How I Got in the Best Shape of My Life While in Law School

As I am sure you know, law school can be so incredibly busy that you don't have time to do much outside of the homework, exams, and activities (at least your first year). After college it was really important to me to make my health a priority and get in good shape. I decided to put aside time almost every day to workout. I also significantly changed my diet. The result? I truly feel as if I am in the best shape of my life. I actually have defined abs for the first time ever and I feel energized each and every day. Let it be known that I still go out and have fun on the weekends, but during the week I am very strict with my diet and exercise. Here is how I did it and my tips for you to do it as well.

I work out 4-5 times a week.

During the school year, I would workout for an hour at Planet Fitness (it was right by my house). I liked being able to go whenever I wanted and not having to travel far to go. I highly recommend finding a gym super close to you (even if you have to sacrifice quality - but not too much quality). Typically during my hour at the gym I do cardio (on either the elliptical, treadmill, and sometimes StairMaster when I'm feeling crazy) for about 20-30 minutes.

 I would typically do two days of intense cardio and two days of mild cardio (walking). Then for the remainder of the time I do weight training. I do focus on a different muscle group each day so that I don't have to worry about overworking sore muscles. On Friday's I typically do a full body circuit in which I weight train each muscle group but for a shorter amount of time. For each muscle group I use around 5-6 machines and do 3 sets of 12 reps for each machine taking a short break in between each set.

When I am done, I stretch and cool down. It is different for everyone, but usually after I am done I feel a burst of energy and am able to focus on my homework better. I also love to workout in the morning because it helps me to be productive throughout the day. Again, this is just what works for me, but it is a flexible workout regime that allows me to get in and out and on with my day.

When I have more time (during breaks in the summer and winter) I love to go to workout classes. My personal favorite is Pure Barre. I could go on and on about this class and how much it changed my life, but I will spare you. You can try it for free - so go check it out. I promise you, you will fall in love.

I have also tried CorePower Yoga and Orange Theory - both are also amazing workout programs. The only downside is they are not located everywhere conveniently so it takes more time out of your day to get there.

I use pre-workout and protein powder to make the most of my workouts. 

Before I started getting serious about workout out, I had not used any workout supplements. I have never seen a bigger change in my body then when I started to use them. I started using IdealFit Pre-Workout drink mix (I love watermelon) and I immediately noticed how much more energy I had and how much longer I could last while working out. I was able to push myself harder and harder and was genuinely excited to workout. I don't advertise for this company, I swear - it is just THAT amazing.

 I recently switched to a different pre-workout that is a little bit cheaper from Walmart (Workout Xxplosion). It is good and does the job, but not nearly as amazing as IdealFit. For protein powder, I also use IdealFit chocolate brownie. Believe me when I say that there is no other protein powder better than this. Again - I do not advertise for them. It is the lowest calorie, highest protein content I have found and tastes so amazing (especially in smoothies). I have tried chocolate brownie, vanilla, strawberries and cream, and pumpkin - all really yummy.

 I typically drink my protein shake directly after I workout and sometimes make smoothies as meal replacements. The thing I love about this particular protein is that it helps me to build muscle without being "bulky." In other words, it is a lean protein brand. Taking these supplements will help see results so much faster and will also help you get more serious about your workout routine - believe me this was the one thing that really changed the game for me.

I switched to healthy alternatives and eat a lot more protein.

I made switches to healthy alternatives to the foods I love and it really helped me eat healthier without noticing much of a difference (I have an entire post about that here).

Some of the easiest foods to switch out for me was milk --> almond milk... pizza --> cauliflower cream --> halo top... yogurt --> high protein greek yogurt, and most importantly: no caloric drinks. I loved having a nice iced tea, latte, or soda, but this is the easiest way to add to your calories for the day without any true benefit. I currently don't drink anything that has a high calorie count. I switched to diet iced tea, iced coffee, and diet soda.

When I go out, I typically try to stay away from beer and get vodka sodas. I also tend to eat a lot more protein. I have chicken breast 5 times a week (mostly because I love it). I try it with many different marinades and toppings and it is always still a delicious healthy meal. When I have snacks, I also have MacroBars which have a high protein count and fill me up - they are DELICIOUS.

I track what I eat

I currently use the app LifeSum to track what I am eating, how much water I am drinking, and my workouts. It helps me stay on top of how much I am eating and what kind of foods I am putting it to my body.

 It doesn't take long to do and will help you switch your diet without you even realizing it. It also displays how much protein, carbs, and fat you are eating which can help you monitor meals. There are a million apps out there that you can use - all of which are super helpful for your fitness journey.

I take much-needed breaks

I never workout when I am feeling sick or my muscles are super sore. This is a really easy way to feel worse or even injure yourself. You have to take breaks when your body needs it. As much as it seems like you are skipping a workout or slacking, it will help you in the long run.

While working out is also an amazing stress reliever for me, if I am too overwhelmed with my work or school I don't try to overwork myself when I feel like I need to get a workout in. Take breaks and skip workouts when you need to. This will not jeopardize your fitness plan.

I switch workouts for outdoor activities when it's nice out

In the summer there is nothing that I love more than hiking, swimming, and being outside. When it's nice out - get outside and enjoy the weather. Use these super fun activities as your workouts and you won't even notice you are working hard. By the way, hiking tends to burn more calories than even a super intense workout!!

It sounds like a lot - I know. It sounded very intense to me too when I was starting out. Believe me, it isn't as bad as it seems. This routine and lifestyle helped me feel the best I have ever felt and continues to be my release from the stressors of life. At this point, while a six pack would be nice, I follow this routine because it truly makes me feel incredible and confident. I hope that it can help you to feel the same.


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