Ah, 2017. The start of a new year and, for many of us, a new semester. Naturally, this period of beginnings comes with a myriad of resolutions—like declarations of intent to become healthier. It’s easy to start off strong and get yourself to the gym in the first few weeks of the semester. There’s little to no work and you’re still glowing from the realization of how fortunate you are to attend this acclaimed institution of higher education. Yet, as the midterm dates approach and you find yourself neck-deep in essays and problem sets, your fitness goals can quickly, and very easily, become neglected.
A tank that helps you find your gym beat will keep you motivated to hit the weight room:
Think you can actually stick to your work out plan this year?
Wear your workout clothes to class
Now, I know this one’s not for everyone. Personally, I’m my most comfortable in class wearing leggings, sneakers and a sweatshirt, but not everyone feels that way. Some girls need to wear a full face of makeup, heels and a matching purse to feel prepared to work. I get that. If you’re not one of those people, and struggle to find motivation to get to the gym, wear your workout clothes to class. That way, you don’t have an excuse. You’re already dressed for it, so just walk yourself over to the gym. Nobody likes the feeling of taking off fitness apparel at the end of the day knowing that you never actually broke a sweat in it.
Find the right exercise for you
Some people HATE running. Maybe they’re scarred by the timed mile they were forced to do in middle school gym class or maybe it kills their knees. Whatever the reason, if you despise running, then don’t do it.
So many people resolve to stick to workout plans that they dislike, expecting to be purely motivated by the desirable end goal. But there’s one huge problem with that strategy. You’ll be miserable! You may feel ready for your bikini by June, but you’ll hate what you’re doing every single day. “In my opinion, working out doesn’t just develop physical strength, it also makes you feel strong, powerful and capable and those are important feelings to have in a busy college environment,” said Erica Lindsey, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.
Fitness is something you want to maintain throughout your entire life—not a fad. If you want to be good to your body and keep it healthy, you need to find the exercises that you genuinely enjoy. If that’s a spin class, find the schedule at your campus recreation center. Do you like basketball? Start a pick-up game and mess around in the gym.
Think about it as a stress-reliever
We all know how stressful classwork becomes as the semester moves forward, with projects, midterms, papers and eventually finals. After studying for hours, the last thing you want to do is challenge yourself any more—especially in the physical sense. At this point, you’re most likely to sprawl out on your bed and turn on Netflix because you deserve to treat yourself after a day like that.
The problem here is that you’re thinking about your workout as another assignment you have to get done. Except, there’s no teacher to check this assignment, so when you get stressed, it’s naturally the first task to get bumped off the to-do list.
Try to consider it your break from studying. “Spending long hours studying can be really physically taxing, and taking some time to move, whether it’s a boot camp workout that leaves you dripping sweat or a few yoga asanas to get your blood circulating, helps your mind and body stay fresh,” Lindsey said. If you want to do some cardio, leave your desk, exert some of that stifled energy and sweat some of that stress away while you jam out to some potentially embarrassing music on an elliptical.
Do it with a friend
If you struggle to prioritize your daily exercise, making it a date with a friend might help. That way, you can catch up while going for a jog, or joke around while cranking out a session of strength training.
If you’re not big on socializing while you sweat, sometimes just making the date with another person to go to workout at the same time will ensure that you both actually make it to the gym. Hold each other accountable. It might even push you to work a little bit harder. “Plus, if you get in the routine of going to the gym regularly, you’re likely to meet some people there who have similar interests and goals and might end up being great friends,” Lindsey said.
Set a goal
Maybe you’re very goal-oriented. You need that light at the end of the tunnel to keep you working hard. So give yourself a target. “Taking a group fitness class regularly allows you to get used to the format, and once your body is used to the movements, you can challenge yourself to use heavier weights or sink further into a pose. Growing strong enough to rise to that challenge is an awesome feeling,” Lindsey said. If you enjoy running, sign up for a half-marathon and spend the following weeks training for it. If you’re into weight lifting, make it a goal to bench 25 lbs. plates on each side. Once you reach it, set a heavier goal. The options are endless, and it can be fun to push yourself.