The "Fitness Routine" to Practice Now Before You Apply to/Start Med School

By Francine Fluetsch on June 7, 2017

This article is brought to you by Kaplan, the leader in test prep for over 90 standardized tests, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT.

If you are about to apply to med school or are in your last summer before starting med school, it’s time to start thinking like a med student, especially when it comes to time management.

TV shows and movies always dramatize med students sleeping at work and never having time for their friends because they are always at work, and since your reality will soon consist of not having a lot of time on your hands, it might be a good idea to start getting into the routine of a med student before classes start and the stress fully hits you.

Here are some tips that you can implement into your routine this summer to get into the mindset and routine of your soon to be med student life.

Meal prep

Even if you are about to start the application process, and med school is feeling far away, it is never too early to start planning for your med life. Since you will be on call, working, taking classes, and getting in your hours, eating will fall on the back burner, especially if you have two seconds to leave your house and choose to run out without food instead of being late.

To cope with your busy schedule, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of meal prepping now, so it’s already a big part of your routine when you start school. How exactly do you get into meal prepping?

There are tons of mediums for you to choose from when figuring out how you want to meal prep, and what foods will be easy and healthy to make and eat all week. You can check out food YouTube channels that will take you through step by step, look on Pinterest for some great ideas, check out fitness books or magazines, and look into meal prepping blogs. With so much content out there, you are bound to find some things that you will like!

To cut down on time, most meal preppers pick an off-day and prep everything for the week. While this will take a few hours out of your off day, it will save you so much time when you are on the go and will ensure that you are fueling your body to keep yourself going through those long shifts.

Plus, if you start now before you are in med school, you will already have a few recipes down by heart, making the prep time cut in half when you are busting it out before your start of the week at work.

Exercise routine

Being as busy as you will be with med school, it may seem impossible to fit a workout in, so start planning ahead with exercises that you can do in short bursts or while you are on the go. First, look into some fitness routines that are 20 minutes or less, for when you want a workout fix but don’t have enough time to go to the gym. I love kickboxing and ballet barre for these quick bursts that you will feel in the morning.

You can also scope out the area near and around your med school, and plan your walk to work or on your breaks accordingly. Maybe there are stairs nearby that you can jog, or a nice path that you can walk or bike instead of drive when heading to class. When you don’t have a lot of time, it really is all about improvising.

You can also invest in a gym membership to a place like 24 Hour Fitness, since they will be open whenever you have time to fit in a quick workout. They even have classes beginning as early as 5:00 a.m., so you might be able to squeeze in a half hour full body workout after/before a long shift.

Schedule in the essentials

Now is the time to look at your calendar and plan out the essentials that you still need in your life, like getting enough sleep, having some downtime (even if it’s just an hour), and also making time for social endeavors. You won’t be able to see your friends and family as much as you currently do, but with the right amount of planning, you’ll still be able to squeeze in coffee dates or a trip to the movies.

If possible, you also want to enjoy your free time as much as you can now, and make a pact with yourself to put quality time and sleep in your hectic schedule as much as you can. You can only keep with a go-go-go schedule for so long before you eventually burn out, so if you plan ahead, you might be able to help prevent that from happening.

These are just a few ways to get into the “fitness routine” of being a med student before you even are one officially! Planning is your best friend, and with a bit of work, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and will still be able to do many of the things you enjoy. Good luck!

Learn more about Kaplan’s test prep options and start building the confidence you need for Test Day.

Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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