How to work out at Vassar without stepping foot in AFC

Students are able to channel their inner Olympic athletes by conveniently forgetting about their scheduled events in Skinner until two minutes before those events take place. /Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If you’re anything like me, your attention might be a bit scattered right now: classes, extracurricular activities and the new Vassar dogspotting Instagram are all vying for your attention to the point where it’s impossible to get anything done. And yet somehow, in the midst of all this internal madness, we’re supposed to find the time to care about our physical well-being? Yeah, not likely.

Still, I know I sometimes long to gain the self-confidence that only comes with being able to run five miles or bench press a small child. On the other hand, french fries are delicious and the gym is simply too far away to be considered a viable option. But lucky for all of us, I was guilted enough about the Freshman 15 during Families Weekend that I devised a brand new, totally kick-ass workout for athletes of all levels of talent and commitment. Together we can use these tips to fit exercise into our daily routines and hopefully get those “helpful” relatives off our backs.

Monday: “Skinner Sprints”

Turn your weekly trek to Skinner into the best cardio workout of your life. The beauty of this exercise is that you can tailor it to meet whatever your personal goals may be. If you’re just interested in a light jog, give yourself eight minutes to get there from the Deece. Or, if you’re feeling like a real daredevil (or should I say Flash?), you can entirely forget about your 5 p.m. choir rehearsal until 4:58, and then sprint like a demon to make it on time. Plus, in this version, you get the added bonus of your grade being on the line! You can also adjust the degree of difficulty by choosing to cut through the Bridge Building or winding your way down by the greenhouse.

Tuesday: “Jewett Jam”

Do you live on the ninth floor of Jewett in a bunk bed? Do you often contemplate letting yourself succumb to the flames every time a fire alarm goes off? Trust me, we’ve all been there, but let’s turn this nightmare into an endurance-training dream! Every time that fire alarm goes off at some ungodly hour of the night, you’re presented with an incredibly unique athletic opportunity. Running up and down nine flights of stairs is a surefire way to strengthen your legs, even if you’re still in your pajamas and are barely conscious while doing so (plus, this training element is sporadic, so there’s no need to find time for it during the rest of your busy hours). And just think, the sooner you get down and up all those stairs, the sooner you get to go back to sleep. What’s more motivating than that?

Wednesday: “Backpack Bash”

Every morning, all of us face myriad small decisions: how much are we willing to carry around in our bags? For how long are we able to carry it? How many times can we reluctantly return to our dorms during the day if we aren’t willing to tote everything we own around with us for 12 straight hours? This newest workout will simplify all of those decisions for you: just bring it all, even the textbooks for classes you don’t have that day! Body weights can be expensive and awkward, so why bother with them when you’ve got what is essentially a 30-pound weight in the form of your backpack? No matter how near or far away your classes may be, schlepping around your filled-to-the-brim backpack from dawn ‘til dusk is sure to strengthen those core and shoulder muscles, even if it does leave you with a slight hunch.

Thursday: “Kenyon Climb”

A lot of people find the gym intimidating, and I totally get it: who wants to get all sweaty and gross in front of a bunch of people who are apparently better than you at everything, including purchasing really cute workout attire? If you’re feeling like you want to work out in a more discrete location, we’ve got the perfect challenge for you. Now, I would never encourage any unsafe or improper use of building spaces, but I have been informed that climbing is a great way to increase your strength and stamina. So, if you happen to get the urge on a brisk Thursday evening to hop through a window and shimmy your way up to the roof of Kenyon (while safely avoiding all those intimidating athletes), I promise your newly toned arms will thank you, even if campus security doesn’t.

Friday: “Arbor Amble”

Physical exercise is important, but we mustn’t forget to flex the most important muscle in our body: the brain. As an almost-weekend treat, this workout combines both mental and physical aspects. Take a break from your strenuous academic schedule and wander around campus with a friend, trying to name all of the different types of trees you come across (there are upwards of 300, so good luck). You might have some trouble initially, but sooner or later your sulci will start to bulge and the patterns will become clearer. And, as an added bonus, this activity will probably help you tan and avoid a Vitamin D deficiency.

Creating a strong body and mind might seem impossible in a fast-paced college lifestyle like ours, but making small adjustments to daily routines can get us one step closer to achieving our dream bodies, or at least make us feel less guilty about that late-night Deece ice cream we consume.

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