Between classes, extracurricular activities, jobs, church, and other commitments, it’s hard to find time to work out. Unfortunately, in the midst of all these activities, working out is often one of the first things that gets cut out of our schedule when we are too busy. If we’re lucky, we get to work out every once in a while. Working out once in a while is definitely better than not working out at all, but if you really want to receive the benefits of working out, you must make it a habit. Here are some tips on how to make working out part of your lifestyle.
Be consistent when working out.
The best way to form a habit is to be consistent. Working out on a certain day of the week and at a certain time makes it easier to keep up the habit. Take a look at your schedule and pick a day of the week (or multiple days of the week) and time that you can commit to working out every week. Make sure to write it down in your planner and mark yourself as “busy” during those hours.
Don’t expect to be the best person in the gym. Start small, and then work your way up to harder exercises. You should push yourself slightly past your comfort zone, because that’s how you’ll get stronger, but don’t push yourself too hard. This is important for your safety because pushing your body WAY PAST its limit can do more harm than good. Getting a personal trainer, at least for the first session, can help you determine how hard to push yourself within a safe zone.
Plan for it.
If you know you have to work out later on in the day, make sure you’ve taken care of anything else that needs to be taken care of. For example, make sure you’ve done your homework, prepared dinner, packed your gym bag, and haven’t eaten anything in the past an hour and a half (your stomach will get upset if you exercise when it’s full). When you know you’ve done everything, going to the gym is a little less of a chore.
Taking time out of your day to work out while you could be doing homework or watching Netflix is hard. I’ve heard some people say that they feel great when they work out. Honestly, when I work out, I feel like I’m going to die (this is coming from an ex gymnast who used to work out very often in middle and high school). There are going to be things that are much more appealing than going to the gym. As lovely as these other things may seem, you need to be disciplined; have the strength to resist the temporary satisfaction of that temptation. If you resist the temporary satisfaction, you will receive a reward.
Have someone keep you accountable.
I know you’ve probably heard this 100 times, but having a workout buddy is so helpful! You two (or more than two!) can encourage and motivate each other. Plus, it’s much harder to cancel a trip to the gym if you know that someone else is coming (cue the, “I don’t want to go but I will go because I don’t want to let her down.”)
Measure your progress.
Measuring your progress is an important part of any goal. One of my favorite tools I use to measure my fitness goals is my Fitbit Charge HR. The Charge HR measures your heart rate, active minutes, calorie intake, stairs climbed, and sleep. With the app, you can track your water intake and calorie intake. You have to manually enter it, and I admit I’ve been slacking on this lately, but if you do faithfully enter in your food and water, the app becomes super useful.
My favorite thing about the app is that it plots a very nice bar graph of your calories in vs. out. It’s so encouraging to see that I’ve burned slightly more calories than I’ve eaten.
Do what works for you.
Different people have different needs. Your workout buddy may need to work on cardio while you need to work on strength. That’s okay! Don’t feel bad about doing more or less than anyone else.
Remember, these are just general tips. If you have any concerns about your health, your doctor is always the best person to go to.
Although we college students live a busy life, it is definitely possible to make exercise a priority.
How do you make time to exercise?