A New Year means a lot of new starts: new classes in the spring semester, new activities after class and, of course, New Year’s resolutions. One common New Year’s resolution among collegiettes is to work out more than we did last fall. Maybe you got really overwhelmed with class or your internship and didn’t make it to the gym as many times as you wanted. This semester doesn’t have to go the same way, though. Check out our list of ways to work out more that will make you WANT to meet your New Year’s resolution.
1. Set a schedule and stick to it
Once you’ve been through a week or so of classes, you’ve probably figured out which nights are crunch-time for homework and what times during the day you have a few free hours. Decide which time periods are going to be your designated workout times, and stick to them. Courtney Kabbes, a junior at Indiana University, suggests wearing gym clothes to class or packing them with your books so that you’re not tempted to make excuses to avoid working out. Find out what works for you, and keep your workout schedule consistent.
“I’ve always found it helpful to find open spots between or after classes and scheduling in workout time then,” says Michelle Lewis, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Last semester, I went to the gym every day after my Monday/Wednesday class, and it became a habit,” Lewis says. “It felt like it was part of my class schedule, and you’re not supposed to skip class, right?”
2. Find a workout buddy
This is a tried and true solution for collegiettes. You and your friend can hold each other accountable for keeping up with your workout schedule, not to mention the fact that the pain of exercise will be way more bearable with a friend in tow.
The trick here is not only to find a friend who wants to work out more this semester, but also to find someone who shares similar fitness interests and experience to yours. If you’re a runner, find someone who will love to jog around campus with you before or after class. If outdoor running is not your thing, find a friend to hit up the elliptical, stationary bike and other machines with you at the gym. You’ll probably even start looking forward to your workout because you’ll get to catch up with a friend.
If you’re particularly confident and want an even better motivation to work out, choose a guy as a workout buddy instead of one of your girlfriends, suggests Alayna Burton, a junior at Stetson University. “Sometimes, I’ll go with guys, and I swear I work out way harder because I want to keep up,” Alayna says.
3. Sign up for a class at your campus gym
This is a fun way to get in a workout and is also great for exercising with your friends. Most campus recreation facilities offer a wide variety of fitness classes—sometimes free for students—so take advantage of what your campus has to offer and try something new.
If you want a killer core and toned legs, a spin class would get you in shape in no time. If dancing is more your style, get a few friends together and try Zumba. Or if you just want some relaxation and stretching to go along with your regular workout, try a yoga class. Take advantage of the beginning of the semester to try different things and see which workout classes you enjoy, but pick at least one class to sign up for, too. The commitment of registering for a weekly class will keep you going each week, even as the semester picks up.
4. Work out in your room
The gym is a great way to access tons of different machines and weights, but sometimes it’s nice to exercise in the comfort of your own room. When it’s cold outside and you just don’t feel like trudging to the gym, your workout schedule doesn’t have to suffer. If you live in a dorm, you’ve probably checked out things like baking sheets and vacuums from your community office, but many residence communities also offer fitness items like workout DVDs, jump ropes and even weights for checkout.
For the days when you just can’t make it to the gym or you’re too busy during the hours your gym is open, a workout in your room is a great alternative. A workout DVD might teach you dance moves you’ve never heard of before (and that you would be embarrassed to try in public). And in the comfort of your room, you don’t have to worry about anyone judging you for the weight of the dumbbells you’re lifting. Pushups, sit ups, yoga and Pilates are a great way to warm up in your room, too. Check out this list of dorm room workouts for more ideas!
5. Buy some cute new gym clothes
While it’s true that you probably shouldn’t worry about how you look at the gym, a few new workout pieces can definitely be a great motivation for exercising more. If you’re still hitting the gym in old, stained tees and Soffe shorts you’ve had since middle school, it’s time for an upgrade.
Even just a couple of new sports bras, a pair of running shorts and yoga pants can do wonders for your gym confidence level. And once you have those awesome new workout clothes, you’ll be excited to put them to use. “I just bought a pair of awesome running shoes that I can’t wait to use,” Burton says. When you have cute, quality exercise clothes, you’ll be a lot more motivated to work out.
If you’re on the market for some new workout gear, Nike’s Tempo running shorts, sports bras and sneakers are great. For exercise clothing on a collegiette budget, try the C9 by Champion line at Target and Old Navy’s active section for affordable but stylish options.
6. Set a reward system that’s not based on food
It’s great to set fitness goals for yourself so that you can track your progress with an end achievement in mind. But if your idea is to allow yourself a trip to Ben & Jerry’s for every 10 hours you log at the gym, you’re not helping yourself in the long term.
Instead of focusing on calorie-based rewards, focus on something that you will enjoy and is still beneficial for your life. For example, you might not let yourself watch the latest episode of “New Girl” until you’ve worked out that day. You could also allow yourself to spend more time on sites like Pinterest or StumbleUpon after you exercise. There’s no better motivation for exercise than being able to do what you want to afterward.
Another option for a rewards system, if you have the means, is to buy yourself a small gift at set fitness intervals. Invest in a new pair of running shoes after you’ve spent a certain number of mornings running around campus or a certain number of hours on the treadmill. Buy a new sports bra for every 25 hours at the gym. Pick an interval and reward that will work for you and will motivate you to exercise more.
Now that you have our tips on how to work out more this semester, you can feel confident about keeping your New Year’s resolution.
How do you motivate yourself to exercise during the semester? Let us know in the comments section!