Fitness & Exercise Physical Health

Stay Motivated, Stay Fit

First things first: you’re not alone. Failed New Years’ resolutions, failed diets, failed self-promises to tone down… It’s so easy to tell yourself, “It’s only an hour out of my day. I’m only going to be on Tumblr, Facebook, or YouTube anyway. I might as well go work out.” And yet it’s another thing to actually go out and do it.

It’s hard. I know because I’ve been there and done that.

I never used to have this problem. As a four-year varsity tennis player in high school, finding the time and motivation to stay fit was easy. I loved the sport, school pride was at stake, and the whole team was my second family. But here, in college, it’s different. With weeder classes, club leadership, and work-study jobs, “free” time suddenly got cut short. Maintaining my own physical health and image served as less of an incentive than obligatory team practices. And… let’s be honest here. None of my new friends in college wanted to work out with me.

You can see why staying in my room and cocooning in my warm, fuzzy blankets seemed more appealing than… being all sweaty and gross at the gym by my sad lonely self.

Over time, I realized that’s not quite the right mindset to have. I had to huff and puff and groan to get to my North Side classes, and I felt a little more… round than I should. So how exactly does anyone go about remedying that?

Motivation and goal-setting are the easy answers. But what’s more important is discipline: the discipline to maintain the motivation to achieve those goals. Here are some suggestions:

  • If you’re someone like me, who lives her life by iCal, adding exercise to your daily calendar is the most logical step. Physical calendars or applications such as CalenMob, iCal, or Google Calendar all work. Class and work schedules remain relatively consistent each semester, so you should schedule in gym sessions around those times. I would recommend at least one hour of intense activity a day, at least 4 days a week.
  • Try to go at the same time every day so that it becomes a habit and solidly incorporated into daily life. Personally, I prefer 9 am as a morning refresher, or 9 pm as a break in my otherwise monotonous life when I’m tired of sitting on my posterior in class all day.
  • Decide what you want to accomplish each session. Generally this is in terms of calories burned, time, or distance.
  • Consider exercise as just another mandatory event that you must attend. It’s tempting to skip out when you’re feeling particularly sleepy, or when your friends invite you to a boba run, but you must resist. That’s the whole point of putting it on your calendar. For that block of time, you’re busy, you’re booked, and your friends can wait… unless they want to join you. The more the merrier!
  • Personalize and enjoy! You don’t have to stick to treadmills, ellipticals, and weights at the gym. Try out some of the intramural teams, organizations such as Tennis @ Cal, or some of the fun programs offered at the RSF, such as cardio kickboxing and yoga.

All in all, staying fit doesn’t have to be hard. As long as you stick with it and genuinely enjoy your time, you’ll be sure to see the results!

Article by Sherry Jiaa

Feature Image Source: Time