By: Grace Bruening – Health Columnist
Why was it so much easier to stay fit in high school? We didn’t do anything differently, right? But if you think about it, in high school we ate breakfast before school, lunch during school, went straight to extracurricular activities and ate a home-cooked meal by mom or dad along with a sweet treat before bed.
You were held accountable to show up to your scheduled soccer, volleyball or track practices where you would burn hundreds of calories per day. When you get to college and suddenly the gym is so far away and classes are tiring you out, the pounds just seem to sneak up on you.
If you don’t have the motivation to go to the gym every day, you are not alone. Do you know how many days I wake up thinking how much easier it would be to skip the gym and do just about anything else? But when I think about the feeling I have when I’m finished with a workout or remember I am that much closer to attaining my goals, it gets me out of bed and moving.
So you’ve gotten that far. You put on your tennis shoes and you walk into the gym. Now what? When I began my fitness journey, I finally had the motivation to hit the gym everyday, but I had no idea what I was doing. Maybe a half hour of running, some ab workouts and maybe throw in a few arm workouts here and there. Other than that, I had no variety. I was what some would call a “cardio bunny.” I found myself very tired with very consistent results, but I didn’t want consistent results. I wanted to see myself get better and stronger.
After following many fitness social media accounts and getting inspired by the strong women portrayed, I decided to venture over to the weights. I researched different weight circuits and routines to do on the treadmill and finally saw my muscles growing in ways I never thought they would. I wasn’t “bulking up,” but I was burning fat more easily and finding myself with more energy throughout the day.
Trust me when I say that when you go to the gym, you need a plan. I put together a list of ideas to keep in mind while hitting the gym whether you are still in college, or out in the real world.
- Make a plan – Don’t just show up to the gym and expect different machines to jump out at you telling you to use them. There are great fitness plans out there that fit your fitness needs; Google does wonders.
- Make it a part of your daily routine – Just like class, work or a meeting, you are expected to show up on time, and give your best performance. Treat your workout as a daily routine that you pencil into your schedule and fit your plans around it. I’ve missed many happy hours to hit the gym and I don’t ever regret a second of it.
- Don’t be scared of the weights – I’m not a fan of the ratio of guys to girls in the weight room. Ladies, let’s change this. I completely understand that girls are intimidated by the weight room, but tell me how many times you’ve seen a girl pumping iron and thought “wow, you go girlfriend.” Don’t be afraid of looking out of place; everyone will give you props and if someone is judging you, they’re the insecure ones.
- Grab a partner…or don’t – It’s whatever works for you. Personally, I like doing my own workout and not worrying about the speed of someone else’s compared to mine. However, some people like that workout buddy to motivate them. Whether you have a partner or not, don’t compare yourself to them. Everyone’s bodies are different and work at different paces.
- Take advantage of the free fitness classes – These are great for when your motivation is at an all- time low. Sometimes it takes someone screaming at me to break a sweat and I am completely OK with that.
- Listen to your body – I have always had a hard time with this one. I’ve always been one to push my limits and I’ve ended up on bed rest for months because of it. If you need to take a day or even a week off, do it. It’ll be worth it for better workouts in the future.
With these tips, you’ll be sure to be ahead of the game at the RecPlex. Don’t stress too much about working out every single day of your college career. If you miss a day or even a week due to your hectic schedule or social life, it’s OK! We are all human and deserve to love our bodies.