Let’s be honest, we all come to college with this grand idea of hitting the gym every day. There’s a free fitness center at our fingertips and maybe just maybe we’ll all get that dream body that we’ve wanted for forever. You start out strong, hitting the gym a few times during the first week of class, but then the stress and assignments start setting in and going to the gym becomes more of a chore than something you enjoy doing.
By the end of the semester, the gym is a complete afterthought, and then when you can’t fit into your favorite pair of jeans, you get frustrated with yourself because if only you’d stuck it out and gone to the gym as much as you had wanted to, you wouldn’t be in the position you’re in now. All of this can be boiled down into one quote: failing to plan is planning to fail.
I fell into this trap as well during my freshman year, and it’s a frustrating place to be. So how can you plan to succeed instead of planning to fail?
Going to the gym is like anything else in life that you find the time for. You have to make it a priority. If going to the gym is not something that you consider a “must-do” for your week, you’re not going to go. Think of the reasons why you’re not making time for the gym. Do you find the gym boring? Are you intimidated by the super muscular guys in the weight room? Do you feel like you don’t have time? Do you not have the energy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, well I’m here to help!
I wouldn’t normally answer the questions that I just asked in this post because I’m planning on doing a post all about how I got into working out, what I do at the gym, and all of that jazzy stuff in late October. But, for the sake of this post, I’ll answer them!
Find the gym boring?
Let me ask you one question. Do you strictly do cardio? Because cardio is BORING. Walking/running/biking in one place for an hour or so is extremely boring and it makes me want to not go to the gym. While cardio is helpful in creating a caloric deficit, which you need to lose weight, it’s only effective up to a certain point. Want to really lose weight and transform your body? Hit the weights. Afraid of getting too bulky? Girls, it’s virtually impossible for us to get super bulky like guys. We have less testosterone which keeps us from building massive amounts of muscle.
Intimidated by the weight room?
Afraid of all of the super muscular men? Don’t even know where to start? I totally understand where you’re coming from. Last year I avoided the weight room like the plague. If you’re afraid people are going to judge you, walk in with confidence, turn up your music, and just do your thing. Chances are no one is actually looking at you or judging you. I believe the gym is a strict no judgement zone. We’re all there to better ourselves. As for not knowing where to start, do you research. There are a ton of resources on the web for free beginner programs and routines. Bicep curls, squats, tricep extensions, lateral raises, abs, and burpees are a great place to start. Don’t focus on the weight, focus on the form, especially if you’re just starting out. Proper form will save you from many injuries down the road.
No time or energy?
Like I said before, you’ll make time for the things you prioritize. Building the gym into your weekly routine gives you no excuse to skip out. As for energy, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, drinking a lot of water (I’m talking a lot of water), and eating lots of protein. I can be super exhausted and not want to hit the gym at all, but once I get there, blast my music, and push out some reps, I’m feeling great and energized.
Let’s get to scheduling!
Alright so I’m using an example schedule that I came up with out of the blue, but this is just an example. So you really have two options when choosing when to hit the gym during a school day: before class or after class. I don’t mind going to class a bit sweaty, and since I do live on campus, it makes life slightly easier.
Set realistic gym expectations & goals
I aim to hit the gym three to four times a week. Any more than that and I’m exhausted, cranky, and I can’t focus on my school work.
Don’t set a goal of 6x a week if you know that’s not feasible. Three days is always a good option and good for most college students who have a ton of other stuff to do. Right now, here’s my gym schedule:
- Tuesday: legs & 30 minutes of cardio
- Thursday: upper body & 20-30 minutes of cardio
- Saturday: upper body OR full body & 30 minutes of cardio
- Sunday (if it happens): full body
Don’t worry if you’re not sure of what to do on specific days. For beginners, it’s going to be important to build up endurance and perfect form. Full body & 20-30 minutes of cardio is perfect!
Determine the times when you’re free
A quality gym session can be done in just an hour. Do you have big gaps between your classes? Do your classes not start until later in the day? Do you have one day where you’re done with classes by noon?
Determine the time you spend watching Netflix when you could be at the gym
I am guilty of this 100%.
On the day’s I go to the gym, I have a four-hour break in between my classes. If I just go straight back to my dorm room, I know I’ll sit down and watch Netflix for those four hours. So, I turn time that I’m unproductive into time that I am productive. Sitting and watching Netflix is not going to get you to achieve your fitness goals.
schedule it into your life
Not going to lie, I have a portion of my Google calendar that’s blocked off for the gym because if I don’t have it scheduled in, I am way less likely to go. Think of it as another class, except it’s more fun than class. If you’re really bad about not going, set notifications on your phone to remind you to go!
See all those breaks in that picture up there? Those are prime gym times! Again, you don’t need some crazy 2 hour gym session. All you need is about an hour and you’ll be good to go! If I’m running low on time, I’ll do my strength workout and then do cardio for however long it takes me to get to a full hour. There are ways for any lifestyle to get to the gym and start achieving those fitness goals!
Let me know if you have any more questions! Do you schedule your workouts into your week? How do you keep up with hitting the gym on a regular basis?