Use Your Free Gym Pass

Dodge Fitness Center at Columbia University

Dodge Fitness Center at Columbia University

One of the best perks in college (as there are many) is the free gym membership. At Columbia, the gym is open to the public, and they offer classes for a fee. Unfortunately, even the students have to pay for classes. However, the gym itself and all its amenities go with the membership, which includes the weights, pool, stretching mats, track, basketball court, cardio machines, all of the major works. You can easily set up your own workout that way. Moreover, you can finally do all the great workouts you find on the internet without fear!

Take, for example, this great workout plan from Muscle and Strength. It’s in their celebrity section, and by celebrity, they mean popular movie characters. This one in particular has decently high ratings given the number of votes, but with a caption like “build a leaner, more muscular physique”, it’s easy to see why. So, why don’t we go ahead and get Shredded Like Wolverine!

It’s a six week workout plan to build muscle. Hint: building muscle means you burn more calories overall during the day. They even offer a meal plan, which isn’t hard to do in the dining halls. Who’s up for this new challenge? Better start now before the holiday season comes around and the meals get larger!


Be the Step Machine


One of the best perks in college is the stairs. More specifically, dorm room stairs. Most college dorms are at least four levels, and many are a lot taller than that. So, if you happen to live on the tenth floor, don’t groan. Think of it as a way to get more fit than those living on the second floor.

The challenge: use the stairs (not the elevator) to get to your room as often as possible. Sometimes you’re in a rush or you have a huge bag of new textbooks, in which case, go ahead the use the stairs unless you want to be hardcore and brag about it over breakfast to your new college friends the next day. However, you should have no excuse when going down those stairs. Going downstairs is so simple thanks to gravity. Make it your Freshman Minus Fifteen goal to not use the elevator when going downstairs. For fun, make it a race: see who gets to the main level faster, you on the stairs or your not-as-hardcore friends on the elevator (you can go while your friends are waiting for the elevator).

Go up and down stairs as often as possible. Use the stairs to get to your room, to your classes, to the next party. Walk off that dessert by going up and down the stairs. Live on the second floor? No worries, try to get to the top building as fast as you can before going back down to your room. It’s fun, it’s effective, it’s the natural step machine.


The End of the 30-Day Challenges

The End

I finished the 30-Day Thigh Challenge, 30-Day Oblique Challenge, and 30-Day Arm Challenge today. Admittedly, I cheated at lot on these three. First of all, the 30-Day Arm Challenge was basically done a long time ago, but it was actually fast and enjoyable so I did a few extra days (just repeated the last couple of days over and over). On the other hand, I hated the 30-Day Thigh and Oblique Challenges. They took a very long time to complete. So long that I lost interest in doing them and finding the time to do them. In the end, I stopped them for about a week (rest days included, although basically it became rest day every day) and today, I did the last two days back to back in the early morning.

My experience: The 30-Day Thigh and Oblique Challenges are actually amazing. They really do their job, giving you a lean and toned stomach and stronger yet thinner thighs. However, stop them for a week (as I did), and it’ll all slip away slightly. Not all the way, but you lose a lot of definition. Your best bet is to follow through. I recommend doing one 30-Day Challenge at a time.

Will I do these 30-Day Challenges again? Definitely. Once I figure out my schedule and a place, I’ll try them again. One at a time.

Anyone else try the 30-Day Challenges or want to start?


A Quick Update on the 30-Day Challenges!


On the 30-Day Abs Challenge, I am almost done. I started on July 1, so today I do Day 26. Let me tell you, it is amazing. I’ve never had such a great workout plan before. This workout completely toned my abs, but I can’t say it did very much about losing the fab on top. For that, I had to add cardio, and that’s when the magic started. Even when I felt a little bloated, my stomach didn’t look like it. Of course, I’m a long way off from having a six-pack, not like that was my goal really, since lots of women don’t exactly get a six-pack but a washboard-like stomach. Continue reading


Do Your Cardio

The most important part of this picture is the helmet. I don't care how old you are; don't forget it!

