10 Exercises To Do In Your Dorm Room

10 Equipment-Free Workouts You Can Do In Your Dorm Room

Try out these easy, at-home, equipment-free workouts you can do in your dorm room for a good work out!

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Being a busy college student makes finding time to work out very difficult. In between going to classes, studying, attending extracurricular groups and events, going home to visit family, and everything else that life throws at you, it can be hard to set aside time to take an extra trip to the gym. I have found that there are many exercises that you can do in the comfort of your dorm room, living room, bedroom, or where ever else you may need to get in a quick workout sesh.

Here are a few of my favorite at home workouts that are equipment free and won't bother your neighbors below you!

1. Squats: Normal & Jump Squats

How to do a Regular Squat:

Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers. Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels. Keep your body tight and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.

How to do a Jump Squat:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.

2. Lunges: Forward & Reverse Lunges

How to do a Forward Lunge:

Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your hips or behind your head. Step forward (about 2 feet) with your right foot, and plant it firmly on the ground. Bend both knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. In this positioning, your shoulders should be directly above your hips and your chest should be upright (not leaning forward or back). Your right shin should be perpendicular to the floor and your right knee should be stacked above your right ankle. Your butt and core should be engaged. Push through your right foot to return to standing.

How to do a Reverse Lunge:

Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your hips (as pictured) or behind your head. Step back (about 2 feet) with your left foot, landing on the ball of your left foot and keeping your heel off the ground. Bend both knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. In this positioning, your shoulders should be directly above your hips and your chest should be upright (no leaning forward or back). Your right shin should be perpendicular to the floor and your right knee should be stacked above your right ankle. Your butt and core should be engaged. Push through the heel of your right foot to return to standing.

3. Planks: Regular & Side Planks

How to do Regular Plank:

Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Lower your forearms to the floor with elbows positioned under your shoulders and your hands shoulder-width apart. If someone looked at you from the side, your arms would form a 90-degree angle. Step your feet back, one at a time. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor, with gaze slightly in front of your face. Now, tighten your abs and hold.

How to do Side Plank:

Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder. Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet. Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side.

4. Push-Ups: Normal & Variations

How to do Push-Ups:

Start in a high plank position with your hands flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart, wrists under shoulders. Keeping your body in one long line, bend your arms and lower yourself as close to the floor as you can. Your elbows should be at about a 45-degree angle to your torso. Push back up to start.

You can adjust the position of your hands, feet, legs, or use other objects to make your push up easier, harder, or focus on training specific areas of your body. Check out this article for more variations of push-ups.

5. Sit-Ups & Crunches

How to do Sit-ups and Crunches:

To perform a proper sit-up, lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place them behind your ears, without pulling on your neck. Curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. Exhale as you lift. Slowly, lower yourself down, returning to your starting point. Inhale as you lower.

Check out this article for different variations of sit-ups and crunches.

6. Hip Raises

How to do Hip Raises:

Lay down on an exercising mat with your back resting on the mat. Position your feet flat on the ground and fold your legs such that your knees are in a bent position. The profile view of your legs should be that of an inverted 'V'. Move your arms out by your sides, away from the body. Position your hands such that your palms are facing upwards. Applying the force from your heels, raise your hips in the upward direction. Keep raising your glutes in the upward direction until your thighs, hips and back are in a straight line. Stay there in this position for a count of one and return back to the starting position by lowering your hips back to the floor & pause for a while and repeat the above steps

7. Supermans

How to do Supermans:

To begin, lie straight and face down on the floor or exercise mat. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you. This is the starting position. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold this contraction for 2 seconds. Tip: Squeeze your lower back to get the best results from this exercise. Remember to exhale during this movement. Note: When holding the contracted position, you should look like superman when he is flying. Slowly begin to lower your arms, legs and chest back down to the starting position while inhaling. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions prescribed in your program.

For more instructions & variations, click here!

