Most people enter college thinking for sure that they’ll be the one that avoids the Freshman 15. Reassuring thoughts like “There’s a salad bar in the dining center”, “I’ll walk to class every day”, and “The gym has lots of cool stuff so I won’t get bored” will pass through their heads, usually as they sit at their computer or play video games. At least, that was my experience. During my freshman year, I went through a two-month period where I was exercising every day. I would lift three days a week and swim or run on the other four. I was in great shape, and I was improving every week.
Then I went home for Christmas break. You know, it’s funny what three weeks to down time will do to you.
The following semester, the discourse in my head went a little something like this:
9:30 p.m. – “I’m going to go to bed in an hour, and then get up at 5:30 to go running. Yeah, let’s do this.”
10:30 p.m. – “I kinda want to play some BioShock.”
12:30 p.m. – “Wow, I should probably go to bed if I’m going to get up at 5:30…” (cue dillusions)
5:30 a.m. – “Go running? That’s funny…. zzzzzzz”
8:30 a.m. – “Well, almost time for class. I’ll run tomorrow.”
If this experience is similar to what you go through, you might want to consider the solution that I eventually took up – signing up for my school’s Army ROTC physical training class. Basically, it’s a 1-credit class that allows you to get up at 5 a.m. and train with the ROTC cadets. If your school has an ROTC program, it very well may offer this class.
Now, I’m not saying this is the most fun class in the world. On most mornings, I wake up and wonder if I should get myself checked out for masochistic tendencies. Waking up that early really isn’t fun, especially when it’s so difficult to get to bed at a decent time. Homework, friends, and that ever-pervasive internet usually keep me up until 11:30 or later, so I don’t get a whole lot of sleep beforehand.
However, the benefits of a class like this outweigh the drawbacks. For one, you’ll come out of it in very good shape. In my experience at least, the civilian students train alongside the cadets and aren’t treated any differently. The class will kick your butt no matter who you are. Also, I always end up feeling energized and awake after the workout is over. I don’t find myself falling asleep in class anymore, and I’m less tired in general. Lastly, as the title of this post alludes, the class forces you to work out. There can be no guilt over skipping – only a worse grade.
The workouts consist mainly of upper body and core exercises along with plenty of running. You won’t be doing any log-lifting as the picture shows (I just thought that picture was cool), but they will most likely think up some “fun” variations of body-weight workouts. One that comes to mind is having to bear crawl across central campus, doing push-ups every ten feet.
If you find yourself skipping workouts, give an ROTC physical training class a try. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.