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Achieve your fitness goals with these quick exercises

Just because you don’t have time for the gym doesn’t mean you have to gain the freshman 15.

By Michelle Lumpkins | April 17, 2017

Tags: fitness Health MOVE Guide

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After lying in your bed contemplating if you should go to the Student Recreation Complex, you finally work up the energy to roll out of bed. You throw on some track shorts, fill your water bottle and grab your headphones, only to realize it is pouring outside. You think to yourself: “This must be a sign. I just shouldn’t work out today.”

It is easy for us to make excuses for why we can’t work out. Sometimes you just don’t have time, the weather is interfering, the pressure of the gym makes you nervous or maybe Netflix just sounds more amusing. But just because you don’t want to make the journey to MizzouRec doesn’t mean you can’t break a sweat in the comforts of your home.

Freshman Alexa Bowman works out in her residence hall, Schurz, from time to time. Doing exercises in her hall allows her to work out when she is in a time crunch.

“They are something quick and easy to do when I don’t have time to go to the gym,” Bowman said. “I don’t want to gain the freshman 15.”

If you're anything like me, you might be holding back a tear or two because you are realizing her fear of gaining the freshman 15 is your bitter reality. It’s easy to get wrapped up in school work, bad eating habits and late nights. Don’t let that discourage you — find some time to set aside to try out a few of Bowman’s favorite quick exercises:

Mountain climbers

Place your arms shoulder-width apart, mimicking a plank position. Bring one leg up to your chest at a time. This exercise allows you to go as fast or slow as you want. You can get your heart rate up by completing it quickly, or take it slow by isolating each movement. It is perfect for your dorm or at home because it requires minimal space. Bowman typically completes three sets of 20.

Bicycle crunches

Lay on your back with your hands covering your ears. Bring your opposite knee up to your elbow. Keep switching between each side without dropping your shoulders or letting your legs touch the floor. For example, bring your left knee up to your right elbow, and then bring your right knee up to your left elbow. Again, this can be completed quickly or taken slowly to isolate your abs. Bowman typically completes two sets of 30 (15 on each side).

Russian twists

Sit on the floor and lean back on your torso while crossing your legs in the air. Grab an object in the room, like a book, and begin rotating your torso from side to side while holding the object in your hands. Bowman does three sets of 30.

“I like Russian twists,” Bowman said. “They really get me going.”

Push-ups

This starting position is the same as the mountain climbers. Place your arms directly under your shoulders, mimicking a plank position. Lower your body and focus on keeping your back straight. Once you have lowered yourself, return to the starting position and repeat the process. If a regular push-up is too challenging, you can try a modified push-up. Instead of starting in a plank position, cross your legs and place your knees on the ground at a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms the same as a regular push-up, directly under your shoulders, and lower your body. Bowman aims for one set of 20 push-ups.

Planks

There are many different variations of planks. Bowman’s favorite is the standard, forearm plank. Place your forearms on the ground with your feet hip-width apart. Tuck your toes in to lift yourself up and tighten your core. Make sure to keep your back as flat as possible during the exercise. Bowman completes two blocks of one minute each.

Don’t let the intimidation of the gym (or the walk there) stop you from your fitness goals. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership to make a change. There are a variety of fitness programs, or even these exercises, that allow you to still work out. Any type of workout is better than nothing! So, turn on your favorite show on Netflix, pick a spot on the floor, and start working toward your fitness goals.

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