Coming into optometry school, I was told that it was hard to keep up with everything on top of all of the studying we were going to do. I was told that you have to pick two out of these three things on a daily basis: making food, working out, and studying. In that case, working out obviously seems to be the one to forget about, right? However, studying 24/7 really can’t be all that good for our well being.
As a collegiate athlete in undergrad, I was so nervous when everyone told me that I would have no time to work out. I started worrying that not working out everyday would lead me to the graduate version of the ‘Freshman 15.’ However, I think I have done a pretty good job of incorporating fitness into my schedule; it’s not as hard as everyone said it was going to be.
I use ICO’s Fitness Center* as a study break. I like to go after class because I know I’m going to go back and study, so why not take a little break? It’s a huge stress reliever. It literally releases endorphins, so you feel better! It lets you get away from all of the physiology and optics topics that you’ve been stressing out about.
Right now, we have a competition going on between our different classes that makes us want to work out even more. It’s called “Gold Medal Fitness,” and was inspired by the Rio Olympics. For every 60 minutes someone lifts weights, runs 3 miles outside, or does 45 minutes of cardio, that individual receives a bronze medal. For every 3 bronze medals earned, a silver medal is awarded. For every 3 silver medals earned, a gold medal is given. The winning classes receives a free lunch. Food is always a good way to make people competitive!
There’s a variety of equipment within the ICO Fitness Center that everyone can use. There are lighter weights that you can use for cardio exercises, and heavier ones to really keep you in shape and build muscle. I like to think that the gym has one of everything, including a squat rack, leg press, multiple ellipticals and treadmills, bench press, pulleys, and much more.
If you do not know what these machines are, how to use them, or what exercises you want to do, there are trainers that are available to students. They will help you with workout plans and tell you what exercises to do depending on if you want to stay toned, build muscle, or just break a sweat.
Also, fitness classes are available basically everyday! These are good for people who like to work out in groups with a leader involved. Some examples of group fitness classes offered are total body strength, cardio blast, yoga, abs, glutes and thighs, arms and abs, and cycling. I have yet to attend one of these, but I will be sure to do one soon! I have only heard good things.
Lastly, there is an undergrad campus (IIT) near ICO that I like to run around outside. It’s filled with grass and trees. It’s a nice scenery change after being in classes all day. Also, there’s an awesome view of the skyline- a good incentive. I hope to do this for as long as I can before it gets super cold!
All in all, I set a goal for myself to try and break a sweat every other day. Some days, things will come up and I might have to skip a day, but I make sure to do something that next day. Even if I don’t have time to actually go to the gym, I will do some cardio work in my room. After so many people told me that I wouldn’t have time to work out in optometry school, I’m pretty happy to say that I’ve proven them wrong thus far.
*ICO students, be sure to swipe your student ID every time you go to the gym so we have the opportunity for even more equipment!