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Peer Advice: Gym by day, Study by night. Staying active in PA school.


Before I discuss how I manage to work out almost daily in PA school, I wanted to congratulate you all for your acceptance into MBKU.

This program is very unique and really cares about its students. The module system and class schedule are designed to provide students with opportunity to still indulge in activities that they find valuable. What matters is how important those hobbies are to you. While adjusting to MBKU, I was still able to dedicate time into my studies and my many hobbies. I was able to workout almost daily, play video games with my hometown friends, and spend some time interacting with my new PA friends. What matters is determining what is most valuable to you and what sacrifices you might need to accomplish your goals.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the best bodybuilders of all time, once said “The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent”. During my last year of high school, I stumbled upon his encyclopedia of modern bodybuilding and began my fitness journey. In high school, I was always a shy person whose insecurities and lack of confidence detoured me away from social interactions. I loved working out because it gave me an opportunity to challenge my body and my mind. The gym was a place where I could get away from the world and dedicate an hour of my day to building myself. Staying active had many other physiological benefits, such as improving my sleep, relieving my daily stress and giving me improved mental clarity. Even through undergrad, I made every effort to workout at least 5-6 days a week. On days that I could not go to the gym, I felt as though I missed a vital aspect of my day and looked forward to my workout the next day. Staying active and living a healthy lifestyle had become my passion, and I boosted my self-confidence. After my acceptance into MBKU, I was worried that all of that was going to change. Based on how vigorous I heard PA school was, I became anxious at the thought of not having enough time to work out. I knew school would be stressful and needed to find a way to incorporate fitness into my schedule. What I had found was that the MBKU SPAS program provided students with more than enough opportunities to dedicate time to ourselves. PA school is all about choosing your battles and making sure you are making decisions that will benefit you and your pursuits of higher education.

When it came to working out, I always prioritized finding time in my schedule to dedicate a single hour in the gym. There are many great options in the area for you to choose, if you desire. If the school gym is convenient for you, then it is a good choice! Just make sure to reserve a space ahead of time since they only allow 2 people simultaneously. Crunch Fitness is also a great option and is about a mile away from campus. Their memberships are very affordable, but it is usually pretty busy since a majority of CSUF students’ workout there too. Since the school gym and Crunch Fitness often get busy, I decided to start a 24-hour membership. 24 Hour Fitness is farther then Crunch and is a little more expensive, but I liked it since it had more equipment and was less busy. They also have a location that is open 24 hours.

Let me just say that I AM NOT AN EARLY BIRD! I am the grouchiest person when it comes to early mornings, but on days where we started class at 10 AM, I set my alarm and would get my workout in around 7:30 AM. It wasn’t easy waking up extra early, but I always asked myself “How bad do I want this?” I would have my meal preparations packed and ready to go the night before, so that when I finished my workout, I could rush home and go straight to class. I knew that if I dedicated at least one hour to myself, it would already make me a better version of myself.

On class days that started earlier then 10 AM, I would look through the schedule and see if there were any time slots that I could potentially squeeze in a workout. If I had a 2-3 hour gap, then I used that time to get to the gym. If there were no gaps, I would see what time class ended. If class ended anytime before 4 PM, I would go to the gym and try to get home and start studying by 6 PM. If class ended any time after 5PM and I wasn’t able to go early morning, then I would have to decide whether working out that night would benefit or harm my school performance. I didn’t want to start studying to late or be too tired to study, so I would sacrifice the gym that day and look forward to my next workout the next day. If I was exhausted from the long school day and felt that a workout wouldn’t benefit me, then I prioritized taking care of myself.

Everything that I have mentioned are based on my personal experiences. What has worked for me may not work exactly for you. Many of my classmates also workout but have routines that differ from mine. My take home message is that it is very possible to prioritize your education, while also dedicating time towards things that you love. I was able to do all of this, while again still playing video games and hanging out with my friends. This program is very vigorous, overwhelming, and you are going to be learning so much in such a small period of time. I encourage you to dedicate time for your mental health and continue to do things that you love. If staying active was something helped you manage stress, then incorporate physical activity into your daily agenda. That will not only help prevent burn out but will make you enjoy your PA school experience.

Photo of guy at the gym