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Fight The College Effect
Let's face it; living at a university (especially a rather large one) is much different than living back at home. The transition from your life at home to your life at college can be a devastating one when it comes to achieving your bodybuilding goals.
The general college population promotes consuming alcohol anywhere from 2-4 nights a week, staying up till the early hours of the morning, smoking marijuana, and making it through classes by using Adderall and/or energy drinks loaded with stimulants. Participating in any four of these activities will seriously affect any goals you have set in bodybuilding and weightlifting.
You may be asking yourself, what makes me qualified now to give you advice in this topic? Well in order to answer this question I must tell you my current situation. I am a freshman at Michigan State University (a school with a very high student population).
Michigan State is definitely known as the biggest party school in Michigan and one of the biggest in the United States. I am taking 16 credits of classes, involved with 2 intramural football teams and am pledging a fraternity.
Through my current experience over the past few months, I hope to be able to educate anyone already in college who is having trouble meeting bodybuilding goals along with the people who will be attending college within the coming years.
One extremely cool thing about college is the fact that you get to design your schedule. I was lucky enough to have an older brother who helped me create my schedule early in the summer before my freshman year of college so that I could pick the classes I needed at desirable times. I suggest you look into this in order to do the same.
My earliest class on Monday and Wednesday is 12:40 p.m. and my earliest class on Tuesday and Thursday is 10:20 a.m. Along with this, I have no classes on Fridays. Having these classes "later" than the usual classes allows me to sleep in after a long night and still hit close to 8 hours of sleep.
Along with picking "later-in-the-day" times for classes, it is important to work in eating times and lifting times. I actually did this when creating my schedule and it has helped me greatly.
Since I am taking classes that start later in the day, my classes usually run later in the day. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I left 40 minutes between my first class's end and my second class's beginning. This allows me sufficient time to go to the cafeteria and get a meal in.
I also left a 2 hour and 15 minute break between my second class's end and my third class's beginning on this day. This allows me time to take my pre-workout supplements, lift, eat a post-workout meal, and shower in between classes.
I factored in an hour and a half break between my first class's end and my second class's beginning on Mondays and Wednesdays so that I could also have sufficient time to eat and shower between those classes (the shower being necessary as my first class is General Conditioning).
By following these few helpful tips, you can become much closer to achieving you bodybuilding goals.
The day before I left for
college, I went to the gym to lift and as I was leaving, I said goodbye to the guys I always see at the gym. One man I met who always spotted me when I needed a spot told me the best advice possibly before I left.
He said to me, "You're going to college. These are the best days of your life. Don't sit in your room all night while all your friends go out and have a good time at parties. As long as you keep bodybuilding a priority, you don't need to let it rule your life.
Just like nearly every bodybuilder has "cheat days" in which they eat foods that don't fit soundly into their nutrition plan, you can use "cheat days" for partying. Set your priorities and do everything in moderation."
I took this advice to heart. I do attend a huge party college and I love every minute of it. I go out at least one time a week to party. However, in no way does this mean I drink.
Just as nearly every college student, I do drink on occasion, but going out doesn't mean you need to drink. Most of my friends actually love the fact that when someone drinks too much, I am there to help them out and have good (and sober) advice for the situation.
I am the one holding my friends back from getting in a senseless fight. I do drink and I do have a good time, but all in moderation. Maybe once or twice a month I will go out and actually drink with friends. However, by going out still at least once a week to party, I still meet new people and have a good time.
In my opinion, college so far has been a big test on what my priorities truly are. I could have easily drank a couple times a week and let partying get in the way and possibly take over my lifting ways, but I noticed that lifting is a thing that I love and I will not give up.
Another important aspect about partying is nutrition. Even though I do not go out and drink every time I party, I am still out for 3-5 hours without any food being readily available. To counter this, I simply make a casein protein shake before I go out and consume another when I arrive back home. This allows me to have some sort of food in my system while I am out enjoying myself.
Obligations are the one thing that most people don't factor into the "
time management" schedule when preparing for college. However, obligations take up most of my time while attending college. I am a pledge at the fraternity Sigma Nu.
In order to change your fraternity status from pledge to an active brother, you must complete 6 tasks. These tasks include doing a community service event as a pledge class and getting to know the brothers in the house.
In order to accomplish these tasks, pledges "live-in" the house from the times of 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. anywhere from 4-5 nights a week. During this time it is very hard to get any sleep at all.
While I did think to myself on many occasions during the beginning of my "pledge term" that this may not be worth it as it could seriously affect my school work and bodybuilding goals, I decided that if I worked hard enough I could keep my grades up, achieve my bodybuilding goals, and still achieve the brotherhood of the fraternity.
It has now been two months and I have done just that. I have become very close with my pledge brothers, and have still excelled in the gym and the classroom. I have learned the effectiveness of powernaps and good time management techniques.
On "live-in" nights, I go to the cafeteria at 9:45 p.m. and eat a solid meal. I also get a turkey pita or sub loaded with veggies and I wrap it up in some napkins and throw it in a bag. I then bring it to the fraternity, along with a protein blend in a shaker cup and throw it in a friend's fridge.
At 1 a.m. I eat my pita or sub and at 4 a.m. I drink my
protein shake. I then take a powernap from 4:15 a.m.-4:35 a.m. and wake up and get ready to ride my bike back to my dorm room. After arriving back at my dorm room at around 5:15 a.m., I quickly fall asleep.
On Mondays and Wednesdays I sleep until 12:15 p.m., leading me to get a total of nearly 7 hours and 20 minutes of sleep, which is rather good for such a demanding schedule.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I only get to sleep for a total of 5 hours at night which is much worse, but I always take a 3 hour nap from the 6 p.m.-9 p.m. which allows me 8 hours of sleep on those days. While nearly all of my pledge brothers struggle in the area of rest, by simply setting a schedule up, I achieve a plentiful amount.
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The following are the main points that will allow you to succeed in achieving your bodybuilding goals throughout your crazy college career:
- Create your schedule early to get the best selection of classes and times.
- Pick late-morning/afternoon classes to ensure plenty of rest.
- Allow for eating/lifting time if possible.
- Party smart (Don't always drink when you party).
- Set aside rare cheat nights when you can drink with friends.
- Consume food immediately before going out and immediately after coming in for the night.
- Create a specific schedule, ensuring you are sleeping enough and eating frequently enough.
- If something seems impossible, try your best to make it work!
I hope now that you have read this, that you can have a great time in college, yet still achieve any bodybuilding goals you have set! For any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day!