How To Start A Fitness Routine In College That Will Stick
Categories: Blog, For Students, For College Students
As college students, we have a lot going on. Between all of our academic obligations, it can be hard to find time to focus on physical health and wellness. Although it can be difficult, adding exercise into your routine is worth it! Not only can it help relieve stress, but it’s one of the best habits you can build in college to improve your overall health in the long run. Here are some tips to help you start a fitness routine in college that will stick.
Tip #1: Make A Schedule
In college, there are a lot of academic and often extracurricular responsibilities to keep track of. The first step to creating a fitness schedule that will stick is organizing all of your activities. Make a calendar with your classes, study groups, homework time, and even social time! Building a calendar will clearly show any free time in your schedule for extra activities like working out.
Tip #2: Block Out The Right Time
Finding the right time to work out will depend on your other obligations and personal preferences. If you block out your fitness time after a class that is a 40-minute walk away from your campus gym, at a time of day when you’re typically hungry and tired, it becomes easier to bail. Here are three important things to consider:
- How convenient is the time?
- Is the free gap in your schedule big enough?
- When are you most energized?
Do your best to schedule fitness time when it’s convenient, and if there’s a big enough gap in your schedule that will allow you to get the most out of your workout. Pick a time when you have the most energy, or at least avoid the times of day when you need a snack and a nap the most. Sometimes this means adjusting your schedule slightly. You may end up having to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you’re used to, or you may have to cut back your after-dinner Netflix time. However, these considerations will not only set you up for the best workout possible but will also help you turn your fitness routine into an ongoing and sustainable habit.
Pro Tip: Once you find the right times for activity, keep it consistent every week. It takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit, so stay consistent.
Tip #3: Find Out What You Like & Don’t Like
If you’re starting to work out for the first time, it’s important to make it fun! If you find yourself dreading a specific workout, don’t be afraid to ditch it for something new instead. This goes for your exercise location too. Do you prefer working out in your dorm, the gym, the track, or the field?
Here are some exercise types and locations to consider:
- Gym weight-lifting
- At-home workouts with YouTube
- Pilates classes (in-person or home with videos)
- Cardio (gym machines or outdoor: running, swimming laps, etc.)
- Gym classes
Figure out what exercises and which location makes you feel energized and excited. Once working out becomes a habit, you can incorporate new or more difficult exercises back into your routine.
Tip #4: Start Small
It’s important to ease your way into a more active lifestyle to prevent burning out. For example:
- Schedule your workout to last between 30 to 60 minutes.
- Give yourself some time to rest between exercises.
- Plan three workout days a week.
If you notice you no longer feel challenged by your routine, you can slowly increase your workout length, difficulty, and days.
Tip #5: Plan Ahead
As a student, it may be unavoidable to end up with a narrow workout window. Planning ahead will be your key to success. Are you hitting the gym straight from class or running directly to class right after? Make sure you take the time in the morning to plan and pack everything you’ll need, whether that’s your gym shoes, a change of clothes, a small snack, your water bottle, or your laptop.
Staying organized is half the battle for maintaining your fitness routine in college.
Tip #6: Make A Motivating Playlist
Music does wonders to improve a workout. Not only is it motivating, but it’s scientifically proven to make the body want to move! Create a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs to listen to while you work out. It will fire up your workout and save you time scrolling through Spotify at the gym. If you ever find yourself lacking the motivation to get to the gym one day, throw on your playlist while you get ready as a way to trick your brain into wanting to get up and move.
Tip #7: Fuel Your Body
An important part of not burning out after starting a new fitness routine is to fuel your body properly. As you increase your activity levels, it’s important to eat right, so your body gets sufficient nutrition to recover and grow stronger after each exercise. For me, this means adding healthy snacks between meals. After a workout, I enjoy a bowl of yogurt, granola, and berries. A power bar or some mixed nuts are a great option when on the go. Whatever works for you, make sure you eat a well-balanced diet to prevent losing steam in your fitness routine.
Starting a workout routine that will stick takes planning and dedication. Hopefully, these steps will help set you up for success, and before you know it, your fitness routine will have become second nature.