This article was published on HerCampus.com.
Feel like you always say you’re going to go to the gym yet somehow never actually make it there? Well that’s over. Read on!
1. Change into your gym clothes as soon as you wake up
Don’t give yourself a single chance to skip out on the gym! Wake up and get dressed in your workout clothes immediately, like Tufts freshman Alex Horvitz. “I get motivated to go to the gym by waking up and getting dressed in my workout clothes right away,” Alex says. “That way, I feel silly coming home at night in my gym clothes not having worked out.”
2. Find a fitness role model
Everyone has that one friend who takes fitness to the next level. She’s the girl who never skips a zumba class, can bench-press more than the boys, and actually knows what all those crazy machines in the weight room do. Enlist her in your workout efforts! Schedule gym dates with your own personal workout guru, and let her awesome energy and motivation rub off on you.
3. Schedule something that requires training
Having a 5K or another race coming up will hold you accountable for working out. Take it from HC Mount Holyoke writer Elizabeth Schmitt. “I run two races in the summer, one long one and one short one,” Elizabeth says. “That way, I know I have to get in shape and build mileage and strength. It helps because you know you’ll feel so accomplished after you cross the finish line.” Feeling intimidated? Check out our guide on how to train for a 5K.
4. Reward yourself!
Treat yourself to a mani-pedi or a massage if you work out every other day for a month. Or follow HC Appalachian State writer Anne Buie’s lead. “I put a dollar in a jar every time I work out,” Anne says. “I save up for a cute new dress or something to show off the results of my hard work.”
5. Find workout clothes you feel cute in
It never fails – if there’s a cute outfit involved, you’re more likely to fulfill any obligation. Take yourself on a shopping trip and pick out workout clothes that suit your style. Try a top with a unique design, like this one. Or add a tee from the HC Shop! The right clothes can also help you work out more efficiently – try leggings with moisture-wicking fabric to stay cool during a run.
6. Don’t just think about the “right now”
Your drive to work out will seriously increase if you remember how much it will affect your future. Take it from collegiette Carolyn, whose motivation comes from seeing older people who are also working out. “There is not a time when I’m at the gym and I don’t question how they’re not all out of breath,” Carolyn says. “It clicks each time that it’s because they’ve continued going to the gym for so long – their bodies are able to work more efficiently.”
7. Treat it like any other commitment
Don’t think of that gym visit you scheduled as an option – if you’re serious about your health, it’s just as necessary as the other items on your to-do list. “Treat it like class time,” says Alexa Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus JMU. “Every Monday and Wednesday after my last class, I go straight to the gym and work out.”
8. Find the type of workout that works for you
Unless you enjoy what you’re doing at the gym, you’re never going to go consistently. “If you hate yoga, don’t do yoga. If you hate running, don’t run,” Anne says. “Find out what actually works for you.” Or take HC William & Mary writer Alexandra Court’s advice and take your workout beyond the gym doors. “Find out about outdoor activities sponsored by your gym – like a hiking trip or a soccer game,” Alexandra says.
9. Music, music, music!
All the collegiettes we talked to mentioned music as an essential part of getting pumped for the gym. Remember though, like all things, what matters is whether it works for you. Many girls like working out to hip-hop or rap, but don’t feel stuck in that box. “I pull a Rachel Berry and listen to show tunes of parts I want to play and use that as motivation,” says Katie Hickling, a theatre arts major at Appalachian State.
10. Find a cause you want to get fit for
Along the same lines of our last tip, find a race related to a cause you believe in. If you know each mile you run is helping you support something you’re passionate about, you’re much more likely to get off the couch and go. Try the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, the Walk for Hunger, or the Free to Breathe 5k.
11. Find the right way to keep occupied
While some prefer classes or running outdoors, treadmills and ellipticals work for many people, too! Just make sure you personalize that experience. Collegiettes’ ways of taking up time on the treadmill vary – some catch up on their favorite shows, some read magazines, some listen to music, some even use the time to get ahead on reading for class. Find the way that works for you. If you’re bored doing one thing, try another!
12. Have the right mindset about exercising
Don’t think of exercise as a chore – remember that it’s something that benefits you. “When I’m tired, I get in the right mindset by trying to think of exercise as an alternative way of re-energizing, but one that’s better than napping or consuming caffeine because it’s more productive, I won’t be drowsy and the endorphins put me in a good mood,” Kenyon College sophomore Sarah Kahwash says.
13. Don’t forget the social aspect of working out
This is another way to avoid viewing exercise as a chore or obligation! Remember that, as a busy collegiette, it usually makes your life easier to combine activities. So take a tip from Sarah and schedule time with your friends at the gym. “It’s not all work and no play,” Sarah says. “The gym is a social place.”
14. Think about how you’ll feel when you’re done
That’s what Lauren, a collegiette at Appalachian State, does to get through a workout. Don’t focus on dragging yourself to the gym or how you’ll feel when you’re actually on the treadmill. Remember how it’ll be when you leave the gym full of endorphins or when your runner’s high kicks in. It’s all about the results – not about how you get there! The only workout you’ll ever regret is a workout you didn’t do.
15. Remember the serious health benefits you’re gaining
Take it from these experts – when you take the time to exercise, you’re gaining a lot more than a slim waistline, both today and tomorrow.
“One of the most important benefits of exercise for a busy, college-aged female is its ability to improve mood state and manage stress. Regular exercise has been found to create a positive mood and less anxiety about everyday events, such as that 10-page paper that is due the next day.”
-Melanie Austin, Practitioner-in-Residence at Appalachian State University’s Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science
“The most beneficial part of physical activity when you are younger is increasing bone mineral density and muscle mass. Both of these can decrease dramatically as you age and become less active later in life, so increasing these during your teens and twenties gives you a ‘head start’ to deal with the losses that will eventually occur. This will have a huge impact on your quality of life by limiting broken bones during a fall and maintaining mobility more as an elderly person.”
-Dr. Jeffrey M. McBride, Professor of Biomechanics at Appalachian State University
“Being physically active will help decrease perceived stress levels and help with the mental pressures associated with pursuing your degree academically. Not only does the social nature of physical activity affect this benefit, but biologically we know that physical activity releases endorphins that act in the brain to actually enhance mood.”
-Amy Knab, Assistant Professor of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University