Here’s How to Actually Get to the Gym This Semester

Hey y’all! It’s mid-January and that’s around the time when people start falling off track for their New Year’s resolutions (or goals as I like to call them), or people just haven’t even started working on them yet. If one of your goals is to get fit this year and you fit either situation above, I’ve got you covered! Finding a fitness routine is a struggle for most people because they feel like the “don’t have the time.” Let me tell you right here and now. You DO have the time. It’s just a matter of you pulling through with your goals.

If this is your first time really wanting to hit the gym, it can be so intimidating! You’re surrounded by all these tough-looking guys who walk around like they own the place and there’s hardly a girl to be found in the weight section. So, to fit in, you just head to the cardio section and start running on the treadmill or walk/run/float on the elliptical. What do you even call that? Because technically you’re not walking or running, you’re just kind of suspended there moving your legs. Anyways, you’re just there dying of boredom doing cardio so you just decide that maybe working out and getting fit just isn’t for you. And that right there is the end of your fitness journey.

Sound familiar?

Or maybe you’ve attended your first week of classes, and you can’t find any time during your day to hit the gym. The gym is just too far away. It’s not convenient for me to go. I’m in class all day. Excuses, excuses, excuses. It’s the age-old saying that if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it regardless of how busy you may be.

There are so many excuses and reasons why people don’t follow through with their fitness goals they set every year, but this year, it’s not going to be you! You’re going to achieve those fitness goals this year and be the best version of yourself.

Go in with a plan

Most things in life don’t end well if you don’t have a plan. Every single day that I go to the gym, I have my workouts written down. They’re either in a note on my phone, written on an index card, or maybe it’s a screenshot of someone’s workout from Instagram or Youtube that I’m wanting to try out.

If you’re a beginner and this is the first time you’re getting into the gym, I’d suggest doing full-body workouts 3x a week and fitting in a few days of 30-minute cardio sessions twice a week. Lifting is going to help tone your muscles and burn a little fat, but that extra cardio is really going to help slim you down and let those muscles shine.

Here’s an example of a full-body workout I’d suggest:
– Squats (bodyweight or weighted)
– Reverse Lunges
– Incline Bench Press
– Lateral and Front Raises
– Lat Pulldowns
– Plank
– Abs if you want (but who likes working abs?)

In that full-body workout, I’ve included a few exercises for each part of the body. Usually you do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each. Pinterest has some great circuit-style workouts to get your heart rate up and your muscles burning.

If you’re looking for more bodyweight exercises, some of my favorite include:
– Pushups
– Burpees (highly effective!!!)
– Tricep Dips
– Squats
– Lunges
– Mountain Climbers
– Wall sits
– Planks

Develop a routine

Guess what? You do have time for the gym. I wrote a whole post on finding time for the gym, so go look at that post, figure out some times, and schedule the gym into your schedule.

Developing a routine is going to make you more likely to stay on top of things instead of just being like “oh I’ll get to the gym whenever” because whenever turns into later and later turns into never. And never turns into never accomplishing your goals.

Think I’m joking about developing a routine? I’m not. And here’s mine:
Monday: Chest & Triceps
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Back & Biceps
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Legs
Saturday: Shoulders
Sunday: Rest or maybe full body if I feel up to it

I put this schedule in my planner which makes me feel obligated to accomplish it.

Still think you don’t have time? Well do I have the solution for you. Read it here, and
then come back to this post once you’ve figured out what’s stopping you from getting to the gym.

Find some inspiration

Now don’t get me wrong, we all lose motivation every once in a while. But, lack of motivation is only temporary. The changes you make in the gym are for forever. Whether your stuck because you don’t have a workout to do or you’re just having one of those days where your down on yourself, that’s okay! I always have a few go-tos when I’m feeling that way.

New Clothes

First things first, some new workout clothes (whether that be leggings, a sports bra, shoes, socks, whatever) always, always, always motivates to hit the gym. I know as college students we don’t typically have $100+ to blow on new leggings or a sports bra, so here’s a few budget alternatives for you!

Old Navy and Marshall’s are my two favorite stores to shop for athletic wear. Marshall’s is going to have great legging options for around $17-20 a pair, which is an amazing deal! Reebok, RBX, and Head are some of my favorite brands I can find at Marshall’s. Throw all your stuff in your perfectly crafted gym bag, and you’re set!

Browse Instagram & YouTube

Sure, seeing super fit people on your Insta feed isn’t what you want to see when you’re feeling down about yourself, but the thing is those people were once where you are. They weren’t fit, they might not have led a healthy lifestyle, and they didn’t want to go to the gym.

But you know what got them to where they are today with their abs, protein shakes, and toned arms? A whole lot of dedication and hard work.

Just think, if you put in the time and effort, you, too, can look like that! Now if that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is. Yeah it’s probably going to be hard, some days are going to be tough, and you’ll want to give up plenty of times. But, sticking with it and pushing through those hard times is when you’re going to see results.

One of my favorite YouTubers and Instagrammers is a lovely woman name Whitney Simmons. She’s been an inspiration to me, and I hope she is to you as well. Her videos are super helpful, especially when you’re looking for a good workout!

Set Goals

Another thing I’m a huge advocate for is setting goals. If you’re just aimlessly in the gym with no real end goal in mind, you’re not going to achieve much. These goals don’t have to be extensive or even long-term. They can be as short as “Today I’m going to do four sets of 12 on shoulder presses instead of three sets of 12.”

I always like to hear what other people’s fitness goals are, so I’ll share mine with you to give you some inspiration!
– be able to see my abs. Abs are not the definition of being fit, but for me, I’ve never been able to see them, so that’s a little something that I want to see just once in my life.
– Progress to bar squats
– Curl 20 lbs
– Incorporate abs 3x a week
– Develop more defined back muscles
– Grow a shoulder boulder

Just go

Odds are you’re going to feel a million times better once you’re there and sweating. I’ve never once left the gym feeling worse than I did when I came. So all in all, just go.

Alright, I hope y’all enjoyed my tips and tricks to actually get to the gym this semester. In case you can’t tell from this post, the gym is my life and my passion, and I want to share that with you! If you want to see workouts, meal prep, what I eat, etc. leave a comment below and let me know! I’m working on trying to incorporate more fitness into the blog this year since it takes up most of my life.

How are you going to start incorporating fitness into your life this year?

~abigail gray

  • I LOVED reading this. I can’t believe you’ve never done bar squat! They used to be my favorite thing ever, and I actually did them last night and are why I currently have trouble getting up and down…. Also, I never thought about what to call sing the elliptical. I like floating though! Lol

    • I love doing dumbbell squats, but I’m really trying to get up the confidence to do bar squats. It’s also easier for me because I can do all my free weights stuff in one area instead of going all the way to the other side of the gym to do bar squats. LOL I’m even lazy in the gym, haha

  • This post is exactly what I needed! I just started hitting the gym almost every day and I feel awesome, I’m hoping I can keep up with it this semester! 🙂
    paige // eyeliner wings & pretty things

    • Well I hope you do! Can’t wait to hear back from you about your fitness goals!