The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.
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As a sophomore, I can confirm that Yates in August looks like most gyms in January: full of new faces with resolutions varying from general desires to work out more to wanting to be healthy in college.
I can confidently say that I was one of those fresh, new faces walking through the doors of Yates during the first week of school in August last year. But how does one keep going to Yates? When the excitement of the new semester wears off and the exorbitant amount of papers, exams, and projects associated with midterm season creep in, how does one make time for exercise?
The first step is to want to commit to exercise. Assuming you’re somewhat interested in an exercise routine (you’re reading this article after all), this step should be
The next step is to have a reason for committing — deeper than a general desire to exercise an arbitrary amount more. For me, I wanted a mental clarification, a break and to do something athletic. I also wanted to find some community on campus, which is why I attended Group Fitness classes. Going to yoga classes sparked my desire to become a Group Fitness yoga instructor at Georgetown.
By becoming an instructor, I wanted to create a community for those who wanted to go to yoga with their friends (or to force them). I also wanted to teach themed classes like Friday Taylor Swift yoga. In short, I connected my overall desire to exercise with other long-term goals — like building community, needing daily breaks and building strength — that I knew I would uphold. I made it easy to adhere to my goals because I made them necessary.
Committing also requires sagely picking out the types of exercise that make you want to be active. Whether you’re a community-seeking Hoya, former high-school athlete, aspiring competitive lifter, or wannabe runner, considering your actual interests is paramount.
Exercise does not have to mean lifting indoors if you’re someone who loves to run in the fresh air. Joining Georgetown Running Club or maybe even Georgetown Triathlon Club could be better. Maybe you do like lifting, but you want a gym partner.
Ask your roommate or someone on your floor! Clubs like Chaarg or GU Weights could be good fits too. Former high-school athletes could also consider club sports.
Taking some time to explore your interests and experiment with how many people you like to surround yourself with (solo workouts versus with a club, for example) can increase your likelihood of forming a lasting habit.
Forming a habit also requires scheduling. Personally, I’m much more likely to fulfill my exercise goals if I schedule time for it each day. Consistency is key, as they say — no matter if you plan to exercise 30 minutes a week or one hour a day.
Lastly, but arguably most importantly, flexibility helps. Sometimes, no matter how I arrange my day, I will not be able to exercise, or at least not in the way I had hoped. Acknowledging your busyness means being flexible — changing your run to a walk or your 60-minute gym session to a 15-minute one.
Flexibility also includes noticing when you need a rest day and setting other healthy boundaries. Without good sleep and hydration, how can exercise be emotionally, mentally, and physically nourishing?
These steps, although seemingly self-explanatory, require effort for actual implementation. I still adjust my schedule day-to-day and discover new motivations and reasons for committing.
I continually expand my community with each yoga class I teach, each Group Fitness class I take, and each new gym partner I work out with. And while I struggle to find time for exercise in the middle of finals week, I have deemed exercise so important, so inherently connected to my other goals and values, that I still exercise a year after I made the choice to commit.
So, I wish every fresh face at Yates the best of luck as you decide the depth of your commitment. May your new school year resolution be long-lasting!