8. Donkey Kicks

How to do Donkey Kicks:

Begin on all fours and lift your right leg off the floor until your knee is in line with your hip. Flex your foot and squeeze your glute to raise your heel an inch toward the ceiling. Continue these small, concentrated pulses for 30 reps. Open your right knee out to the side, keeping your foot flexed, and pulse your leg one inch to the left. You are not trying to lift the knee up but try to keep it level as it moves behind you. You should feel your glutes firing away for all 30 pulses. Maintain this leg position, and without moving your foot, raise and lower your knees in a small range of motion, about an inch. This movement is really isolated to the hip socket.

9. Flutter Kicks

How to do Flutter Kicks:

On a flat bench lie face down with the hips on the edge of the bench, the legs straight with toes high off the floor and with the arms on top of the bench holding on to the front edge. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings and straighten the legs until they are level with the hips. This will be your starting position. Start the movement by lifting the left leg higher than the right leg. Then lower the left leg as you lift the right leg. Continue alternating in this manner (as though you are doing a flutter kick in water) until you have done the recommended amount of repetitions for each leg. Make sure that you keep a controlled movement at all times.

10. Tricep Dips

How to do Tricep Dips:

Start seated with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands behind you, directly under the shoulders, with finger facing your hips. Lift hips to a hover. Bend elbow straight back and use your triceps to press back up.

No one wants to gain the dreaded #freshman15 or any weight at all! Getting in a little bit of exercise every day, along with eating a balanced diet, will help you to lead a healthy lifestyle! So, try out these at-home, equipment-free, and easy-to-learn exercises for whenever you have a spare minute to get in a good work out!

Check out this list of easy, at-home exercises from SELF magazine!

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13.1 Vital Tips To Complete A Half-Marathon Without Training (And Without Dying)

I spent a lot of time Googling, 'How Not To Kill Yourself Running A Half-Marathon You Didn't Train For'.
KC Rasch
KC Rasch
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Last weekend I completed a Half-Marathon that I didn’t train for at all. On top of that, I hadn’t run in about a year and have never completed a distance over 8 miles

That sounds insane, right?

Well, yes and no.

A few weeks before the race, I spent a good chunk of time in and out of the emergency room— mostly due to a complication from a spinal tap. During that time, my couch had become my best friend.

As someone who is fairly active and social: I hated every minute of it.

I was so sick that I couldn’t think. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t do anything other than lay on the couch and watch Netflix.

When I was finally well enough to start walking around again— I started thinking about my life and my bucket list:

So much of life is taken for granted. It’s been a life goal of mine for the longest time to complete a half-marathon, and I’ve always assumed that I would be able to train for it when I finally graduate. When I have more time— I'd do it then.

But that's not an assumption anyone should make. Tomorrow isn't promised. Your health isn't promised.

Right now, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m young, and I know how to listen to my body. I’ve run for a few years in the past, and I have pretty good technique. So, what’s stopping me? Why not do it now?

I realized that the only real obstacle in my way was myself and my excuses.

So, I hopped online and registered for the Brewer’s Mini Marathon— a process that was both filled with excitement for the feat to come, and apprehension over whether or not this decision was going to retroactively kill me.

To ease that newfound anxiety, a lot of my free-time was spent researching how not to kill yourself while running a Half-Marathon you didn’t train for— which gave me a ton of knowledge to draw from when race day came. Knowledge was the only weapon to help me through.

If you’re thinking about following my lead, I’ve shared some tips to help you along:

1. If You Aren’t Young, Or In Great Shape— Don’t Follow My Example.

If you have any existing issues with your knees, lungs, or heart: Do NOT do what I did.

Not training can lead to serious injuries, all of which are not remotely worth the risk. If you’re adamant to do it: Focus on walking it. It sounds unimpressive— but walking this race is actually pretty difficult. Not everyone is able to complete it.

However, if you are in the best shape of your life and have a history of running (or some other vigorous, aerobic activity): Go for it— but be cautious.

2. Don’t Set A Time Goal

Unless you've trained, you have no reason to have a time goal. Your only goal is finishing the course. That's it.

3. Pace Yourself

My first 3 miles were easy-peasy. So easy, in fact, that I beat my PR for the last 5K I ran— and I wasn’t even trying.

