MADISON (WKOW) -- College isn't always known for improving your personal fitness, we've all heard of the infamous freshman 15. Well, a group of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is helping to change that. They recently competed in a national fitness competition and aren't slowing down. They're dedicated, disciplined and you could say daring too.
For them, fitness is a way of life.
"If I had to list three things I do everyday, I eat and sleep, I go to school, do all my grad school things and I work out, probably every day," Alexandra Schroeder said.
They push their bodies to the max, often challenging each other to do one more rep, sprint just a little faster.
"How I equate it, is a lot of people play video games in their free time that's what they do to have fun and I work out to have fun," Kimberly Kirt explained.
It's that kind of attitude that carried the group all the way to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California. There, four students from UW and four from UW-Whitewater conquered unique and varied events in the Collegiate Fitness National Championships. There was a BMX bike race, beach volleyball and a Navy Seal obstacle course to name a few. The teams event competed in tug-of-war.
"It was really challenging, it had to have been like a 200-300 yards, it was like a constant sprint the entire time," Hedi Moussavi described.
The UW team says it was a thrilling competition, but they're not pushing themselves for a spot on a podium. They say the hard work, the sweat and the burning muscles they fight are all about health and becoming the best version of themselves.
Schroeder says variety in the key to making dramatic changes in your body. She does a mix of cardio and strength moves. A favorite exercise is something called Tabata, high intensity interval training that calls for pushing yourself at maximum intensity, then allowing short periods of rest. The idea is not to pace yourself, but to work out as hard as you can until your muscles give out. Schroeder says it has been very effective for her.
The group says the key to getting motivated is to find something you enjoy. The UW students do everything from Zumba to sprint workouts, so fitness never gets too routine.