The most important part of this picture is the helmet. I don’t care how old you are; don’t forget it!

Cardio is the ultimate fat burner. Don’t believe me? Try it out yourself. I’ve been keeping up with both the 30-Day Abs Challenge and the 30-Day Arms Challenge (and both happen to be Rest Day today, hallelujah!). However, I felt a little bigger than before in both my torso and my arms and I was very disappointed and discouraged. I kind of suspected that cardio would solve this issue, but I dislike working out indoors and it’s too hot outside. The only solution is to wake up early to exercise, but who likes to wake up early? Um, okay, I do, but only if I go to bed early, and who likes to go to bed early? NOT ME. Everyone knows that everything happens past 11 PM. Maybe everyone should go to bed early so we can all get more sleep. Oh light-bulb, why were you invented? No one needs 25-hour days. Continue reading


Jackpot! The 30-Day Arms Challenge!


Just yesterday, I was cooing about all the wonderful benefits of the 30-Day Abs Challenge, all the while hoping for an arms challenge to get those bingo wings out of my life. Well, I am proud to say, Google did not disappoint (and I guess neither did the rest of the like-minded people out there). I now present to you, the 30-Day Arms Challenge (see above)! Continue reading


Happiness Is A Good Workout

This is what's going through their minds: "Whoa! I have abs?" Well actually, we all have abs.

This is what’s going through their minds: “Whoa! I have abs?” Well actually, we all have abs.

So far, the 30-Day Abs Challenge is a great success. It’s Day 11 for me, and goodness is it a workout! Doing sit-ups is rough enough, but then crunches right after sit-ups? Gosh, that burns so badly. I have to do the crunches in sets of five, resting about a second or two before continuing. But you know what? I love this challenge. Sure, it’s daunting that it’s so hard already…when I’ll have to do twice the amount I do now in a couple weeks. Continue reading


Count Calories? Count Your Seconds Too


As our wonderful chef proves above, you can multitask exercising. Believe it or not, everything you do burns calories, and if you move a little more throughout the day, you’ll burn more calories that day! In fact, doing little exercises, even if you don’t think they’re very difficult, will help you get closer to a fit and healthy body. They’re even quite entertaining when you’re bored during class or an office meeting. Or brushing your teeth. Continue reading


The Daily Battle: Sleep vs. Exercise

Or maybe both...at the same time? (I mean, sometimes you get into this really relaxing yoga position...)

Or maybe both…at the same time? (I mean, sometimes you get into this really relaxing yoga position…)

Last summer, when I was home from the Carnegie-Mellon Pre-College program, I woke up every morning at about 7:00 am to go jogging around my neighborhood. After, I would go for a cool-down walk and then head back home for some stretches and toning exercises. I woke up early in the morning because it isn’t as hot as later in the day, but I mainly did so because I didn’t want to get tan. In fact, even though the 7 am sun isn’t too harsh, I still slathered on sunscreen before my run. Then again, I am the girl who wore a wide sunhat under an umbrella in the middle of a bright summer day. Oh, and of course, I wore sunscreen too. Continue reading


The Famous 30-Day Ab Challenge

I discovered the 30-Day Ab Challenge on Facebook. There was an event that two of my friends (who weren’t even friends) said they would attend, so it popped up on my timeline. And when I see “workout”, “challenge”, or “FREE” (most important one right there), I click on it faster than Garfield can swallow a whole lasagna.

I saved the picture (above), and messaged one of my friends from Columbia to ask if she wanted to join me. I frankly don’t remember what she responded (this was quite a few months ago), but I secretly told myself to do it so I will have washboard abs by the time Columbia’s famous swimming test comes around. So I started it…up to the first week. It’s not that it got too difficult already (although Day 30 looks pretty daunting), it was that I forgot. Continue reading