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Fitness Tips

When You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Group Fitness Instructor

group fitness instructor

Group fitness classes can give you a fantastic workout and be ridiculously motivating and fun, too. And group fitness instructors are often their own breed of superhero, teaching and encouraging students of all fitness levels with seemingly endless energy.

A good group fitness instructor can make or break a class, much as a good professor can in college. If you’ve hated every yoga class you’ve ever been to, but then you go to one with an instructor you love, you might no longer be able to say you hate yoga. If you are an avid runner, but you go to a spinning class with a great teacher, you might just be convinced to switch up your cardio on occasion.

group fitness instructorSo, to preface everything else, group fitness instructors are freaking awesome – and I don’t just say that because I am one.

But as great as they are, and as much as they know what they’re talking about, sometimes it is better if you don’t listen to them.

Huh? Let me explain.

After a cycling class a few weeks ago, another somewhat discouraged student and I were talking to the instructor. See, one of the premises of these classes is who “wins” based on “points” that are calculated by some combination of calories burned, resistance used, and speed.

The other student was another young woman, about my size. That is, we are both pretty lean and on the low side of average height. When we were talking to the instructor about how we were frustrated that we couldn’t “win” class, she sympathized, because she is in the same situation in any class she takes. Simply, a smaller person burns fewer calories in general, so small female me expecting to out-ride a 6’3″ guy according to these points is not going to happen.

So, since the instructor knew this feeling, she also had some solid advice for combatting it. She told us to set our own goals for classes and (respectfully) ignore anything an instructor says that gets in the way of those goals.

How freaking simple, right?

No matter what setting you are in, whether you’re being led by a group exercise instructor or a personal trainer or an online workout program, you are the one in control of your workouts.

solo exerciserIf you go into a spinning class and just want to let your legs fly and rack up the miles, you can choose to skip the heavy hills and just go faster. If you head into a fast-paced vinyasa yoga class and realize that what you need is an extended savasana, you can lie on your mat and chill out instead of going through ten sun salutations and a host of inversions. And if you want to go to a lifting class and you know that adding weight to your bar is going to make you feel worse instead of better today, you can choose to lift a lighter, even if your instructor invites you to really test your limits.

Instructor’s note: If you want to do your own thing, please do take a spot in the back of the room so newcomers aren’t distracted by you in the front row doing something completely different than what I’m saying.

You don’t have to test your limits every day. Your group fitness instructor’s goals won’t always match your own, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you can’t take group fitness classes; it just means you need to get comfortable with doing your own thing and taking responsibility for your fitness.

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When Skipping the Gym is Okay

skipping the gym

Now I know that skipping the gym is always okay.

I used to get so upset with myself for missing a workout.

I felt like I was failing somehow, or that I could do better, or that I wasn’t keeping up with others within the fitness community. But in real time, all that was happening was that it was really mentally taxing to be so unhappy with myself every time I missed the gym.

This last semester of classes was especially difficult. I am sure I could have squeezed in my workouts here and there, if I really prioritized it, but it just didn’t happen. Other things in my life had taken a priority over exercise, and that was hard to accept. I would walk past the mirror and find noticeable changes in my physique. I was working out less often and the resulting change to my body was my daily reminder. I found myself comparing: there had been a time in my life where I had been consistent with my workouts and had seen entirely different results.

It was hard to watch myself “losing progress”.

And, especially on days when I hadn’t gone to the gym, I began to feel disheartened.

As a way to care for myself and my overall health, I decided to take fitness day-by-day. What taking fitness day-by-day looked like was going into each day with a workout scheduled in. However, if life became busy and other things came up, I would skip it. It’s okay to miss a workout. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem that way. But I promise, it is okay!

Here are some of the changes I’ve made to help me make peace with my current practice of fitness:

Plan the night before 

Planning out your day can include scheduling your workout!

Whether you have 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, just plan to do something that fits within that time restraint. Let’s say you have 30 minutes free in the afternoon– use that 30 minutes to do a quick yoga flow, bump up your strength training routine with compound movements, or run a few sprint intervals. Think of something that gets you what you want out of your workout in a shorter amount of time.

Keep on going

If you miss a day, sometimes your brain starts to think all-or-nothing: well, I missed it yesterday so I might as well just never go this whole week. However, that’s not how the body works, and it doesn’t have to be how you work! Missing one day of exercise won’t make or break your fitness goals. If you miss a day or two, just keep going! As if you’d never missed it. Self forgiveness and compassion is a beautiful thing.

It doesn’t have to be extreme

You can do a form of light exercise if you want to! “Go hard or go home?” Yeah, it doesn’t really work like that.

