How to Get Excited about Working Out
By: Destany Martin
Sometimes, it seems like working out is the absolute last thing you want to do. Not everyone genuinely likes working out (like myself), and often times we are very busy which can drain our energy and make us less likely to want to go to the gym. In moments like these, some kind of motivation is necessary. From personal experience, I have to get myself “in the mood” in order to work out otherwise I just will not go, or I won’t be as willing to put forth the necessary effort. I have found out that when I am feeling this way, I have to try different methods in order to get motivated to go work out.
If the thought of being at the gym for an hour of my day is too long and unrealistic for my energy level, I will set a smaller goal. For example, I will tell myself I will only be there for half an hour. This helps the workout seem easier and less intimidating. While sometimes I only have time for half an hour, or feel unbearably tired; most times I can trick myself into setting a smaller goal, and by exceeding it once I am then in the right headspace. Another thing that I have found to be really helpful is looking at inspirational posts on the internet or social media. Sometimes, I will go on Instagram and look at health and fitness pages that post inspiring quotes about healthy living and it really helps excite me about the benefits of working out. Sometimes I’ll even watch YouTube videos of weight-loss stories that help me stay motivated. I find that this is my most helpful method of getting workout ready, and also helps me stay motivated long-term within my own fitness journey. Lastly, I found that if I absolutely have to, I will have a pre-workout coffee or snack that provides energy. While I do not necessarily like doing this, caffeine definitely does the trick.
Whatever works for you, use it! Be aware of what helps you the most and try to lean on that when necessary. The simple fact is, most of us are not always excited to work out. We’re human. However, with a little extra push, we can do it.
Reasons Why You Should Work Out With Friends More Often
Before college, I always thought I did not like working out with people. Personally, I did not see the benefit of it. The best way of explaining the feelings I had back then are that I simply felt it was my own personal journey, and I genuinely liked the time to myself. However, after being in college for a while, I have realized just how much I actually like working out with my friends and how much I benefit from doing so. I have compiled a list of reasons as to why I believe people should work out with their friends more often.
They Keep You Motivated
While I would say that most group exercises have the power to keep you motivated, I think there is something about working out with friends that is extraordinarily motivating. Personally, when I work out with my friends, it is not only that their presence itself is motivating, but they give me words of encouragement as well. It feels good to have your friends encourage you during your workout as it pushes you to do more especially when that encouragement comes from them.
It’s Fun… and Funny
I can’t speak for all groups of friends, but I know that when my friends and I work out, we have fun. We are usually doing something with equipment, playing really good music, and singing along the entire time. We also crack jokes at each other the entire time, so we end up laughing the majority of the workout. It can make it a little harder for me to focus sometimes, but we do it and it makes it so much more enjoyable.
I won’t say that when I work out with my friends that we are all trying to “one-up” each other, but there is a sense of healthy competition (whether we want to admit it or not). I think this sense of competition can be beneficial, fun, and motivating (as long as there are no hard feelings).
When you know that you and a friend are meeting up for a workout, you are more likely to actually show up for the workout. Friends hold you accountable. They are there to ask you if you are “still coming this Friday”, and what would it look like if you didn’t show?
If you and a friend go to a super intense yoga class, it’s more than likely that the two of you will be extremely sore in the coming days. You two are feeling the same pain, so you can recover together. After the super intense workout, you guys can recover together and plan the next shared gym session as well.
Tips To Make Going To The Gym A Habit
You’ve been trying to go to the gym every day of the week for months now. You are going strong for 4 days, but then you don’t make it to the gym for the next week. Not as pathetic as you think. Believe it or not, going to the gym regularly is often a goal for most people. Having the gym be a part of everyday life can be challenging, since making changes to normal behavior is not an easy task. Any type of lifestyle change (eating habits, smoking, shopping habits etc.) is hard, and even that much harder as a college student.
I personally have struggled with making the gym a part of my daily routine. My schedule is extremely hectic these days, as I am dealing with a constant state of tiredness due to my commitments. Wanting to be social with my peers also can get in the way of going to the gym. It’s not easy, but I am trying to make the gym a part of my daily life, like doing my homework or making my bed, simply something I HAVE to do.
Sometimes we are so off-put within our own fitness routines that we simply don’t know how to get back on track. I understand how hard it is to regularize going to the gym, so I have compiled a list of tips to help make going to the gym a habit.
