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30 for 30 with Cece: I Worked Out 30 Days Straight for 30 Minutes

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stony Brook chapter.

My overall health is something that has been of the upmost priority for me since my early twenties. I have managed to change my eating habits around over the past few months. Adapting the rule “Everything in moderation.” I even learned how to cook over the summer last year. Self-love and mental health has been a work in progress for me since I was twenty-one. 

When I started focusing on my mental health, I started working out to help release my negative energy in a healthy way. At the time I wasn’t working or going to school and best of all it was summertime, the days were longer, and the sunshine motivated me to get out of my room and out of my head a little bit. I managed to make it to the gym five times a week, some days going twice. It’s probably one of my favorite summers thus far. This was the first time I had ever made a real commitment to working out and I loved all that came out of it.

Unfortunately, it is easier to break a habit than it is to stick to it. As summer came to an end, and I started a new job, my responsibilities started to slowly eradicate my new hobby. Over the past three years, I have been through a rollercoaster of attempts to pick it back up but never fully doing so. I bought cute new gym clothes but 60% of the time I’d end up just running errands in them. And then there was the endless amount of excuses, like my work schedule, and gym hours conflict with each other, the gym is on the other side of town and by the time I get there I’ll only get a 30-minute workout in, and what is the point of that? (so ironic now) So, I signed up for the expensive gym down the block from my job and you’d think seeing the money come out of my account would finally do the trick, but even wasting money wasn’t motivating me enough. And that’s because you are your only source of motivation. You have to realize that you are consciously making the decision to create excuses and stand in your own way. Once you realize this, you can (if you want) reverse your self-limiting thoughts. Try replacing I need to do X with I want to do X. Because you don’t need to do anything you don’t want to. 

Fast forward to this year, still struggling to want to make it to the gym. With a location right on campus and one down the block from my job my old excuse was out the door, but I had a new one up my sleeve. A little background about me, I am currently a full-time student and I also hold a full-time job. I have one day off a week from both school and work but it’s barely a day off, or a day to myself as you can imagine with all the responsibilities that come with being a college student. So, my excuse this time was simple- I just didn’t have the time (or so I thought). 

The idea of starting a 30-day workout challenge came after I watched a Ted Talk where Matt Cutts talks about his own experiences with 30-day challenges. I was immediately inspired, but the time constriction issue still lingered in my mind. I decided if I was going to start I had to start now, even if time was tight, a 30-minute workout was better than nothing at all especially if I was committing to 30 days of this. To be completely honest even on the day I started, when I woke up that morning I heavily thought about postponing it to the next day, but my gym bag was already packed, and my assignments were all finished so I couldn’t possibly come up with a valid reason for postponing it. And so, 30 (days) for 30 (minutes) was born. 

Disclaimer: Before I get into what my 30 days were like I want to disclose that my intent was not to lose weight but rather to incorporate a healthy routine in my sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, I don’t have the exact weight loss results. I did weight myself around the middle of week 2, and by the end of week 4 I had lost a total of 3 pounds. I did not change my eating habits. I still ate junk food, lattes and anything else I would normally indulge in. 


Week One: This was the most energetic and exciting week for me. Getting through my workouts was fairly easy, not physically but mentally. I was determined and dedicated. To start I decided to stay in my comfort zone, and I mostly did cardio machines along with some jogging.


Day Five: I stayed home for a yoga session and omg was I ‘zenned’ the rest of the day. It was the first time in the week where I worked out first thing in the morning so I’m not sure if that added to it but for the rest of the day my demeanor was calmer than usual especially at work, no phone call or customer disturbed that peace.


I continued mixing between yoga and cardio machines throughout week two, and the times I worked out were sporadic ranging from late morning like 11am, middle of the afternoon, to really late at night like 10pm. By week three I began to get a little bored of doing the same kind of workouts and my body was also starting to feel a little overworked due to not getting sufficient sleep on some nights. None the less, for the remaining weeks of my challenge I set out to attempt to establish a scheduled morning work out before starting my day to try and feel the same butterflies I felt in week one and two. I managed to wake up early enough three days out of week three and five days in week four (yay!). I am not a morning person so that was a success story for me. 


Week Four: I was overwhelmed with school work, sleep deprived and sore. I just wanted the challenge to be over, since it started to feel more like a chore to me. This was the hardest week for me motivation wise. So, I decided to stray away from my yoga and cardio comfort zones and challenged myself to do total body strength training exercises and tried a cycling class. I was exhausted but felt confident I could finish my 30 days with the same exciting energy I started with.


What I Learned

1. Safety First

Even if you’re just working out for thirty minutes, stretching is still highly important and will benefit you more than it will hurt you. A friend of mine who is a physical therapist recommended I stretch for 10 minutes holding each stretch for at least 2 minutes per body part. 

2. Reality vs. Expectations

Working out for 30 minutes still takes about an hour out of your day when you include stretching, warm up and cool down so yeah be aware of that.

3. Letting Go of All Excuses

One thing I always told myself over the years to forgive myself for not keeping up with the gym was that, at the time when I was physically active it was much easier because I had no job, no school, no real obligations getting in the way but that was also just an excuse. While yes, I do agree it’s much easier to commit and invest your time when you don’t have a fully loaded schedule, if you want to commit to something you will. I did it for thirty straight days, through the rain, the two- hour sleep(y) days (which I don’t recommend), come hell or high water I did it and accepted no excuses for myself.

The Aftermath

The best thing I got out of this challenge was the importance of “me- time.” When I was stressed or anxious, I began to crave my thirty-minute work-out session. It became the only 30 minutes in my busy day in which I could focus on a single thing, and on myself. It was a time set aside to do something I wanted to do. On my last day I must admit I was a little sad, because I was afraid now that it was over I’d go back to my stressful days where I had no time for myself not even for my own thoughts. And that’s another thing I learned, sometimes when we’re so busy and stressed out we tend to think we don’t have enough time to do all the things on our list but setting aside just thirty minutes every day for yourself is vital and helped me tackle my assignments with less anxiety and less procrastination. Now that it’s over, do I plan to work out every day? Maybe after finals are done.

It’s absolutely doable but not necessary. I think it’s important to listen to your body especially on the days when I was on 2-3 hour sleep (again do not do that!) I do absolutely plan on getting out of my comfort zone more when it comes to workouts and plan on making morning workouts a steady routine. Ultimately though, I can see this challenge being my source of motivation in the future when I begin to create unreasonable excuses again. I can look back to the time when I was a full-time student and full-time employee and still made time to workout consistently for a month.


Cece Cruz

Stony Brook '21

President/Editor-in-Chief here at the Her Campus Stony Brook Chapter! I joined Her Campus in Spring 2018 as a Junior Writer and I am currently majoring in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. My personality is somewhere between Rachel Green and Phoebe Buffay. I call that balance. In my free time you can find me doing... I'm a college student, if I appear to have any free time I'm probably procrastinating.
Her Campus Stony Brook Founder and Campus Correspondent Stony Brook University Senior Minnesotan turned New Yorker English Major, Journalism Minor