Gym time during grad school

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 1:00 AM GMT
    i just started grad school and I am still working full time so finding time and the motivation for the gym (and maximizing my time at the gym) is pretty tough. Anyone else going through this/have similar experiences? My goal is a lean/muscular physique- any suggestions on some time-maximizing workouts that you guys have tried?
  • ryno

    Posts: 105

    Sep 27, 2011 4:17 AM GMT
    Depending on how much time you have or the hours of your gym facility, I would recommend either 5/3/1 or DoggCrapp. Each take about 45 minutes or less/workout. A ton of info on the web about these, but if you want some condensed versions just email or IM me.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 4:23 AM GMT
    It's hard, that's for goddamn sure. I have class everyday at least 8-12:00, but Mondays and Tuesdays I have stuff until 5:00, and Thursdays I have a clinical practice thing and don't get back until like 7/8:00 in the evening. Plus most days I'm usually studying until, well, now it's after midnight. I make going to the gym my one thing that I treat myself to. It's my 2 hours 5 days a week that I let myself work out all my stress and frustrations. I look at it as a way I spoil myself a little bit in the midst of what feels like constantly working.

    And don't forget the importance of diet. That for me is the tricky part especially with spending most of my days running around or looking for a quick snack. The key is having good stuff on hand to eat so you don't wind up eating crap. Also, I just discovered how awesome it is to have a crockpot. No joke. Throw in some marinade of some sort, throw in some chicken, turn it on high, go to the gym, come back and dinner's ready (as well as lunch and dinner the next day). Pretty sweet.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 4:55 AM GMT
    I just started my grad program as well, and I'm also struggling with the same thing.
    Between classes, seminars, discussions, and lab work, its pretty hard to find 1-2 hours a day where I can sneak away to the gym.

    It might just mean having to work out really early in the morning or really late at night (both of which I don't like to do).

    Have you tried P90X?
    I feel like it builds a nice lean/muscular physique, and you have a bit more flexibility with the timing of it (not confined to the hours of your school gym).
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Sep 27, 2011 5:20 AM GMT
    When I was getting my masters and worked full time, I stacked my classes and teaching on three days. Basically went from 12:40-10pm. That gave me time to work out in the mornings on days I went to campus (did weights). I didn't workout on the days I worked before my job exerts enough as it is and I rode my bike there anyways.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 27, 2011 5:38 AM GMT
    One of the perks about grad school is the flexibility of your time. You work insane hours, but often ones you set yourself. I've gotten into the habit of going to the gym in the mid morning, when it's empty and I don't have to wait for equipment -- it cuts down on the time spent at the gym, as you don't spend time waiting.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 5:39 AM GMT
    Im having the same problem .. i always want to fit in some fitness exercises to stay healthy.. but I have no idea how!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 5:41 AM GMT
    Im so there with you. I have to force myself to either go in the early morning before I teach labs or at night after my class cause I spend all my time in my work lab during the day.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 6:17 AM GMT
    I'm working full-time 8 to 4, directing a play from 4-6 or 6:30, and in class on some days from 7-10. Still get to the gym at least 5 times a week.

    If it's important, we find the time for it. *shrug*
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 6:47 AM GMT
    I have to say that it may seem really difficult to find the time now, because you're getting used to the pace and rigor of grad school, but it'll even out in time. For most of my experience, I've been able to keep anywhere from 3-5 days per week pretty consistently.

    Having said that, there have been times (when I TAed a class of 150, or right now when I'm trying to finish up my dissertation in a month) when I let it slip and didn't beat myself up over it. I'd either get only 1 day in a week or none if it got bad enough. Sometimes you just gotta do the best you can and as long as you commit to getting back to your routine as soon as you're able, then it should work out pretty well in the end.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 6:52 AM GMT
    Trollileo saidI'm not even in grad school and I have the same problem as you. I have class from 8 AM to 5 PM every day. Then from 5 to around 11 I'm in a practice room doing my stuff. Looking for a job on top of it, too.
    Ditto. I only have 13 hours of class this semester and my schedule is kinda busy. o_O Wtf? However, I have learned to basically write out a plan for the week and go through with it, being flexible as I go just in case stuff gets cancelled or postponed or comes up.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 2:02 PM GMT
    http://fitnessblackbook.com/main/one-exercise-per-muscle-group/
  • studflyboy87

    Posts: 194

    Sep 27, 2011 2:20 PM GMT
    If working out is really important, you will "make time" for it. I put it on my schedule just like it was a class or a work meeting. If I have to skip it one day, I either workout on my day off, or sometimes I will double up on a weekend. Either way, I make 4-5x a week. I recommend that.

