T Nation

Training Around Exam Time

Hello Everyone,
I have a problem: I’ve been training for almost two years and yet however I still consider myself a newbie. I even look like a newbie…Even though I’m in the best time of my life (18 years old) when it comes to building muscles, I am having trouble actually developing a proper physique…

The reason I’m not getting results is my habit of being inconsistant due to the fact that whenever I actually get into a two - three months working out phase, I move into a month examination period where I simply cannot do much but study and fix my grades which are damaged throughout the year. This inconsistency ruins everything I work hard for, and so here I am two years after I’ve started to work out (using T-Nation techniques)and yet without much results…

The reason I’m writing this is because for the past two months, I’ve been going to the gym on almost a daily basis, and spending there an hour to two hours actually working out, and now I’m completing the cycle by sitting at home and studying for my final exams for this school year.

I know I might be making excuses, but I’m having trouble getting to the gym. I’d like to actually workout at home using bodyweight exercises, so if anyone knows or has tried a bodyweight workout program that can be done at home, please direct me to it…This would actually save me from going into this dreadful cycle and losing my gains once again.

Also for nutrition, what kind of diet should I be taking in to maintain what I’ve had and maybe add a little muscle?

Thanks in advance,
hanorii

[quote]hanorii wrote:
The reason I’m not getting results is my habit of being inconsistant due to the fact that whenever I actually get into a two - three months working out phase, I move into a month examination period where I simply cannot do much but study and fix my grades which are damaged throughout the year. [/quote]

[b]For those who like PC responses, here is the alternative answer:

You are a great person who just has a really really hard time focusing. Try and try and you will evntually…one day…learn to put a program together that keeps you organized. Much love…smooches.[/b]

Real answer:
You are a pussy. I hope that was blunt enough. Don’t take that the wrong way though. Several college students are pussies and they won’t graduate either. Why are your grades “damaged” throughout the year? My guess, you put about as much “consistancy” in your studying as you do your gym time. I lifted all of the way through school…often hitting the gym the night before finals and exams just for a release. However, I also studied ahead of time so that last night was usually just review. If you want something bad enough, you will fix your life to make it happen. You lack desire and motivation to truly make this work. People like you are the first to claim that they trained “off and on” for years. Gladly, I can’t make that statement.

Your claim of lifting for nearly 2 hours also shows you don’t have much of a concept about your training. My lack of overall time in school was generally why I started training only one body part a day…that and I liked being in the gym daily. Unless the extra time is spent doing cardio while dieting, much over an hour is counter-productive.

I actually find that you can use exam revision for your benefit. Say if you have a 15 min break every hour to keep your concentration good, In every fifteen minutes you could do say: 20 pullups and 50 pressups and you could use some barbell work if you got one.
By having the strict schedule of your exam rev controlling your workouts it can make sure you definitely do them.

This method would not however suit you if your one of the ‘once you sign out of exercising for the day you can’t sign back in’ type of guys. The next hour of revison would give you ample time to recover and as the exercise is fragmented you should keep up a full intesity every 15 min workout. Maybe working on a different muscle every workout would be more effecient but i’m not sure.

Here’s another real answer. You don’t need to be spending 2 hours in the gym by any means. You can get a very effective and intense workout in much less time than that. Check out Chad Waterbury’s programs and those of T-Nation’s other strength coaches. You will see. No reason why you can’t fit them in and have plenty of time to study. I find it hard to believe that you study all day every day and don’t take a break to watch a crap tv show or something. It’s all about time managment, man.

I graduated with a great GPA and am going to a top law school in the fall. I still had time to workout, study, party and have fun throughout the year. (leaving all studying till the end and cramming is stupid). During finals, I was pressed for time. Maybe I didn’t have a lot of free time, but still time to get workouts in and go out to dinner and some other low key breaks. Your workouts will help focus and concentration anyhow, and you will study more productively.

Make time.

I am currently in my exams as well, I train 5-6 days a week, I still have one evening a week to keep my social life up to par, and I sleep 8 hours a night.

Excuses are no reasons, you need to do some planning, make sure you finish the chapters or books you had planned out, and then go train.

