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Fitness With Finesse: How Your Fellow Gators are Staying Fit

I love it when others are motivated about working out. I look to my friends and fitness Instagramers for inspiration whenever I feel like burritoing in bed while stuffing my face with popcorn and binging on Narcos.

UF students are not only serious about their study grind, but they are also serious about their fitness grind. I interviewed four Gator gals to see what their favorite form of working out is, and they even shared  some tips on how to stay motivated!

Anetmarie Valdes — Running

What she does to stay fit: “Any form of cardio is my preferred way of working out. I run at least three times a week, regardless of how busy I am. I make sure to set aside an hour or two for running almost every day because it is how I de-stress. I love running because it’s an hour or two to myself, without any distractions. No matter how good or bad I feel at any given moment, running will make me feel better. It’s also a great way to stay healthy and in good shape.”

How to stay motivated: “My advice to other students who are trying to get into working out is to not give up. Working out requires determination, so someone who is trying to get into working out needs to know that regardless of how difficult it is at first, they need to stick it out. Developing a workout routine and constantly reminding yourself of the benefits of working out also serves as great motivation. Just remember to make fitness a habit!”

Maria Llanos — Group Fitness

What she does to stay fit: “My favorite group fitness classes are currently interval training, and iBurn. I take about 3-4 classes a week, given that I have the time! I love group fitness classes because I like going with my friends, the instructors are very motivating and they’re always reminding us of the reasons we even went to the class, and I love the blasting music!”

How to stay motivated: “I would definitely tell other students to not be afraid of heading to the gym, because everyone there has the same goals of living a healthy lifestyle. Patience is everything — you’re not gonna see results overnight, but it’s so worth it! Best advice: grab a friend and sign up for a class! It’s fun and hard work, you’ll feel so satisfied. Also I hate sweating and am the least athletic person, so if I can do it, anyone can.”

Side note: Maria got me back into taking group fitness classes.

Laice Varnum — Club sports (UF Women’s Rugby)

What she does to stay fit: “We practice every Monday and Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. We also have daily workouts to help build endurance and strength.”

How to stay motivated: “For someone who is trying to get started working out, I would have to say that at first it may be hard to find the will to do it — but keep your end goal insight because it will get easier. Keep pushing yourself and work hard, the best advice is to never give up even if it does seem so hard to achieve. The thing I love most about rugby is the fact that it combines two of my favorite sports— soccer and football — and that everyone helps one another complete the workout and is always there for support and motivation.”

Lizbeth Ramos — Weight Training

What she does to stay fit: “My favorite thing to do at the gym is weight training because it helps me release stress and gives me energy. A few of my favorite lower body workouts are deadlifts, walking lunges and squats. What I love best about lifting is the impact it has made on my body (like increased muscle mass and how my body is much more toned). I was a cardio bunny for several years and never noticed any changes until I started incorporating weights into my workouts.”

How to stay motivated: “Once you get your mentality and body into gym mode you won’t let yourself miss a day at the gym. It’s all about getting yourself used to the lifestyle; you must put in work to get the results you want to see. I can’t promise that every day you’ll be motivated, we all have that one day we don’t want to step into the gym, but just tell yourself why you started. Find your why and that will motivate you! To those beginning to workout, I would suggest to start off by setting a schedule to go to the gym at least 3-4 times a week and to set some goals, not long-term goals, short term. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Don’t talk yourself out of your goals. Nothing feels better than having energy all day and noticing some changes, no matter how small they are, when you look at yourself in front of the mirror.”

Whether it’s going to the gym, participating in a club sport, running stadiums, or taking an iBurn class, Gators are determined to make fitness a priority.    

Photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

Natalie Cardenas is a fourth year Political Science and Spanish major at the University of Florida. She is from Miami, so Spanglish is basically her first language. She enjoys watching Friends, obsessing over stationery, and lives in black leggings. This past summer she interned with Latina Magazine in NYC, and fell in love with the city life. She plans on booking a one way ticket to the Big Apple after graduation.  
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