1. Make a Schedule
For me, creating a schedule is probably the most valuable tip on the list. Making a schedule of your life and time available to go to the gym allows you to have designated times for going to the gym and keeps you on track. Think of the schedule as a daily to do list. Putting a workout on your to-do list helps you stay focused and motivated to get it done.
2. Start off Easy
With any major lifestyle change, I think starting off easy is key to staying motivated while getting used to your new schedule. You don’t want to tire yourself out before being able to create a habit of going to the gym. You try to start off by going two or three times a week, and increase as you see fit. I would suggest that you don’t try to quickly move into a lifestyle you are not used to. Any change takes time. Be patient with yourself!
3. Find a Workout Partner
Finding a workout partner may be the motivation you need in order to stick to your gym routine. Having someone there that expects you to push yourself and will motivate you to keep going can help you make that lifestyle change. Having a workout partner is not for everyone (personally, not my thing), but it can definitely be beneficial to those who need that extra push!
4. Buy Nice Workout Clothes
I know this is something that definitely helped me! I love buying clothes, so buying fashionable workout gear helps motivate me to go, because I want to wear the clothes I have purchased. This tip also is not for everyone, but if that helps, go out and treat yourself!
5. Add Classes Into Your Workout
I think a common reason as to why people may not be satisfied with their current workout is because they become bored with their own fitness schedules. I get bored very easily, and if something is not stimulating to me, I am more than likely not going to continue with it. If you find yourself with an underwhelming workout routine, try to attend some workout classes. Maybe go with friends and see if that helps make going to the gym more interesting.
6.) Focus On Going To The Gym First, Goals Second
Something that I have personally struggled with is lack of results discouraging me from going to the gym. The “I have not seen change, so why go?” mentality is dangerous and can prevent you from going to the gym long enough to even see results. In order to combat this, I try to be realistic with my goals, whether they are mental or physical, but more importantly, I tell myself “just go!” Actually making it to the gym is an accomplishment in itself.
By: Destany Martin
Why You Should Take The Exercise Class You’ve Been Avoiding
The entire year you have checked the weekly schedule of exercise classes. You go to the gym wanting to try out something different since you’re bored by the same routine of your usual elliptical workout. On your way out, you look through the glass window at the Kickboxing class your roommate has been raving about that you have been too intimidated to try. You are intimidated that the class will be too intense, you will be heavily winded in 10 minutes, and everyone will see how out of shape you are.
Sound familiar? Good news is, your feelings of doubt are completely normal and typical for someone trying something new. Regardless of how normal the feelings are, you should not let your fear prevent you from trying something you may actually come to enjoy.
I completely understand and connect with these feelings of fear. After a lot of personal motivational speeches and indecisiveness, I decided to take the Cardio Kickboxing class offered at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. I arrived and was immediately intimidated by my instructor’s nearly perfect physique. The class was quite small, which I expected, but this did not make it any less terrifying. The class begun and, like I anticipated, I was quickly winded and sweating. While my journey with “gym fear” had come a long way since realizing that the payoff received from exercise and pushing your physical limits is worth more than anyone seeing you look awkward or struggling to finish a set of squats, I was a little self-conscious about my heavy breathing and my not-so-attractive expressions being made while trying to keep up with the rest of the class. However, nearly halfway through the class, I realized what I had overcome just by showing up and felt proud that I made the decision to try something new.
“Gym fear” is more common than you think. Even the most advanced gym goers are not experts at everything and would feel insecure under certain circumstances. There are some things about group classes that dedicated gym goers have to come to terms with. First being, you will mess up. Everyone in the class is going to be awkward at some
point, so embrace it. Also, those people you think are watching you, are actually looking at themselves. They aretrying to keep up just like you, and are not concerned with how often you come to the gym. Additionally, there is a chance that this class may not be all that you expected. Not saying that it should be easy, rather, you just might notlike exercising in a group. However, not going to the class at all will hinder you from discovering what your preferences are. Not only that, but once you have attended your first class, it will be easier for you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things in the gym that you can then add into your fitness schedule. Lastly, I know the instructor is usually a super fit person who seems to do everything with ease; however, don’t let this make you feel insecure. The instructor is there to help you and is not going to judge if you cannot do everything, need a break, or want to ask questions.