There are so many of these fitness pages these days with girls lifting these heavy a** rocks onto these huge walls (and I would totally try that if given the chance), but you don’t need to do an INTENSE workout every day. In fact, you shouldn’t!

If you aren’t sure how else you can get moving without going crazy at the gym, here are some ideas. You can:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go swimming
  • Ride your bike, or whatever else.

You don’t need to be dripping in sweat and heaving afterward to have a good workout. It’s okay. Move in a way that is enjoyable, always. If your HIIT workout hurts, take it down a few notches. Challenge yourself when you’re up to it and listen to your body when you’re not.

Switch it up 

The more you switch up your workouts, the more you will stay interested and want to do them. Whether that’s going outside, doing a full-body workout, doing a body-weighted workout – anything to keep challenging and exciting your body.

And you could do something totally awful, but at least it was something new and you tried it! That will keep your interest level high increasing your motivation.

Let go and forgive

If you miss a day, or a few, or just need some time off, don’t beat yourself up.

As I said, last semester was hard for me (and I am pretty good at handling stress). But life goes on, I made it through the semester, and I was fine even with fewer workouts. This summer, I started working out again now that I have a lighter load. It doesn’t mean I didn’t try during the semester or that I failed at anything: it just happens. Fitness doesn’t have to be the priority.

I know that I am still learning this whole process of finding peace with exercise at all levels. There are still times I am upset and frustrated and feel like blaming myself. But that’s okay, too– nobody is perfect. The important part is that I will keep practicing and keep trying to let go and forgive myself, every day.

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Four Healthy Habits that are Never Too Late to Start

Healthy Habits that are Never too Late to Start

Although there are tons of different ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, there are a few common habits that the healthiest people in the world often practice. These healthy habits are neither dramatic nor difficult (no, you don’t have to do HIIT workouts every day), but instead represent greater lifestyle choices that are practiced by healthy people in every country, at every age.

The following are a few simple healthy habits that are easy to adopt, no matter what stage you’re at in life. While these healthy habits may seem obvious, they are often forgotten and are not pursued until the damaging results take place. Take care of your body with these simple tips:

1. Wear sunscreen.

Everyone needs sunscreen, regardless of age, gender or race. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lives, and the best way to prevent this is to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside (AKA every day). Wearing sunscreen not only prevents skin cancer, but also prevents the sun from damaging and aging your skin. 

habits

These days, sunscreen has evolved and become less sticky and oily, making it easy to add to your skincare regime. Many people get their protection through a daily moisturizer with SPF that they apply to their face and neck in the morning. Even if you haven’t worn sunscreen for years, start wearing it now to prevent further damage to your skin. While a tan may look good now, the effects of this sun exposure will be evident later in life. 

2. Drink water.

Everyone has heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Although there’s no single number that fits all of us, The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. This number increases if you engage in activity that makes you sweat or if you live in a hotter climate. 

Drinking water helps your kidneys remove toxins from your body, keeps your skin vibrant and moisturized, and prevents muscle fatigue. Because the effects are seen so quickly (have you ever drank water while dehydrated and immediately felt better?)this is definitely a healthy habit to adopt, no matter your age. 

habits
The best way to ensure you drink enough water is to track your intake throughout the day. Many of us carry around a reusable water bottle, so figure out how many bottles of water you need to drink to hit your goal. I try to drink a gallon of water a day, and I know that five of my bottle equals one gallon. If I haven’t refilled my bottle three times by 3 or 4 p.m., I need to speed up my drinking. If this is too intimidating, try to drink a little more each day and be aware of how much water you’re sipping (and how much you aren’t sipping). Being intuitive is the first step towards healthy behavior change, which includes staying hydrated.

3. Go to the doctor regularly.

Anyone else put off going to the doctor in college just because Mom wasn’t scheduling your appointments anymore? While it can be difficult to find a new doctor or dentist wherever you go to school, regular health exams and tests can help identify problems before they start, and dramatically increase the chances of treatment and cure.

Most university health centers offer check-ups and STD testing, and can offer recommendations for primary care physicians in the area. A yearly visit to the doctor and biannual cleaning at the dentist are a necessary check-in to ensure our bodies are functioning properly. 

4. Get quality sleep.

It may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial. Even without fully understanding what sleep does for our bodies, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible. Sleep is vital for many bodily functions that we need throughout our lives, like our metabolism, memory, learning, and emotional well-being. 

healthy habits that are never too late to startLike you’ve probably experienced after a good (or bad) night, the effects of your sleep occur almost instantly. Therefore, by improving your sleep, you’ll feel the benefits quickly. While the amount that a person needs to sleep every night differs for every person, finding your optimal number of hours is key. Do you feel tired if you get six hours of sleep instead of seven? Or if you get ten instead of eight (yes, it is possible to get too much sleep)?

