Fitness is such a big part of my life now. I plan to do a separate blog post on my fitness journey. Currently I set a goal to workout 4-5 times per week. Despite this being a decent number for most people, there was a time I would hit the gym 5-6 times a week easily. This isn’t to say that more workouts necessarily means better/quicker results. But this past year my fitness and health took a dip. It was hard to recover and bounce back. It still is.
Whether it was not feeling like working out at all or my growing disdain for my apartment gym, going to the gym began to feel like a chore or job. Which I hated feeling as such because for so long it’s what I used to relieve stress. But the thought of getting myself out of bed, dressed and to the gym tired me out. There were some weeks I hit the gym three times. Other times I hit my goal of 4-5 workouts. The week before I moved I didn’t get to the gym at all.
Overall, I managed to do pretty good. And until the hectic-ness of the move I hit my goal most weeks, which I’m super proud of. Thus, I thought I’d share my suggestions on how to fit fitness in. Into your day, routine, life. If you’d like to discover my tips, keep reading…
#1 Stop Telling Yourself These Things…
“I Don’t Have Time.”
One of the biggest
excuses reasons people give to not working out is that they don’t have enough time. I’d like you to stop saying that. And I’d like you to stop saying that because it’s not true. Look, this isn’t coming from a spoiled young person’s point of view. I realize people have school, jobs, kids, familial obligations, extracurricular activities, etc. But these aren’t commitments that are new to unique as you. There are students who are working full time jobs who make time for the gym. Or parents who make time for the gym before their kids get up or after they get to bed.
During my senior year in college I managed to maintain a 3.9-4.0 GPA all while working (part-time and full-time) and doing community service. Before thinking up the reasons why you’re different and really don’t have time, I’d encourage you to reflect. Are you really busy every moment of the day? Do you not make time for Netflix, scrolling social media, talking on the phone or playing video games?
Chances are you DO make time for those things, because you make it a priority, whether consciously or subconsciously. Working out doesn’t have to be a two hour workout at that fancy gym across town. It can be a 30 minute dance video.
“I Can’t Afford It.”
Another misconception about getting fit is that it costs a lot of money to do so. I was lucky to have a free gym to use on campus when I started working out seriously. And I do believe there is value to having a gym membership (when you actually use it, of course). However, those are all resources to aid in your fitness journey, not prerequisites. Most people have laptops and/or smartphones, and thus access to the internet. The internet is FILLED with free resources for millions of topics, and fitness isn’t excluded.
The biggest and most well known resource may be Youtube. Youtube has a ton of free workout videos. Before I got serious and consistent with working out in college, I would do workout videos at home. Dance workouts, body weight exercises, you name it. My sister hated me for it when we shared rooms, but it was a great way for me to keep active. Also, there are websites/apps such as Bodybuilding.com and good ol’ Instagram, Below are a few workout videos on Youtube I enjoy:
“I’ll Start Next Week.”
This reminds me of why I hate New Year’s resolutions. For some reason people convince themselves they need a particular date to begin making changes. I remember once I was trying to get someone I know to start working out with me. They told me they weren’t going to start in the middle of the month. Apparently that made zero sense to them. So, they said they’d start at the beginning of next month. Well, that makes zero sense to me.
I’ve also heard people say they want to start on a Sunday or Monday. Then they don’t want to start on a holiday.. The excuses will continue to form and manifest if you allow them to. You can start now and you should start now. Your health and well being should be a priority. There’s absolutely no reason you need to wait to put your health first. Furthermore, if you’re honest with yourself you’ll recognize that this is just a form of procrastination.
So, as Nike says, “JUST DO IT.”
#2 Set SMART Goals
You’ve likely heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before, likely related to business. Well, I think organizing your fitness journey through this scope can help you fit fitness into your daily routine.
Don’t just say “I want to be healthier this year.” We all do. What will being healthier look like for you? How many times do you want to hit the gym? You want to be able to squat how much weight? For how many reps? You’d like to run for how many minutes straight without stopping? Setting goals for yourself is a great way to push through lack of motivation. It’s hard to bring yourself to the gym sometimes when you simply want to “be stronger.” But, knowing that you’re so close to hitting your goal of using 25-lb dumbbells for a shoulder press will hopefully make you less likely to skip a workout.
I alluded to this in the previous point, but you should be able to track your progress. How long did you workout this past week? Or, how many days did you get into the gym last week? Have you been steadily increasing your weight? Is your running time becoming shorter? To set measurable fitness goals allow you to determine whether you’re giving enough effort or if something you’re doing is/isn’t working.
As much as I advocate for just jumping right into starting your fitness journey, remember that you still need to adjust to big changes. So for those of you who are starting out with a fitness regime, don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting an unrealistic goal of hitting the gym 6 times a week for an hour and a half. Sure, it’s not impossible. But going from zero to 100 (real quick) is a recipe for disaster.
For those of you already used to working out but looking to improve, this still relates. It would’ve been unreasonable for me to set a goal of going to the gym everyday the week I was moving out. My things were packed up, I didn’t get much sleep, etc. Again, not impossible, but you have to learn how to push yourself while still being realistic.
The relevance to fitness goals can be universal. You feel better, look better, are stronger, get sick less, the list continues. But I’d also encourage you to also be more specific when searching for the relevancy of your goals. Perhaps shortening your running time is worthwhile because you’ll be running a half-marathon this spring. Or maybe you’re trying to increase your leg strength to hike Machu Picchu next fall. Find your WHY.
You should set a time frame to achieve your fitness goals. This will help set a plan in motion. If you’d like to increase your squat by 50 lbs in 2 months, you’ll be able to figure out how much you should be improving weekly. Not every goal necessarily needs a strict “deadline” as that may take away from the experience. However, a time frame establishes structure and sparks a sense of motivation and urgency. For those with busy schedules, having a schedule for fitness can greatly help.
#3 Fitness Can Be Attained Outside of a Gym
As mentioned earlier, a gym isn’t the only place to get a good workout in. You can workout at home with minimal to no equipment. Also, open your door and step aside, the world is your oyster! In the summer and sometimes late spring (New York problems) I love to get outside for a workout. Running or HIIT workouts are great to do outside because you only need yourself and some good running shoes. Of course you can add a few extras into the mix. But for busy bees out there, simplicity is key!
Here are a few cheap items you can buy on Amazon to assist in your at-home or outdoors workouts.
… even when you’re traveling!
Additionally, if you like to travel, there are plenty of ways to get in exercise that won’t feel like a chore. I actually think going to the gym/purposefully working out on vacation is awesome. However, if you want to be active without feeling like you’re compromising on your fun, do active activities/excursions. Go for a hike, go swimming, or take a dance class. So whether you have a gym accessible to you or not, find ways to get yourself sweating!
Those are my 3 main tips!
Although it’s only 3, these 3 are so important and useful to getting started on your fitness journey when you have you feel you don’t have time. Just remember it’s a JOURNEY and that it’ll have ups and downs. Even those who’ve worked out for years go through dull spells. The key is to making this a routine, another part of your lifestyle like brushing your teeth. Okay, you probably don’t need to workout that much, but you get the point!