What An Opportunity

Making big physical changes on a small budget

In Life on April 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm

"Christiano, I want to look like you, but I don't make $17.6 million a year."

Do you wake up and check your bank account balance online before buying coffee? Or put no more than $10 of gas in your car at a time? Maybe even pack a sandwich when you go out to the bar on Friday night?

You’re not alone. College students are notorious for being broke, but that doesn’t mean we gotta be out of shape. College students get a “free” membership (free being in quotes because we actually pay for every free service on campus) to the school’s workout facilities.

Personally, I don’t like the weight room at UB because it’s always so packed and you often have to wait for a treadmill. I guess I’m impatient, and if you don’t mind the crowd or if you go at a time when no one’s there, more power to you. Otherwise, here are some tips for staying healthy on a student’s budget:

1. Do it the old-fashioned way

Push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope, sprint, pull-ups. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.

2. Play a sport

Head over to the basketball courts, or the racquetball courts, or even consider joining a sports club. Athletics are an easy way to burn calories without even noticing. If you play basketball for an hour, you can burn anywhere from 500-800 calories. If you’re going all-out in racquetball, you’ll likely burn close to 1,000. Those are some pretty big numbers, especially considering that jogging for the same amount of time will only burn about half as many calories.

3. Work out at home

In-home exercise programs like Insanity and P90X, though they’re incredible programs that I’d recommend to anyone – they’ll leave you in a pool of sweat that you won’t achieve by just jogging on a treadmill or lifting weights –, can get expensive (upwards of $100-200) (unless you download them illegally online) (not that a college student would ever do that).

There are plenty of other options for in-home exercise. Just YouTube “workouts” and you’ll find some great ones – the Six Pack Shortcuts guys always have fresh, fun material that’s sure to leave you exhausted (and in a short amount of time; Six Pack Shortcuts workouts are based around people who have hectic schedules). Also consider the old-school Billy Banks – yup, the Tae Bo guy – workouts online. As unusual as his training methods are, and as absurd as the 1990s outfits are, you’ll love the actual exercise.

If you’re looking to buy a program online, visit eBay, Half.com, or Amazon. Can’t beat the prices on those sites.

If you work out at home, you can also wear whatever you want. I know a lot of guys prefer working out shirtless, but that’s sort of frowned upon at the gym. Obviously you’re free to wear whatever embarrassing outfit you want when you’re working out at home, and your outfit is essential, because it’s vital to be comfortable when you work out.

4. Don’t spend money on fancy gadgets

You mean that ab belt I bought last month won’t work? Damn it! Sorry to break the news, but most of those expensive workout machines you see in infomercials just work targeted areas of your body, so if you want a one-pack or just ripped thighs, by all means, buy one! Otherwise, stay away from the $100-dollar and $150-dollar absurd concoctions that promise to get you in the best shape of your life – without even having to work hard!

Fact: you’ll never get results if you don’t exert energy. Herein lies the problem with a lot of people who go to the gym: they run on the treadmill for 10 minutes, then rest for 10, chat with some friends, and end up spending an hour at the gym without doing much work at all. Silly as this may sound, a lot of people do it without even realizing it. It’s like: “oh, I spent my hour at the gym, I’ve filled my quota for the day.” You won’t burn calories when you’re talking whether you’re in a suit at work or in shorts at the gym.

Above all…

You don’t need shiny toys or snazzy threads to get in shape. You just need work ethic. So man up and get to work today.

– A.C.M.

  1. And watch this before you work out… you’ll go twice as hard as you would have. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsSC2vx7zFQ

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