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How to Brave Working Out

        Swimsuit season might be over, but a healthy body is never out of style. The new school year has started, and many of us have made new school year resolutions to work out routinely.

         Many of us might not end up keeping those promises, simply because exercise can feel as if the life is being sucked out from me by an evil alien spirit, and I, being about 75% water, 24% sugar, and 1%  procrastination, feel no different. But…since exercise/being active is incredibly important to your health, and because my roommate is an exercise nut/guru, here are 4 ways to keep yourself honest, and make exercising more fun!


                                                                     Above is live footage of me attempting to lift, and my wonderful roommate catching me in the nick of time.

  1. Work out with friends


Things are better when they’re shared, and misery loves company. Combine the two, and you have exercising with friends. You can try to talk breathlessly as you walk on the treadmill, tread on the elliptical, or pull yourself back and forth on the Erg. Later on, you can do sit-ups and planks together. The logistical benefit in addition to good company is that you have someone to keep you honest. They’ll stand on your toes when you’re doing sit-ups, and tell you to lower your butt when you’re starting to cheat on the planks. It may even add a freindly competitive edge.

2. Do it to a song!

Almost everyone listens to music when they’re exercising, but why not make it applicable? Some songs will even give you directions. Take “Bring Sally Up” for example. There will be parts where they sing, “Bring Sally up,” and then “Bring Sally down.” You can either do this as a push-up, so push up when they sing “Bring Sally up,” and then push down when they sing, “Bring Sally down.” Said example is rather intense, and instead, my roommates and I like to squat. So we squat down when they sing, “Bring Sally down,” and then stand back up for “Bring Sally up.” And so on and so forth. You could find a different song and designate a different move for each verse, or a move for each preposition. You’ll find that your muscles and your brain get teased.

3. Do it as a game.

   My roommate, Yasmin, has a handful of sadistic torture methods disguised as exercise. One of them involves a deck of cards, and yourself.


  1. Designate each suit as an exercise. (i.e. diamond is a push-up, spade is a sit-up…etc.) NB: only choose exercises you legitimately can do.

  2. Designate each value a number, and give face cards J= 11, Q=12, K= 13

  3. Pull a card, and do the number of according exercise. So if I pull a King of Spades, I would do 13 sit-ups.

 You can even get fancy and make your own rules if you want to! Ace means that the next three cards get doubled.


                                                                                      Again, me exercising.

4. Combine all three of the above. Do it with friends, do it to a song, and make it a game.

5. Go to a group exercise class

This option is my favorite. I love group exercise classes, because you get to meet new people, sweat with others, and be as crazy as you’d really like. Somehow, the environment of the room is that much more different than working out alone on a treadmill, or even doing it with friends. The energy is amazing, and the presence of an instructor makes you feel like there’s the guidance you need.

Check out the great group exercise classes at the Harvard MAC and HEMENWAY

See article: https://www.hercampus.com/school/harvard/group-exercise-classes-try-fall


Amy Zhao

Harvard '18

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