So you’re studying abroad! Are you ready for the big move?
Studying abroad is, no doubt, filled with excitement and challenges—excitement that comes with moving out of your comfort zone and learning new things, and challenges that come with… well, moving out of your comfort zone and learning new things.
This big move will stretch you both ways, and you got to be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. Good thing, you can be fit and healthy even while you’re miles away from home (read: it’s possible!). All you need is a good fitness plan that works for you!
Here are 5 easy steps on how you can get started with your very own fitness plan:
STEP 1: Assess your fitness level.
Everyone starts somewhere. Regardless of whether you can do 5 or 50 push-ups, the first step towards your fitness journey is knowing where you are at the moment. How else will you plan your steps from point A to point B, right?
Being brutally honest with your current fitness level allows you to create a fitness plan suited for you as well as track the progress you’re making.
Here are some things you can list down on your self-assessment:
- Your body mass index (BMI). This talks about your weight and height! Calculate your BMI here.
- Your waist circumference
- Your pulse rate before and after walking 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
- How long it takes you to run 1 mile
- How many sit-ups and push-ups you can do in 1 minute. Track your progress by seeing yourself improve in the number of push-ups and sit-ups you can do in 1 minute!
STEP 2: Set your fitness goal.
Now that the hard facts are out, it’s time to determine your desired outcome a.k.a. your fitness goal! Do you want to lose or gain weight? Are you training for the varsity team? Or do you just want to improve your metabolism?
Whether it’s one or all three reasons, a fitness goal helps you stay on track… especially when you’re tempted to skip a morning run to sleep in or binge-eat over a super stressful exam. We totally get you!
How to set your fitness goal:
- Write down your current fitness level. This is where your self-assessment from bullet point #1 comes in!
- List your short-term and long-term fitness goals. (e.g. run a half marathon, gain 5 kilos)
- Enumerate action steps corresponding to each goal. The more specific, the better!
STEP 3: Research, research, research!
Current fitness level, check. Fitness goal, check. How about the details in between, you ask? That’s where researching about your food comes in! After all, a fitness plan is anything but generic. It’s different for everyone, and your fitness plan is determined by your everyday routine and experiences in and out of school.
Here are 4 things to look for when you move to your host country:
You are what you eat! A huge part of a fitness plan goes to your diet. Discover what it means to have a healthy diet, according to the World Health Organization. While we’re not stopping you from eating sweets and all that, we suggest you look for a local market nearest your school abroad. That way, you can buy affordable ingredients and prep a delicious baon so you can skip the fast food. You can even save your school allowance since you get to avoid eating out, too. Win-win!
So you’re a new kid in town! Research about your host country’s bus routes, train lines, and commute hacks. When you do, playing around with your commute to and from school would be easier to incorporate physical and fitness activities. Maybe try a longer walking route next time?
Being fit and healthy doesn’t always have to cost you a dime. Stroll around your new neighborhood! Most of the time, community parks are designed to encourage people to stay in tip-top shape. That means running paths, bicycle lanes, exercise activities, and zumba spaces all at your disposal. Sounds fun!
School-related fitness opportunities
Another way to integrate physical fitness into your routine without spending too much of your time (and money) is maximizing your student perks! Are there fitness courses or clubs you can join? A sports gym or field you can use for free? Take advantage of these student privileges!
STEP 4: Create your personal fitness plan.
What works for others may or may not work for you. That’s why the key to a fitness plan that works is a fitness plan that’s tailored to you. That means choosing a workout routine and diet plan with your personal abilities, preferences, and interests in mind. Sure, search for fitness plans online but don’t forget to factor in your preferences and capabilities.
What’s in a fitness plan?
Workouts aren’t always sit-ups and push-ups for everyone. It depends on your fitness level and the fitness goal you set for yourself. Do you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or tone your body in general?
There are different workout routines for that. Since we’re pretty sure you’re a busy, hardworking student, we took the initiative and gathered workout routines you can do even if you’re always on the go. (You can thank us later!)
Choose your workout routine here: Equipment-Free Workout Routines For The On-The-Go Student
What should or should you not eat to be fit and healthy? Well, it all boils down to the good ‘ol balanced diet (here’s what it looks like!). Calories, proteins, and carbohydrates are all part of a good diet plan, and understanding what each one contributes to your body is key to a sustainable diet plan.
Are there age-old nutrition myths you still believe? Check this out: 5 Myths About Being Healthy You’ve Probably Believed
Do you want to be healthy but there are only so many hours in a day for students like you? Your fitness schedule might be more flexible than you think. With that, the physical fitness pyramid can guide you to plan your weekly physical activity!
Wondering if you really need to work out every day? Find the answers here: Physical Fitness Pyramid: Physical Activities Ranked From More To Less
STEP 5: Find your fitness buddies.
Tbh, there is hardly any activity that friends can’t turn into a party—whether it’s an experiment, a research paper, or a workout. So why not involve your friends in your fitness journey?
Asking friends to join you for a morning run before school doesn’t only make it more fun, but it also allows you to become accountable to someone. Now there are more people cheering and pushing you towards your fitness goals!
Studying abroad is challenging, but it doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit and healthy. After all, just imagine how better off you’ll be studying when your mind and body’s up and running (physically and mentally, that is.) So remember these 5 easy steps and get started with your own fitness plan. We’re rooting for you!