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Jacob, Life After College

Monday, 22nd February 2021

“Here is an article from one of our former Level 3 Sport students, Jacob, on his college experience, life after he graduated and how he is coping with Covid-19 lockdowns by using some of the things he studied here with us. He makes some excellent points, some of them far better than I would be able to.

I have tried to leave this untouched, so you can get a point of view from one of graduates, regardless of how irreverent he is at times (especially about me). He was a pleasure to teach and I’m delighted to say he has moved on to university and is doing great things there too.

Enjoy.”

– Ben, Sport & Public Services Lecturer

Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I liked college. So much so I decided to do it twice!

After only getting 2 A Levels I didn’t quite have the grades to get into university so after a beautiful pre-COVID Summer of thought, festivals, and lads holidays I decided to apply to Brooklands. During my interview I met with peculiar fella called Ben (nice chap), he teaches and writes this blog on the internet somewhere… Credit to him, he helped me massively develop my interest in Sports Science and mentored me through the year so here I am, a year and a BTEC on, studying Strength and Conditioning at University. I loved college, it was fun, social and the huge amount of support from the college was massively appreciated not to mention the banging hash browns. 

Starting uni during COVID was a bit difficult, no freshers’ events and everyone refusing to unmute on zoom meant life after college was off to a rocky and unsocial start. I was on campus 1 day a week which is where I made some friends. I remember really struggling to get everyone to join in with conversation, I was cracking jokes which were met with some very awkward silences in the first couple weeks. It got better though, I kept at it and even got a few laughs (not many), made a couple of really good friends and it was all up from there.

Above all I love my course and surprisingly enough actually enjoy doing the work and even some of the extra reading. For anyone thinking about uni (and I couldn’t recommend it enough) I think picking the right course is so essential because everyone can enjoy the social side but making the most of the education is where it matters. I had a bit of confusion applying to uni and having a good mentor was a very big help so be nice to your teachers kids!

COVID Hobbies
Another lockdown, another lockdown story.

My first lockdown was productive, maybe because it seemed like a novelty, having time off college and getting furloughed with no real understanding of what was going on. I was excited about finding new ways to work-out in the sun, reading, sunbathing and spending time with my family. 

As the lockdowns continued, rules were lifted and then put back in, it got harder to stay motivated, I lost my job, gained a massive beer belly and was basically just binging Breaking Bad (bit late to the trend, I know). I didn’t have a big epiphany to turn my life round, but I made small changes, one day at a time to get back on track to a healthier body and mind, these are some things I kept in mind that might help:

  1. Wake up, get up – my morning routine consisted of waking up at 8:00am and getting out of bed straight away (even before scrolling Instagram!), making breakfast and showering, then I was ready to start my day. I think having a somewhat productive morning routine is essential in motivating you for the day and maximising the time you have.
  2. Something is better than nothing – whether it’s exercise, coursework, or work work, you’ll feel better even if you just get a little done and it doesn’t take much motivation.
  3. Get out – in times of rules and regulations on leaving the house (weird) get out as much as possible to keep you sane and get your steps ups.
  4. Try new things – I know at the moment it’s hard to try new things. I’ve been desperate to start kickboxing but I’m still awaiting BoJo’s approval, but with all this free time try as many new things as you can because life starts at the end of your comfort zone and all that…
  5. Reflect – not to sound too preachy or spiritual but reflect on your day, what you accomplished (even the little victories), what made you feel good, how did you treat others and how can you make tomorrow better.

Exercise
Again, not to sound too preachy, exercise is good for the mind, body, and soul. It releases endorphins for a euphoric type feeling, reduces stress, wards off anxiety and feelings of depression. Exercise also helps reduce risk of heart disease, increases energy levels, improves bone density, and strengthens muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It’s tough to see and feel the benefits of physical activity straight away and as a result it’s hard to stay motivated or believe anything I’ve just listed, but just stay at it and take it one day/workout at a time. Remember – something is better than nothing.

Exercise is difficult in lockdown, for example I used to play rugby and go to the gym, both seeming somewhat impossible right now. At the moment I run for endurance and workout to try to maintain some sort of muscle mass (on a makeshift bench made of bricks and paint cans that might be the death of me one day). This definitely isn’t the type of training I prefer but my point is…

If you’re looking to exercise with minimal equipment here’s a few recommendations:

1. Running – download the Nike running club app – this app has a series of running tutorials that talk you through your run. They’ve got a large variety of runs: first runs (for beginners), speed/fartlek runs (brilliant for sportsmen and women waiting to get back on the pitch or court), long runs (for endurance-based athletes), recovery runs, pregnancy trimester runs (fairly self-explanatory), mindful runs (to help you relax) and the list goes on, as well as unguided runs (if you want to freestyle). It also keeps your stats and a running diary for motivation and tracking progress (or even just to flex on social media).

2. Plyometrics – plyometrics are a fun way of increasing power output to jump higher, run faster and generally increase speed of movement with minimal equipment. Some plyometric exercises:

  • Box jumps 
  • Lateral bounds
  • Depth jump
  • Split squat jump/box jump
  • Single leg hop
  • Pogoes
  • Medicine ball throws

You should only do 3-5 repetitions of these exercises with intent to move quickly, with around a minute rest in order to ensure you’re utilising type II (fast twitch fibres) muscle fibres. 

3. Calisthenics – although it sounds fancy calisthenics are the most basic form of exercise that mostly just require body weight for example push-ups, squats, pull-ups, triceps dips and more advanced moves such as handstand press-ups and human flag variations. 

4. Circuit training – circuit training is an easy way of combining some of the previously mentioned exercises together along with some basic resistance training. Don’t worry about having weights and barbells etc. you can use heavy bags filled with cans, get creative! One of the main benefits of circuits is that they’re easy to make up and no two have to be the same. Here’s a basic template for a muscular endurance type circuit:

  1. Upper body 
  2. Lower body 
  3. Core 
  4. Full body 
  5. Upper body 
  6. Lower body 
  7. Core 
  8. Full body 

60 seconds of per exercise, 10 seconds rest between exercises, 3 minutes between sets, 3-5 sets

And a few exercises you could use…

Upper Body

Lower Body

Core

Full Body

Press ups
(incline, decline, flat)

Squats
(Overhead, Goblet, Back, Front)

Sit-ups

Bear crawls

Hindu push ups

Split squats

Crunches 

Farmer walks 

Triceps dips

Bulgarian split squat

Plank 

Skipping

Bicep curls

Lunges
(walking, overhead, weighted, jumping)

V-ups 

Plank walkouts

Shoulder press

Tuck jumps

Russian twists

Burpees 

Pulls ups

Glute bridges 

Toe touches

Sprints 

Bent over rows

Box jumps 

Heel touches

Ball slams 

So, there you go, just a few things for me that might be a reassurance or useful information. You might hear from me again depending on how this goes down with the blog’s top dog, good luck and stay healthy. 


– Article by Jacob, former Sport student

sport@brooklands.ac.uk

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