7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Use the College Gym This Year

After a long, tiring day of class and homework, we bet the last thing on your mind is exercise, and the last place on Earth you want to be at is your college’s gym. It may seem like more of a hassle than a reward to get yourself there, but trust us: it will pay off in the long run. Even if you think you’d rather exercise in the comfort of your own home, there are definitely perks to hitting up the school’s facilities. Can’t make yourself go? Check out these strategies to get yourself to the gym today!

1. Upgrade your workout gear

Your old, beat-up Nikes are collecting dust, along with the two-sizes-too-small sports bra that you wore in high school. Just like buying new clothes makes you excited to dress up for class, revamping your workout style works the same way! Once you find exercise clothes that are comfortable and cute for you, there’s no better time to wear them than during your next gym session—it’s okay to show off a little. Amidst a sea of baggy sweatpants and old tees, your new outfit will be sure to stand out. Target is a great place to start for stylish yet affordable workout gear. If you’re looking to spoil yourself, lululemon is another popular choice.

Related: 19 Legging Brands That Are Just As Good As Lululemon

2. Make the perfect playlist

When you’re tired of running and just about ready to call it quits, that surprisingly catchy Iggy Azalea jam comes on. After two or three songs, you barely notice your aching knees or the sweat dripping in your eyes.

Ask any avid fitness buff, and they’ll attest—music is a must-have when going to the gym! We recommend creating a workout playlist to keep yourself entertained and focused on your workout. You’ll have the chance to listen to your favorite tracks while also getting great exercise. Create your playlist beforehand so that you can exercise without the annoyance of having to switch songs. It can be filled with whatever you’d like (yes, even One Direction), as long as the songs are motivating!

In her HC vlog Connie Chan, a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, recommends creating a playlist for the entire length of your workout. “Create a playlist, and don’t stop working out until that playlist is over,” she says. This will help prevent you from throwing in the towel too soon!

 

3. Bring a friend

As the semester picks up, it becomes that much harder to meet with friends between classes, extracurriculars, part-time jobs and homework. If you know you’ll want to start exercising this semester but are too anxious to hit the gym alone, why not bring a friend (or two) along? Instead of a quick coffee date with the girls, heading to the gym together is an easy way to stay healthy and catch up at the same time. This is also perfect for collegiettes who are worried about slipping up on their routines and who want someone to hold them accountable, or those collegiettes who are just too nervous to enter the weight room alone (do you even lift, bro?).

Madeline Lacey, a senior at the University of Michigan, says she feels more comfortable with friends at the gym. “Having a friend there helps you ease into the (sometimes) intense gym atmosphere, especially the weight room with all the macho boys,” she says. “It’s definitely more fun!” Your friends are there to make sure you stick with the workout until finished, and you will be there to motivate them, too!

4. Sign up for a fitness class

It can be hard (really hard) to plan and finish a workout on your own, so that’s what group fitness classes are for! With other girls and an enthusiastic teacher by your side, you’ll become more motivated to complete each exercise and keep up with the rest of the class. Most college gyms will offer a variety of options, ranging from karate and kickboxing to yoga and barre classes, so there is something for everyone. Instead of exercising on a whim, having a fitness class in your schedule will encourage you to visit the gym more regularly. You can always invite a friend and turn it into weekly bonding activity!

5. Think of the cuties

The gym weight room is like something out of a fairy tale: all of campus’s cutest athletes gathered in one place (did you see that guy with Ryan Gosling’s face and Taylor Lautner’s abs?!). At first, it can be intimidating to work out with the boys, but what better motivation to hit the college gym than seeing those hot bods with chiseled arms every day?

And you can even get to know them (wink, wink) by going to the gym! We don’t recommend striking up a conversation while he’s mid-lift or mid-squat, but if he’s taking a break, there’s nothing wrong with getting your flirt on (can I have yo numba?). Raquel Sulaiman, a senior at the University of Michigan, says she loves getting attention from guys at UMich’s gym. “My favorite pick up line was, ‘Excuse me, I have a question. How do you get so cute?’ It just threw me completely off guard!”

The gym is the perfect place to meet some of campus’s finest, but beware of Mr. I Think I’m All That And A Bag Of Chips (you can find him flexing and grinning in front of a mirror).

6. Create a schedule

Gina Patrico, a senior at Oakland University, says that creating a workout schedule is an easy way to stay motivated to exercise even when things get hectic with classes and extracurriculars. “I have set days for certain muscle groups, so I can stay organized and fit in workouts around both school and work,” she says.

Try creating your own schedule and sticking to it. It’s as easy as picking two or three days out of the week and dedicating up to an hour of free time to get to the gym. Once you have the time allocated, you can plan ahead for homework, meals and other commitments. It’s super helpful to hang your exercise calendar in your room in order to keep track of progress and future workouts.

7. Reward yourself

If you’re the type of person that’s motivated by rewards—aren’t we all?—there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself after successful visits to the gym. Although a great workout is a reward in and of itself, you should decide what’s extra motivating for you and set a goal before you reward yourself with it. For example: if you work out at the gym 10 times this month, you could reward yourself with a mani/pedi. This is a great way to celebrate your hard work and pamper yourself at the same time! It’s important to make the reward something special so you’ll be that much more excited to hit the gym—and ultimately reach your fitness goal.

Whether its lifting weights, running on the treadmill or hitting up a punching bag, there is something for every type of workout at the college gym. If you’re looking to get your bod back into shape, there’s no better time than now! By taking the effort to get to the gym, you’ll be that much more likely to finish your workout, which is the first step in making progress. With these tips, we hope you’ll feel more motivated to visit the gym.

Have your own suggestions about how to get yourself to the gym? Leave a comment below.

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About The Author

Katie Szymanski is a junior studying Communication Studies and Spanish at the University of Michigan. She is obsessed with feeding the squirrels on campus (Michigan squirrels are one of a kind) and taking pictures of herself feeding said squirrels.   Katie currently interns for the Social Media Specialist at UofM! She loves cheering on the Wolverines at the Big House, anything and everything social media related, and reading HC of course.