When I hit mile 5, I was still going pretty strong. However, I think if I had walked more, in the beginning, I wouldn’t have crashed so hard at mile 10. Take it from me: Don’t run until you feel like stopping.

Set intervals, and take it easy.

4. Don’t Forget Your Music

This tip is pretty much up to your own discretion. The first half of my race was incredible without music— but when I started crashing near the end, a power anthem would have helped so much. Make sure you have that with you.

5. Eat Intelligently The Week Before (And Day Of)

Make sure you’re getting a lot of your calories from complex carbs, and that you’re drinking about 2-3L of water per day in the week leading up to it. Basically, this will make sure that your body runs as efficiently as possible during the race— especially since it will likely take you well over 2 hours to finish.

On top of that: Eat a large breakfast or lunch the day before, and make sure that your dinner is light (if it’s a morning race). The morning of, be smart about what you eat. This guide was incredibly helpful for me.

6. Bring nutrition with you!

I didn’t consume mine at the recommended intervals, which is likely a big part of why I crashed at the last leg as hard as I did.

Look at nutrition like chews and gels. They’ll replenish your electrolytes and give your body the carbs it needs to keep rockin’ on. Read the directions, and follow them to a T. Also, ask whoever is helping you for advice on each product— they’re more than happy to help.

As a side note: If you haven’t used chews or gels in the past, I was advised that you should stick with chews. Also, do not mix it with Gatorade. Stick with water. The last thing you want is to spend the last half of the race in a port-a-potty.

You’re already going to be in a ton of pain— that just adds insult to injury.

7. Have Realistic Expectations

This goes hand-in-hand with setting realistic goals (i.e.: Your only goal should be to finish). Realize and come to terms with the fact that you are going to HURT. Maybe not during the race— but you will hurt afterward for a few days. Do not plan to run this if you have anything important to do later that day.

On top of that, if you don’t want to hurt afterward— make sure that you know how to take care of yourself post-race.

8. Wear The Proper Gear

I’m not typically an advocate for buying clothes for specific races or events— but if you don’t have the appropriate gear, your experience is going to be awful.

Invest in a well-fitting tech-shirt that is the appropriate weight for the weather. Do not wear cotton. Yeah, that band tee of yours is pretty sweet, and I know you want to show it off— but do not wear it. You’re going to sweat a lot, and that shirt is going to stay wet— which can be dangerous in colder weather, and even more dangerous when you consider the fact that you haven’t trained properly. More likely than not: your body hasn’t quite learned how to regulate your temperature efficiently while running, so it's important that you wear something that will help wick away sweat.

Rule of thumb: Dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is. If it’s 50 degrees outside, dress for 70. If you feel warm at the starting line— you’re going to be boiling by mile 5.

Guys: put band-aids over your nipples, unless you’re highly masochistic and enjoy the idea of your chest bleeding at mile 8.

Women: Wear running tights/capris that are well-fitted and comfortable. The reasoning for this is two-fold— You don’t have to worry about adjusting them since they tend to stay put. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about the torture that is chafing. Also, make sure that you’re wearing a high-impact Sports Bra that is well-fitting and comfortable. (I got a really nice one at Nordstrom’s Rack for around $12).

Running Shoes: if you don’t own a pair of running shoes— ones that have been properly fitted for you— invest in a pair. This is probably the most important thing for you to have. If you are wearing ill-fitting running shoes, you’ll most likely have a lot of issues near the end of your race. If you don’t want foot pain, really bad knee pain (or worse)— get a good pair of running shoes. If the shoes they fit you in are a bit too pricey, it’s always worth looking online for the previous model. That alone can knock a shoe’s price from $130 to $70.

Overall: Be smart about your gear, and know that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get quality stuff.

9. Talk To People

Before the race and during— runners are typically pretty friendly people, and I promise you’ll find someone who’s just as nervous as you. If you’re keeping pace with someone, and they seem open— feel free to talk to them. A Half-Marathon is not an easy feat, and it really helps to know you’re in it with other people.

