February is a popular month for students to visit the East Gym, but check-ins tend to drop around the middle of March. This year, stick to your resolutions and don’t let midsemester blues get the best of you. For tips on how to stay motivated, Pipe Dream asked a few East Gym student employees to give us their best advice.
Among those we asked were Kim Smith, a personal trainer and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience; Robert Meyer, a personal trainer and a senior majoring in business administration; and Madeline Klemenz, a group fitness instructor and a sophomore double-majoring in integrative neuroscience and Spanish.
Make a schedule, and stick to it
“For me, creating a clear outline is key to sticking with long-term goals,” Smith wrote in an email. “A resolution such as ‘I will go to the gym more’ should be replaced with something more specific, for example ‘I will go to the gym 3 times a week before breakfast for 1 hour.’ This way, I can hold myself accountable, fall into a routine, and even keep written tabs on myself at the end of the week.”
Listen to your body
“‘Listen to your body’ may sound like one of those cliche mantras you see on fitness model accounts, but there is so much truth in that,” Klemenz wrote in an email. “If you feel like you need a rest day, it means you should take a rest day. If you feel like you need to eat more carbohydrates, eat more carbohydrates. Here again is the reinforcement of the notion that working towards your goals takes an enormous amount of mental power.”
Set small goals
“Take it one day at a time, and set lots of small goals you can achieve daily or weekly,” Smith wrote in an email. “Some examples of this can be increasing your steps for the day by walking to a further dining hall or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.”
Extend your goals beyond fitness
“Even if your goal is just to lose weight, allow your productivity to bleed into other aspects of your life that may also need some work. Odds are you can always benefit from a little more discipline, routine and self-efficacy,” Meyers wrote in an email.
Find a friend and motivate each other
“As college students, it’s often hard to find the time to exercise in addition to all of our responsibilities, but sometimes it’s just mustering up the willpower to turn off Netflix, get out of bed, and physically get to the gym,” Smith wrote in an email. “Finding a friend to work out with is a great way to make this happen, because you can hold each other accountable for the commitment, and also the social component could make it more bearable.”
Find joy in your workout
“Make your workout something you look forward to, not dread,” Klemenz wrote in an email. “I’m aware that this is easier said than done, but the more you experiment and try new things, the more likely you are to find something that you enjoy. You’ll likely start to look forward to working out more once you begin to reap the mental and physical results. Even hitting the gym with friends you look forward to seeing or creating a really good playlist that you look forward to listening to can be effective motivators before the physical activity itself becomes a motivator.”
Set SMART weight-loss goals
“Before setting a plan in motion to achieve your weight loss goal for the new year, it is important to make sure that your goal is SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound,” Smith wrote in an email. “Setting unrealistic goals is a major way to become discouraged early on, and fall off track. The most effective way to keep pounds off long term, is to lose 1-2 pounds per week. This can be achieved by reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) through a combined healthy diet and exercise routine.”
Forget the new year — sort of
“Whatever your New Year’s Resolution may be, it is my belief that the best way to stick to your resolutions is to ultimately de-emphasize the importance of the new year,” Meyer wrote in an email. “Remind yourself that to rise to whatever occasion you have set out for, it is you, and only you, who will have the power to execute and see your vision come to fruition. Ask yourself, why have I been waiting for the beginning of a new year to make a change? Is there anything wrong with starting today? Probably not. How about right now? Even better.”