A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit

As a kid, I was quite the athlete. I was always playing some kind of sport, whether that be gymnastics, softball or dance. If you look at me now though, you’d never know that I gave up those activities in high school to pursue my musical interests, and gone went my strength and endurance as well.

Now that I’m in college, I’ve realized the importance of exercise and made a resolution to go to the gym more often this year. However, this isn’t the type of situation where you can just jump right in and everything will go perfectly; it takes a while for your body to adjust to these changes. 

Here are some of my personal tips for those who, like me, are on a quest to get fit:

  1. 1. Stretch. Always

    As a dancer, I would stretch for about an hour before starting classes. When I work out, I always do a simple stretch before going on a machine. It is so important to warm up your body before you exercise as it will save you the muscle pain and soreness afterward.  You don’t have to make an intricate routine for your stretches—stay simple and target as many parts of the body as you can. While it doesn’t seem you’re doing very much in the moment, you’re doing yourself a huge favor anytime afterward.

  2. 2. Take Things at Your Own Pace

    I was always one of the slowest people in gym class and it made me feel super self-conscious. I would push myself to go faster when running the mile to be at the same level as everyone else, but it hurt me rather than helped me. I’ve learned that in order to improve your endurance, you have to take things step by step rather than go to the highest level available. Like many things in life, building your strength is a process and it’s best not to rush.

  3. 3. Don’t Forget to Breathe

    Breathing seems so easy, we almost often forget about it. Sometimes I’m holding my breath while exercising though and I don’t realize it until I let out a disgustingly audible exhale. Be aware of your breathing through everything you do—holding your breath will make everything feel a lot more difficult.

  4. 4. Make a Schedule

    I’m one of those people who gets nothing done if I don’t have a plan for the day. Although I have my own planner, I don’t always write down what I want to do. At the very least, keep a mental track of when you want to exercise and what you want to accomplish in your workout. This way, you’ll feel a lot more motivated to reach your goals with a vision in mind.

  5. 5. Stick to It, Even When It’s Tough

    Exercising is not easy. I would come home from 3 hours of dance exhausted and sore. Sometimes, the pain doesn’t even make it seem as though it’s all worth it. But you can’t achieve your goals unless you work for them. It’ll be hard and there will be days when you want to stop everything; but every time you stop, you’re bringing yourself one step further away from who you want to be in the future. Go ahead and make that version of yourself proud. 

So, my friends, enjoy the process. Work out, have fun and feel great while doing it. You got this.