Ultimately, your fitness journey is your own and that is important to remember while attending fitness classes. You should make the most out of the classes because it is something that you are doing for your benefit. Though it may be a personal challenge for you to be working out in a group setting, know that everyone is struggling. Feel the fear and do it anyway! Pick a class (classes are posted every week at recreation.gmu.edu) that you find to be the most appealing, and go! There is nothing to lose and an experience to gain.
By: Destany Martin
10 of the BEST FITNESS APPS RIGHT NOW
We are always on our phones. I mean, think about it, we are ALWAYS on our phones. You’re probably even on your phone right now. Whether that is scrolling through Instagram, or trying to catch up on sports news, something is always grabbing our attention on our phones. If nearly everything is integrated into the World Wide Web these days, it’s only certain that there are millions of ways that your phone can lead you to a healthier lifestyle (as weird as that may sound.) Here are 10 GREAT apps that can help you stay fit.
This is my holy grail. This app has customizable fitness programs and workouts that are designed by professional trainers and athletes. My friends and I will hook my phone up to speakers and will play music and the Nike Training Club app will come in and out of the music to guide us through our workout (The interface is really aesthetically pleasing too.)
I am always amazed in the gym at people who seem to run so effortlessly. I am talking about the people who run for 45 minutes straight and still can bounce off of the treadmill with energy. C25K (“Couch to 5K”) is for those who want to run but really do not know where to start. The app is an eight-week program designed to ease you into becoming a runner. After eight-weeks of completing the program, you should be ready to hit a 5k race.
This app is really valuable because it caters to runners as well as cyclists. It tracks calories, elevation, distance, and more in an easy-to-navigate interface.
Spotify Running is definitely for those like me who need music will exercising and have to have the right songs on my playlist to stay motivated. What makes this app cool is that it picks songs for you to listen to, based on your pace, and chooses a song that will match it.
This app is for all of the yoga-lovers out there. It’s different and unique in the sense that it has 10-minute yoga sessions designed to be done right after you wake up. They offer different sequences, and the sequences offer different objectives to help you start your day off right.
Daily Yoga is another yoga app, but it’s not for your wake-up needs. This app offers over 50 classes through different videos. Additionally, the app offers a library of over 500 different yoga poses.
This is not of much use to me (not an outdoorsy person), but could be beneficial to someone who enjoys outdoor adventures. By putting in your location, you are able see suggestions for your outdoor fitness needs, such as, hiking, biking, and kayaking.
This is a great app for the lifters out there. This app will manage your reps, and rest time. No need to try to keep up with your exercise in your head, or lugging around a pencil and paper in the gym.
9. Zombies, RUN
This is one of the most interesting and exciting apps on the list. Zombies, RUN is a very popular app that integrates a zombie apocalypse into your workout. The more you run, the closer you are to carrying out your missions and keeping humans safe. The app is free to download and will make running a lot more interesting than your usual routine.
As someone who reads blogs A LOT, I find Blogilates to be very interesting. So, for my fellow bloggers out there, this app follows Cassey Ho and her YouTube videos, as well as a forum and online workout calendar. Apps like this make me feel like my fitness journey is a shared experience and I have a personal connection with someone who can guide me.
Valentine’s Day / Partner Exercise
Valentine’s Day is here again. Winter is in full force. You are faced with a problem and feeling conflicted. On one hand, you want to spend time with your significant other. On the other hand, you want to continue exercising through the cold winter month. You would love to go hiking with him/her or run around outside together, but the weather simply is not allowing that. What do you do?
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT YOU DO! You try out these 11 partner exercises! Get the best of both worlds. Exercising AND spending time with one of your favorite people!
Nothing quite shows love and/or friendship like pushing your partner’s legs to the floor repeatedly. This is a great abdominal exercise for the person on the floor and a great trust exercise for both people. Just make sure you keep your legs straight as the person laying down.
Playing catch and working out! Do situps with your partner while throwing a medicine ball back and forth to one another. This exercise increases coordination, arm strength, and, of course, one’s core strength.
Speed, speed, speed. That is the name of the game with this exercise. How many times can you and your partner move a medicine ball around each other in 30 seconds? In a minute? How long can you go at a consistent speed before stopping? Challenge each other to keep pushing and break your personal records.
