Every day, Natalie Roman is booked from nine in the morning to ten at night; she works 20 hours per week for the Department of Exhibition and Performance at Columbia while enrolled full-time as a music business major. She hardly has time to cook for herself, but thankfully she has a roommate with whom she can share the burden.
This kind of schedule is familiar to most students who have plenty of tests, quizzes and projects to consider along with just surviving each day. But before any of that can be done well, Mark Brticevich, coordinator of Fitness and Recreation at Columbia, asks students, “What is priority one?”
Brticevich tell students in extracurricular classes or at the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, that “taking care of yourself is the single most important thing you have to try to accomplish every day, because if you don’t take care of you first, everything suffers.”
Brticevich encourages students to “sleep, move your body and eat well,” in order to truly care for themselves.
While working out seems like a daunting task to add on top of other responsibilities, Sergio Perez, a personal trainer at Xsport Fitness, said it will probably take less time than you think.
“Some people come here to the gym and they think they have to do an hour, two hours, but 30 minutes [of] high intensity is all you really need,” Perez said. “You can break it down—15 minutes here, 15 minutes there. Time is a commodity.”
Perez usually suggests weight training or cardio training in intervals. Rather than a one-level workout at a strenuous level, he helps his clients to work their heart rate all the way up, then bring it down and go on to repeat this for the entirety of the 30-minute session.
Perez said 30 minutes, seven days a week is not necessary because “your body needs to unwind, relax, reset and it’s just natural for the body to want to take some downtime. It’s actually great for the mind, too.”
One of the best times to work out is in the morning, before a busy day even starts. This will also kick start your metabolism, Perez said.
He suggests people start working out two or three days per week, and build up to four or five. Perez acknowledges life and work are tiring—working out more than five days a week is not necessary.
Outside of the exhaustion from work or school, Chicagoans have ample opportunities to be physically active while going about their daily lives.
“If students are walking from one end of the campus to the other end of the campus and they are doing that a couple of times a day, they are doing pretty well,” Brticevich said.
“I walk everywhere,” Roman said, and she considers it enough to be a daily workout.
Brticevich added, however, “There still are a fair amount of students that try to eliminate as much walking as possible. To be an active adult, you’re going to want to walk between four and five miles per day.”
As autumn approaches and the pile of homework continues to grow, remember what Brticevich says. When you “sleep well, eat well and move your body, you’d be surprised at how much you can get done in a day!”
Mark Brticevich is scheduled to teach a class on basic nutrition at The Loft in the 916 S. Wabash Building on Sep. 29 and Oct. 2 from noon to 1 p.m.