It’s because people don’t do any planning or have anything to work towards to during the day that they study until 3 am.

Okay…Thanks to all those who have replied…including Professor X…I wanted to clarify something however, I have 54 credit hours a week this semester, this number is not small or casual…I have the largest workload in my class this semester because I transfered from another university and not all courses were transferred so I am stuck doing some of Year I courses (I’m in year II) and all of year II courses…so in a way, I’m doing two semesters in one…The load is unbearable as I come home usually at 7 pm everyday, eat, do work for the next day, workout if i can, and go to sleep to wake up at 5 for my uni bus at 7…

My life is pretty hectic as we speak…but thank you for your input…More input on bodyweight exercises and diet would be much appreciated…

I used to find myself in this same problem until one day I realized I was being a lazy ass about it. I was procrastinating, wasting time on stupid shit, talking on the computer and sending emails too often, thinking that the next week I would start up again for real, etc. etc.

I suggest you read Dan John’s last article. In it he says something along the lines of simplifying wherever possible when hard times come. Professor X said that school and a devotion to working out led him to choose to workout one body part a day. You could try the same route, but I think it would benefit you more if you just worked on one movement a day. Have a Bench day, Row Day, Squat Day, etc.

As for diet, just make sure you get in sufficient nutrients (PRO, FAT, CHO). If you’re trying to shed fat, then morning GPP sessions are a must. Do them Renegade style (jumping jacks, shuffle jacks, vertical hops, slalom hops,etc.)

Or, you could practice one-arm push-ups and one-leg squats by Greasing the Groove during your “hell-month of study.” You could probably even apply this greasing the groove principle to your studies by reviewing material frequently (which in the long run will help things out even more).

I would wish you the best of luck, but instead I think it’s best to encourage you to put forth the best effort (assuming the motivation and dedication are there).

-ton

[quote]hanorii wrote:
Okay…Thanks to all those who have replied…including Professor X…I wanted to clarify something however, I have 54 credit hours a week this semester, this number is not small or casual…I have the largest workload in my class this semester because I transfered from another university and not all courses were transferred so I am stuck doing some of Year I courses (I’m in year II) and all of year II courses…so in a way, I’m doing two semesters in one…The load is unbearable as I come home usually at 7 pm everyday, eat, do work for the next day, workout if i can, and go to sleep to wake up at 5 for my uni bus at 7…

My life is pretty hectic as we speak…but thank you for your input…More input on bodyweight exercises and diet would be much appreciated…[/quote]

How many hours a week? I did 19 hours a week in college and I do agree, it can be stressful. There are several parties I missed and a lot of sex I didn’t have because of it. I still made time to lift though because that was a goal I had…just like graduating.

Wow, that’s rough. wow. Maybe not the best choice to try to catch up so quickly, but that’s where you are now…(dropping some classes if you still can might be a good idea) I don’t know much about making an effective routine just on bodyweight exercises. I’ve always used the gym. But I’m sure others can help. As far as diet goes, check out all Berardi-Massive Eating, Effective Eating Habits, etc…Good luck!

[quote]hanorii wrote:
Okay…Thanks to all those who have replied…including Professor X…I wanted to clarify something however, I have 54 credit hours a week this semester, this number is not small or casual…I have the largest workload in my class this semester because I transfered from another university and not all courses were transferred so I am stuck doing some of Year I courses (I’m in year II) and all of year II courses…so in a way, I’m doing two semesters in one…The load is unbearable as I come home usually at 7 pm everyday, eat, do work for the next day, workout if i can, and go to sleep to wake up at 5 for my uni bus at 7…

My life is pretty hectic as we speak…but thank you for your input…More input on bodyweight exercises and diet would be much appreciated…[/quote]

Yeah…54 hours a week mean 6 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm at uni…which really really really sucks…Its hard to drop any courses now, as I have made it this far with my 10 courses load…

Thank you everyone for your replies, most of them are helpful…but sheesh, Prof X is always really strict and somewhat non-understanding…(btw, I really like your ‘go-for-bigger-than-big’ attitude…You’re a great role model to most ppl here)

[quote]hanorii wrote:
Yeah…54 hours a week mean 6 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm at uni…which really really really sucks…Its hard to drop any courses now, as I have made it this far with my 10 courses load…

Thank you everyone for your replies, most of them are helpful…but sheesh, Prof X is always really strict and somewhat non-understanding…(btw, I really like your ‘go-for-bigger-than-big’ attitude…You’re a great role model to most ppl here)

[/quote]

Actually, I wasn’t aware that you were in class for 12 hours a day. How are you in classes six days a week? What school has weekend courses?

