Swoles in Session Pt. 1 - By Cassie Bishop
Amid classes, work, and family life, we’re often on the move with way too little sleep. Student life presents some unique challenges to those who wish to look their best, especially when prepping for a competition. Trust me, I've been there. I have already finished one degree and now I'm working on another, all the while training, dieting, and competing in bodybuilding shows.
In light of the trials and tribulations that you will encounter, over the next few entries I'd like to present some specific tips that I have picked up over the years in regards to training, diet, and more. This entry however, I want to share with you some more general advice about maintaining a good life balance as you work to improve your body and your mind. This is stuff that I know you all need to hear, and that I need to hear again myself. Please, feel free to comment.
-Molding Your Mind Set-
At the mere mention of classes, papers, an exams, some of you are already experiencing elevated cortisol levels. Chill out! Life can in fact be all fun and games if you play it right. Remember why you have made the choices that you have in regards to your education and training. Outlook is everything. Personally, I find visualization of long term goals effective to put me in the right mindset to take on the day. The more farfetched the scenario is that I play out in my head and the more I can convince myself that it is possible, the more compelling. Belief that you can be something great is a powerful tool for success, and when you are in that right mindset you are stress free and motivated. I can not stress enough how important this is for students who play multiple roles, are under a lot of pressure, and are usually at a critical time in their lives.
Mindset, check. Now let's get to some on the obstacles that you may (will) encounter. The biggest issue is often STRESS. Lucky for you, training is an excellent stress reliever! I can't count how many times I have heard the excuse of not exercising due to a tight schedule. I'm telling you now that you NEED exercise. It keeps your mind sharp and your energy up. I find that if I take too many days off when things get busy that I become dull, tired, and tense. Please, don't feel guilty about spending a few hours to train each week because will in fact help your performance in your classes.
Along the same lines, with the exception of the pre-contest phase, keeping your diet tight can help your performance not only in the gym but also in your classes. Even better, you don't have to sacrifice time studying because of your diet. I have found that maintaining a poor diet takes just as much time as maintaining a balanced diet. There will be an entire entry on diet next week so stay tuned!
Finally, get some sleep! Do it for your body and your mind. Getting enough sleep has truly been the biggest challenge for me. Sleep seems so petty when there are assignments due and you have a big exam tomorrow. You all know this, but without sufficient sleep your mind will slip and so will your performance in the gym, and you'll only lose more sleep as you try to catch up in that sleep deprived state. Don't let yourself fall into that cycle; balance your schedule to maximize your efficiency and get rid of the time wasters so that you get enough.
Bodybuilding and school don't conflict as much as it seems, and that is my take-home message here. Many of the things that you must do in regards to your diet and training are beneficial to your performance in the classroom as well. What's more? Bodybuilding and especially competing is a serious character builder. Values gained through the wonderful sport of bodybuilding such as dedication, patience, and self-control may be applied in your daily life. It turns out you can have your cake and eat it, too!
Prepared by Cassie Bishop
The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.