in the mornings. Something 20-40mins if you can swing it is much more reasonable and allows for a decent warm up and cool down. Say an hour for a shower and such... on top of whatever time you normally get up to get to work/class. I would not try to do weight training in the morning, but that's me.

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Also - don't try to do everything all at once. You can't just dive in and train like a lifelong athlete. Set a few small goals for time and number of days per week.. then add a day.. add a day.. etc.. until it becomes a normal habit.

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Loric is right about the time wasters. Someone said this already, but it's totally true: try to combine your workout with your time waster. There are some TV shows I like to watch (MasterChef, for example) but I only watch them while I'm doing cardio. I pay the money for Hulu Plus so that I can stream them on my phone, tablet, or whatever. I just take my headphones and hop on the elliptical or cross-trainer, do what ends up being about 45 minutes (including the cool down), and then stretch. It's a great way to combine something I want to do anyway (watch the tv show) with something I need to do (exercise). Oh, and the free wifi in the gym means the streaming doesn't even affect my phone's data plan.

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Have you looked at Door Gym or similar pullup bars? There are a lot of such products on the market now (eg, http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Gym-Total-Upper-Workout/dp/B001EJMS6K) , most of them relatively inexpensive. They fit over the door jamb (no time-consuming or permanent setup involved), don't damage or break it, and stow away instantly. I have one of these, and find it invaluable.

that's the exact one I have, except the genius who designed this apartment decided it was a good idea to make the ceilings outside my rooms the same height as the door frame. I realized that when I first tried to do a pull up, but instead banged my head against the drywall like a freaking idiot. I'd buy the screwed in ones, if I had any faith in the screws and studs holding me up.

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I feel like its hard enough to watch what you eat now, much less without all the stress of grad school. Just thinking about it stresses me out!

 

As a prospective grad student, do you guys feel like there is more or less of a 'fit' culture than undergrad? Athletics isn't really my 'thing' anymore (even though of course I know I really 'should' do it)...

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I feel like its hard enough to watch what you eat now, much less without all the stress of grad school. Just thinking about it stresses me out!

 

As a prospective grad student, do you guys feel like there is more or less of a 'fit' culture than undergrad? Athletics isn't really my 'thing' anymore (even though of course I know I really 'should' do it)...

Undergrads and grads are still on the same campus so you see fit people walking around regardless. I go to a very image-conscious school in Miami. And I've taken grad and undergrad classes and would say the same percentage of people are fit. There's no reason to try to justify not getting in shape by saying, "Well, I'm a grad student and fewer grad students care about their bodies." You either want to get fit or you don't. You shouldn't base you health decisions on the decisions of others.
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Undergrads and grads are still on the same campus so you see fit people walking around regardless. I go to a very image-conscious school in Miami. And I've taken grad and undergrad classes and would say the same percentage of people are fit. There's no reason to try to justify not getting in shape by saying, "Well, I'm a grad student and fewer grad students care about their bodies." You either want to get fit or you don't. You shouldn't base you health decisions on the decisions of others.

 

That's interesting to know, and I can imagine how that could be the case in Miami.

 

I am not trying to "base my decisions on the decisions of others" necessarily, its more that I'm not sure I want to be at a school that is full of fitness fanatics if that's not really my vibe right now. 

 

Hopefully that makes sense. 

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