    The other things I recommend are things you can do to shorten your workout and still get the same burn. First thing is cut down rest between sets. I normally aim for 60-90 seconds rest. Cutting down to 45-60 seconds in between sets

    Second thing is to Superset. I find that my breathing recovers faster than my muscles (that is why I wait 60-90 seconds between sets). But if you work a different muscle (or the same muscle in a different way) while your muscle is still recovering, you can speed up. So if I am working out back, I sometimes superset a pulldown and a row. I will do 10 reps on the pull down, step over to the row machine, do 10 reps, wait 60-90 seconds, and then repeat. This saves a lot of time.

    The last thing I recommend is getting the most out of every rep. Use a good weight (not too light, but not too heavy). If you do 3 sets of 10 reps and don't fail at the end, it was too light. If you can't use good form, then it was too heavy. When doing your set, go relatively slow, focus on good form, using only the muscle it is designed to work, and squeeze when the muscle is flexed.

    My workout normally lasts 45 minutes to an hour. If I hit one hour at the gym, I get up and leave. That is taking ~90 second breaks after each set and maybe doing 1 superset the whole workout. I believe you can get a great workout in 30-45 minutes, you just have to cut down on rest, superset more, and make the most out of the exercises you do.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 2:25 PM GMT
    Here's the thing you'll learn very quickly about grad school. You will ALWAYS have something to do. If you're not careful that will drive you crazy.

    However, like others have suggested, just block off an hour or two in the day in your planner (if you don't have a planner, get one and use it) and make that time for you to work out or zone out (whichever you need). If you don't do that you'll reach burnout fast and often.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 4:49 PM GMT
    I never understood this. If you really want to do it then do it. If that means you have to cut other stuff then you cut it. It´s the same as having a job and making decisions about what you do with your time.

  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Sep 27, 2011 5:01 PM GMT
    If you think finding time to work out in grad school is tough, try finding time in your schedule when you're out in the workaday world! I found grad school to be optimal for flexibility with my schedule, and managed to work out almost every day.

    Even now as a professional juggling both academic and administrative functions at a big university, I find time to train for triathlons and other multi-sport and endurance events.

    I think you can manage to find time, even if it means getting up earlier in the morning or hitting the gym at lunch. It will mean training smarter, rather than training necessarily longer, but it can be done.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 5:38 PM GMT
    NC3athlete saidIf you think finding time to work out in grad school is tough, try finding time in your schedule when you're out in the workaday world! I found grad school to be optimal for flexibility with my schedule, and managed to work out almost every day.

    Even now as a professional juggling both academic and administrative functions at a big university, I find time to train for triathlons and other multi-sport and endurance events.

    I think you can manage to find time, even if it means getting up earlier in the morning or hitting the gym at lunch. It will mean training smarter, rather than training necessarily longer, but it can be done.


    I work full time and do my phd classes at night. Plus I teach at the university I work at as part of my scholarship. So that is 60hrs a week right there on top of school work...

    I get up early for work, I dont get a lunch (my lunch break is going from work to school).

    The only time would be late at night but by then I am gassed. That is why I am interested in maximizing my time while I am at the gym. I do find time to go three times a week no matter what, its just that sometimes I feel as if I cannot put my entire effort into the workout.
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Sep 27, 2011 5:52 PM GMT
    I admit that you have a lot on your plate. You may have to settle for now for the three workouts you do get in per week, but find the motivation to make them really high-quality. I would probably talk to a trainer to find out what the best mix is, given your time constraints.

    Maybe your schedule will change in the spring semester and you can add to your time in the gym. But you can also do things outside of the gym--just put on your running shoes and go out for a run on days when you can't get to the gym, even if it's just for a 30 minute jog.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 27, 2011 8:56 PM GMT
    NC3athlete saidI admit that you have a lot on your plate. You may have to settle for now for the three workouts you do get in per week, but find the motivation to make them really high-quality. I would probably talk to a trainer to find out what the best mix is, given your time constraints.

    Maybe your schedule will change in the spring semester and you can add to your time in the gym. But you can also do things outside of the gym--just put on your running shoes and go out for a run on days when you can't get to the gym, even if it's just for a 30 minute jog.


    Ya, I am in the mindset that if I can't give it my all, then there is no point in trying. I need to change that mindset or find more focus at the gym when I am tired. Definitely need to get in the habit of running more often especially now that I don't play a sport everyday as well- thanks.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 28, 2011 2:27 AM GMT
    I'm finishing up my grad program in about six months. I didn't handle the balance of a full-time job, classes for my MBA , and sticking with a workout program very well in the beginning of my program. As others have said in this thread -- you have to make time for working out (scheduling your workouts like you would classes or meetings at work) or you're just not going to make it to the gym. You're going to be exhausted and stressed w/a full time job and classes -- and when it comes down to spending your minimum free time, friends or sleep often win out.

    So I finally started scheduling my workouts (they're on my iPhone calendar) and always have my workout gear with me. My favorite time to head to the gym is during lunch at work or late at night after class is done.

    Good luck finding the right balance!