By VICTORIA HILLS ’14
Co-Editor in Chief
Baby, it’s cold outside.
We’ve had three major snowstorms in two weeks. When we’re not kicking aside snow drifts, we’re picking our way around lakes of slush. Temperatures rarely and barely bob above zero. New England, with its nasty predisposition to five months of winter, is conspiring against our workout schedules.
We want to go work out (no, really, we do!) but it’s too cold and wet outside, and the sports center is tucked into a remote corner of campus. Shh, don’t yell so loud. I can hear you from here. You’re saying, “I want to have a firm bod come beach season! But I want to be toned, not, like, popsicle firm. I don’t want to freeze to death.”
Amen. The tundra is a dangerous place! Luckily for you, there’s a slew of great, demanding workouts that can be done without leaving your dorm. While it’s true that some exercises are difficult to do outside of a gym, a little creativity, a few square feet of floor space and some good old-fashioned stubbornness can keep us tough and toned through the winter months—without risking frost bite.
Basic exercises circuit
The first, most basic and most boring option is to loop a set of basic exercises for 10 to 40 minutes, depending on how much time you have, how strong you are and how many bowls of ice cream you’re planning on wolfing down for dinner.
Choose a series of simple, familiar exercises. Situps, planks, pushups, mountain climbers, squats and stationary lunges are all good options. How many of each do you want to do? Set goals: in the next 30 minutes I want to do 300 situps, 50 pushups, 200 squats and five minutes of planks. Then break the exercises up into groups. Do 60 situps, 10 pushups, 40 squats and a one-minute plank, and repeat until you’ve reached your goal. You could also break up the repetitions so your workout increases or decreases in effort—that is, make the first or last sets of the exercises shorter or longer.
Tip: the standard-issue desk chairs in every dorm room are almost perfectly sized for elbow tips. With your legs stretched out in front of you, brace your palms on the ends of the armrests and use only your arms to raise and lower your body. Lower yourself until your arm makes a right angle, raise yourself until your arms are straight (but don’t lock your joints); repeat.
YouTube is your friend
You are so over everything. You will scream if you see one more number today. You are definitely not in the mood for counting anything, even situps! Forget the boring exercise circuits. YouTube will save you.
The last thing college students need to be taught is how to use a search engine. Suffice to say that YouTube is chock-full of great workout videos. Zumba for beginners? Intermediate Pilates? Dynamic yoga? Twenty-minute kickboxing routine with cooldown? Check, check, check. You can attend a fitness class from the comfort of your own room.
There’s an app for that
Yes, there’s an app for logging how many squats you do every day (“Squats” even counts the squats as you do them, if you hold your phone correctly). Ditto for pushups and situps. The Nike Training app talks you through 15- to 45-minute workouts, many of which can be done with some free floor space in your dorm room. If you want to focus on a specific set of muscles, a lot of apps are dedicated to toning certain areas of your body—the Six Pack app, for instance, provides workouts for your core.
It’s 2014. There’s no need to ask “Is there an app for—?” The answer is yes. Find workout apps under the “Health and Fitness” category of the Apple app store, or under similarly named categories for Android and other smartphones.
#tbt to primitive stair-steppers
StairMasters are neat machines. Unsurprisingly, simulating the movement of climbing stairs tones your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and even core. Luckily for us, most dorms have secondary staircases, tucked at the end of hallways, that are almost never used. If the weather is too miserable for a trip to the sports center, or if the walls of your room are closing in on you, lace up your runners and start climbing stairs. Walk, jog or sprint—any of these is better than staring at a computer screen for another hour.