“I pick things up and put them down.” This time, you are the thing! Grasp each other’s hand and alternate one person falling to the ground and one person picking the other up. It may seem silly, but this is a simple exercise that can be a lot of fun with the right person. Picking up another person uses a range of muscles and falling to the ground in a controlled manner without bringing the other person down is great for your core, balance, and trust.
“I wanna dance with somebody! I wanna feel the heat with somebody!” Whether it is with one person or a whole group of people, dancing is one of the best and most fun exercises out there. It does not matter how you dance as long as you are moving, grooving, and having fun. Turn on your favorite music, grab your partner, and dance the night away! Your heart and lungs will thank you later for the cardio workout.
The human wheelbarrow is another silly yet fun way to exercise with your partner. As seen in the picture, one person places both hands on the floor while the other holds their legs by the ankles and you walk. When you can make it a race with another couple, it becomes a great and competitive game. The ‘wheelbarrow’ strengthens their shoulders and arms while the person holding the wheelbarrow will be working their back, legs, arms and shoulders. Not bad for an exercise used primarily as a game!
This exercise is very similar to the third exercise on this list. Instead of going East and West with the medicine ball, you pass the ball North and South over your head and through your legs. See how fast you can work the ball around your bodies. This exercise is a little more difficult and may tire you out quicker, but it is a fun and beneficial exercise do to with your partner.
Another variation of the classic squat. Stand back-to-back with your partner, link your arms, and squat! This variation focuses even more on balance, your core, and proper form. If you lean back too far, you will push your partner down. If you don’t push back at all, you will get knocked down. Try going up and down for multiple reps, or use each other as a wall and challenge yourself to perform a wall squat for as long as possible.
Ooommmmm! Take a deep breath and meditate with your partner. Exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of moves and positions for you. Some of the positions pictured will challenge your physical abilities. Yoga is sometimes inaccurately seen as easy and boring, but it can be a great workout as well.
Ribbit ribbit! The classic childhood game is being brought back just for you! Grab another couple and see who can leapfrog fastest, or just play with your partner and have some fun. It’s a simple game but sometimes simple is better.
Challenge each other! Take some common exercises and add a little twist. Have one person do pushups while holding the feet of the person doing situps. Alternate reps where one person doesn’t go until the other person is finished. Mix it up! You like being around each other, so have fun with these exercises!
Practice makes perfect with these exercises. You may even get a chance to put some of these exercises into practice and learn new ones at this year’s Be My Fit Valentine on February 11th! Be sure to register for the event by clicking on the link below so that you and your partner in crime can continue exercising together!
If you’re still unsure, check out the highlight video from one of our Be My Fit Valentine events here:
Hope to see you at the RAC!!
January is Healthy Weight Awareness Month
January is Healthy Weight Awareness Month which means it is time to get physical and physically active. What a great time to get started with the introduction of the New Year! Now is the perfect time to make that conscious effort to eat healthier and exercise more. It is time to shed those extra pounds we have gained from the holiday season and build up those muscles!
We all know exercise is necessary for losing weight and making your body look and feel its best; however, there are also numerous healthy benefits to regularly exercising. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps have identified some of these benefits.
- Controlling your weight
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduced risk of some cancers
- Strengthened bones and muscles
- Improved mental health and mood
- Increased chances of living longer
Being healthy, feeling good, and living longer all sound pretty good to me. All this comes from a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week! That’s only 30 minutes a day during the work week. 30 minutes a day of walking briskly, cycling at a casual pace, or casually throwing a ball around or shooting hoops. Don’t you want to take part in Healthy Weight Awareness Month so that you can have all those benefits above?
The beautiful thing is that at George Mason Recreation, we offer a variety of options that will help you fulfill that 30 minutes a day minimum, help you lose weight, and help you feel better and look better, too. For those of you who want to get fit but need motivation or don’t know where to start, perhaps hiring a personal trainer would benefit you. Maybe you like working out with others. Then take part in numerous group classes offered at both the RAC and the AFC on the Fairfax campus. If you’re the type of person that wants to workout without going to the gym, then going on trips with Outdoor Adventures may be the thing for you. If you are experienced or ready to workout and go, then head on over to the RAC or one of our other facilities and prove that fithappens.
A healthy weight leads to a healthy mind leads to a healthy and happy life. Be aware this month and this year of your weight and strive for that healthy weight of yours. We will be there when you need us.