10. For you— this is not a competition

The first few miles were such an incredible experience. I made the mistake of deciding that my goal was to finish before the person who was keeping pace with me. Even if we both fell behind on time— as long as I finished before her, I would be alright with my results.

Nope. Big fat double-nope. Don't do that.

Around mile 10, that goal flew out the window. She was well ahead of me, and I realized my mistake: This was not a competition. I didn’t train, so I have no right to treat it like an actual race. For myself, and anyone else who hadn’t trained: This was a war— both mentally and physically— and we’re in it together. So, while you’re racing: be kind, and help motivate others to finish. It’ll help you just as much as it’ll help them.

11. Listen to your body

This is NOT the time to push yourself. The distance itself is pushing you enough. If you get a side-stitch or get sharp pains anywhere: Take a second to recover.

Do not push through that pain.

However, it is important to know what pain is normal— and what pain is not. Your knees are probably going to hurt around mile 10 or so, and your muscles are definitely going to be sore. That’s totally normal and usually okay to push through. But that’s about it.

If you feel nauseated, lightheaded, dizzy, or have any sharp and abnormal pains: Stop and recover. Learn the signs of dehydration, and make sure that you’re getting a swig of water at each station to prevent it.

12. Walk up hills

No exceptions. Walk up hills. Even in the beginning. I thought it’d be fine to run them in the beginning, but even if they’re easy: They add up.

And the sum of those hills is you crashing out with 3 miles to go.

Walk the hills. Again: Remember, you didn’t train. You have nothing to prove, other than that you can finish the race before the course gets swept.

13. Don’t Stop After The Finish Line (And Eat SLOWLY)

A banana has never looked so good. And oh! Look! Free juice! Pretzels! Yogurt! GIVE ME EVERYTHING. Smother me in it. I have never considered swimming in Gatorade before that moment, but at the finish line: That sounded like a dream.

Take all the food, but eat slowly. Drink water, and SLOWLY. If you eat too quickly, and too much, you’re going to feel nauseated and hurt even more than you do already (at the very least).

Also, as much as you might want to sit down: Don’t do it. Keep walking around for about 10-15 minutes at a relaxed pace. Here are some more tips on how to recover after your Half Marathon. I did nearly everything you’re NOT supposed to do afterward, and boy was I feeling it.

Learn from my mistakes.

13.1. Be Proud Of Your Accomplishment.

Even if you walked most of it: BE PROUD. Even just walking this is ridiculously hard on your body and your psyche. You’ve earned some bragging rights. Don’t undercut your accomplishments. This is an incredible feat, and you did it.

And now that you know you can finish it, train for your next one.

Cover Image Credit: Dave Meier
KC Rasch
KC Rasch

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If You Take Fitness Advice From Instagram, You're Probably Doing It Wrong

Living a healthy lifestyle really isn't that complicated.

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I lost 90 pounds during my freshman year of high school. Over the years, I've gotten many questions about how I accomplished such a feat and what my secret is. The truth is, I did what any doctor would tell you to do when you ask for weight loss advice. I ate healthy foods, I counted my caloric intake and I worked out regularly doing exercise that I enjoyed.

This seems so simple, but in today's complex society of Instagram fitness gurus and "experts" telling you that the secret to weight loss is wrapping your stomach in a wrap, it's difficult to know who is genuinely trying to give you good advice and who just wants to sell you something. I've fallen prey to these people too, so I know how difficult it is to decipher between sound advice and a sales pitch.

So as you embark on your health and fitness journey, remember that the end goal of any workout regimen or diet plan is to be healthy and increase the longevity of your life. It's about seeing your grandchildren graduate high school and go on to succeed in life while swinging on a porch with your husband or wife of 50 years, all because you took care of yourself instead of eating fast food and drinking every weekend of your 20s. It isn't to have slimmer thighs or a bigger butt, though those are nice benefits. What these people won't tell you is that if you simply eat healthy, exercise regularly and take overall better care of your body, you will see results without having to buy some stupid weight loss tea or crazy diet plan.

Believe me, the journey to being a better and healthier you is worth the consistent effort and work it will take to get there.

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