I personally think you should have considered this before you signed up for a course load like this. Most schools won’t even allow this without permission from the Dean and proof of your grades that you can even withstand the load. I had to ask permission just to take more than a usual full load (which I believe was 18 hours). It makes little sense to take massive course loads and flunk when you could take less and do better.

I also take back the pussy comment. You simply won’t be getting any…but you don’t seem to be one.

you could always just leave weight training for a bit, because the grades will last you for ever and are best getting now rather than going back to do courses and stuff when you’re 30. A good physique can be got later. This will be a totally useless post though if you already considered that and still wanted to do training.

54 hours a week? Ouuch! Obligatoric classes sucks. But anyway, I’m a student too (altho muuch more time on my hands). When I don’t have time or possibillity to go to the gym I’ve developed myself this neat home-no-equipment “workout”. Consists basicly by:

  • Push-up (hands only, check out coach summers first article and his site for description)
  • Reverse-push-ups: Same as a push, except you’re on your back, elbows rested on chairs. Begin with feets on ground. Elevate the resting point if you’re strong enough (good luck)
  • One legged squats
  • Ian King deadlifts
  • Handstand lifts (feet rested on wall)
  • some waist exersizes (tell me if you need more, I’ve got a ton of those for bw). Bam, you’ve got yourself a heavy total body workout.

[quote]hanorii wrote:

My life is pretty hectic as we speak…but thank you for your input…More input on bodyweight exercises and diet would be much appreciated…[/quote]

You should have told us earlier, now we see what you’re in for here.

Either way, I see what your trouble is, I work in weekends and have a lot of commitments I need to hold myself to do, together with studying and training.

If I were you, and I did this for the sole purpose of studying, I’d buy an adjustable dumbbell and some weights.

Perhaps a barbell too, but I found a dumbbell to be so versatile, and you can literally train between each chapter you plan to study.

Last year I did something along the lines of :

Study

Few sets of 1-arm snatches with left arm

Study

1-arm snatch with right arm

Study

Pushups

Study

Hanging Pikes

Study

Pushups

Study

I made sure to take a break of around 10 minutes to eat every 2-3 hours, and took another break of around 10 minutes to do some training.

At this rate, I studied for about an hour and a half per time, after which I ate or trained.

It’s entirely up to you how you do it though.

I keep a dumbbell here in my dorm room, and to keep my joints fresh(because they hurt like hell from all the sitting on my ass), I perform very high reps(50-100), of db curls, db presses, pushups, etc … this might not be the “hardcore” workout we’re used to, but it gets the job for the time being. You might even become a little more vascular.

Oh, and if you have trouble staying lean(I am concerned about that, any way), try perform weighted burpees&presses with ANY object … I used a concrete umbrella stand to do those for sets of 10 reps, did those about 5-6 times a day, let me tell you, I never was so lean during an exam period.

Good luck.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Actually, I wasn’t aware that you were in class for 12 hours a day. How are you in classes six days a week? What school has weekend courses?

I personally think you should have considered this before you signed up for a course load like this. Most schools won’t even allow this without permission from the Dean and proof of your grades that you can even withstand the load. I had to ask permission just to take more than a usual full load (which I believe was 18 hours).

It makes little sense to take massive course loads and flunk when you could take less and do better.
[/quote]

Yeah…I was living in Canada and transferred to the German University in Cairo, which is located in Egypt where Friday is the only official off-day. However, the normal students are to take another off-day throughout the week, with the exception of me…!!!