Best Workouts at USC and Setting Goals as an Engineer

Natalie Monger Athletics, Computer Science, Natalie, Service, Viterbi Class, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Plus

Happy New Year and new semester! The main goal I set for myself for spring 2018 is to get on a better fitness schedule. Since you all are probably starting your goals for the new year as well, I thought this would be a good chance to share some of my favorite workout places around USC and give tips on how to maintain a fitness schedule as an engineering student.

Let’s start with my favorite ways to workout on campus. They are best if done with a friend!

Core Power Yoga

If you want to buy a membership somewhere, I suggest buying it at Core Power. It’s perfectly placed in the Village next to Trader Joe’s and Target, and the Black Tag Membership gives you unlimited yoga classes every month. Make sure you tell the front desk that you’re a student so you can get the student discount when buying classes. The reason I love Core Power is because of the variety of classes. Even though hot yoga will leave you sweating like an ice cream cone melting in the summer, it’s really good for you, and the heat gives you a better workout than you would get if you were in just a regular, air-conditioned room. My favorite class is Yoga Sculpt, which combines cardio and weights with yoga, and I don’t know of many other places that have cool classes like that.

USC Village Gym or Lyons Center Gym

For a cheaper option, you can go workout at a gym on campus. However, I sometimes find it difficult to workout without a teacher telling me what to do. Don’t fret! Group fitness classes are offered at these gyms as well. The classes are held at convenient times, so you can fit them into your busy class schedule.

Dance Technique Classes at Kaufman

As a Dance Minor, I have taken many technique classes at Kaufman. What many people don’t know is that some of these classes are offered to absolute beginners, like ballroom and tap, for example. So, if you have never danced before and have an extra 2 units in your schedule, consider taking a dance class. You will learn to dance, make friends, and get a nice workout all at the same time. What could be better?

PE Classes On Campus

Similarly, the PE department holds classes that teach you a variety of different sports. I’m taking Beginning Tennis this semester, and I’m already loving it. These classes usually take up 1 unit and meet for about 50 minutes twice a week. It’s nice to have either a PE class or a Kaufman class in your schedule because it gives you a set time to workout each week, and you know that you can’t really miss class because it counts for a grade.


Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite places to workout, let me share some quick tips on how to make your health a priority in college (especially as an engineering student!):

1. Your health and happiness come first.

At one point in high school, I was dancing 60 hours a week. Of course, that can’t happen in college as an engineering major. It feels totally different to not be dancing all the time and having to force myself to work out when I feel like I really should be studying. When I took some tough computer science classes, it sometimes was difficult to make my fitness schedule a priority. However, as the semesters went on, I realized that making time to workout made my time studying more productive and enjoyable, especially since I had a yoga class or a quick jog to look forward to. When it comes down to it, will one extra hour of studying really make a difference?
Or can you use that time to boost some endorphins and maybe even get a better grade than you would have gotten if you sacrificed your sleep and workouts for more studying? This semester, I am making my fitness a priority, and I can’t wait to share some reflections with you after I experiment on my own.

2. Plan workouts because they makes you feel good and positively affect the other areas in your life.

If you’re dreading working out, chances are you may not have the most productive workout and you might have a bad attitude about it, increasing your overall stress. Instead, look at your schedule for the week and find open spaces where you can schedule a workout class. This way, you know it’s coming up, and you can prepare for it just like you would prepare yourself to take a math quiz, so it’s much harder to make excuses like “I’m too busy” as the time gets closer. When you plan workouts, remember that you’re doing it as stress relief or to do something you love to do so that it doesn’t seem like a chore.

3. Work out with friends.

Going on a run is much easier if you do it with a friend. If you don’t have friends that are interested in working out with you, just go to the gym or to the yoga studio, and you’ll meet friends almost instantly–trust me. If you put yourself out there and find some workout buddies, you’ll be more motivated.


Those are all the tips I have today, but hopefully I’ll have some more after this semester. Just remember there is no perfect way to incorporate fitness into your busy schedule, and I’m still figuring it out myself, so just be patient. You can always reach out to me or some other Viterbi students (I know Rhea plays ultimate frisbee, Bethany runs marathons, Michael goes hiking, etc.) if you have any questions or want advice.

Cheers to the engineers who ____! (fill in the blank with an active verb like run, dance, hike, etc.)

About the Author

Natalie is a junior studying Computer Science/Business and Dance. Click the photo above to find out more.

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