Another step is to create a good sleep environment, void of distractions like electronics, light, or sound. Additionally, reserve your bed for just sleeping (not homework or eating) so that when you get into bed at night your body knows it’s time to sleep.

The key to a healthy life is prevention. All of the above actions are investments. If we treat our bodies well and invest in our health before they start showing signs of worry, we will live happier, healthier, and longer lives.  

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I’ve Meditated Every Day For a Month, and You Can Too

It’s actually been more than a month. 

But it wasn’t always easy. And it wasn’t always what you’d think of as “meditation“. When I first started, my mind was RACING about 2000 mph with no hopes of slowing down. My thoughts used to go from 0 to 100 real quick. 

But now? Now, after some practice, I can sit in silence and just appreciate it. I can surrender to my experience in the moment without any judgement or expectations. Rather than worry about what might go wrong or what isn’t perfect, I accept the moment for what it is without labeling it as good or bad. Because at its core, every moment just is.

Why should you care about meditating?

Okay, okay, let me back it up a little bit. Mindfulness and meditation are making a big break in society these days, and for good reason. Basically, it’s the practice of being present in the moment, wherever you are. That probably sounds terrifying, right?

I used to think so too. I used to fear reality more than I fear frogs (and believe me, I’m really afraid of frogs) because that would mean I’d be forced to see things for what they were. My worries, my insecurities, my doubts, my stresses, they’d all be revealed to me and I couldn’t deny them. 

I’d see all those things in their true form.

Well, once I did, guess what that true form really was? Nothing. Nada. They were a figment of my imagination. I had fabricated all those doubts and insecurities myself. As soon as one uncontrollable negative thought would come to mind, it would snowball and build itself up so big it could eventually control me.

The worst part? This is how most people live every single day. And let me tell ya, it’s straight up exhausting

I've Meditated Every Day for a Month, and You Can Too

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Well, how else am I supposed to live? I have this and this and this and this to worry about, my problems exist.” And maybe you’re right! But all I’m saying is that in this moment, right now, does it matter what happened at work earlier that day? Does it matter that you said one little thing you thought was wrong? Think about it. No. The answer is no. 

How to get started with your own practice

It seems too simple, right? Clear your mind, focus on the now, and you’ll be happy. It may sound easy, but the execution takes diligent practice, consistency, and hard work. I promise you, though, that it’s worth it.

You deserve to live with ease and to have the ability to enjoy your experiences without getting lost inside your head.

The key to waking up to your mind’s habits is to simply observe them. Become a silent watcher of your own mind, and you’ll be freaking amazed at how ridiculous some of the thoughts that cross your mind really are. Don’t judge them, don’t judge yourself for thinking them. Just acknowledge them, let them be, and then let them go. This is the essence of meditation, and it’s possible for everyone.

As a beginner meditator, I would suggest using guided meditations (I usually just search for one on Youtube). It gives you structure, commits you to a certain amount of time, and essentially keeps you in the moment by constantly reminding you to come back to the present. A few of my favorites are this one for manifestation, this one for chakra clearing, and this super short one to open your heart and awareness.

meditation

I can’t tell you exactly how to begin meditating. I can only tell you that you 100% should do it. There is no right or wrong way to sit with yourself or become more present; meditation is extremely subjective. Each person will respond differently to different methods.

Explore some options, such as:

  • Mindfulness,
  • Visualization,
  • Breathing techniques,
  • Or even physical meditations such as yoga (especially kundalini yoga, if you’re down to be open-minded). 

So, you might be overwhelmed with all the options out there. Rather than see that as an obstacle, see it as an opportunity.

Try sitting in silence and watching your thoughts for just one minute at first. You’ll find that you can do anything for just one minute, and you’ll probably go over your time limit (that’s good news).

Continue this practice, bumping it up to two minutes when you’re comfortable and progressing from there. Things feel easier when they’re broken up into tiny chunks and eventually, you’ll be able to sit for 15-20 minutes without fidgeting or reaching for your phone.

Just take the first step and meet yourself where you are at that very moment. Whether you’re a student, full-time employee, parent, or simply a human being, you need meditation. Trust me, it will change your life, like it changed mine, and slow it down for the better. Things will look richer, feel easier, and simply be more enjoyable. Stop making life into an emergency and start living it fully. Just do it.

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The Secret to Quick and Effective Workouts

Superset Your Way to Success With This Full-Body Workout

All the gains, half the time.

Want to get fit but can’t seem to find the time? Hate spending hours on end in the gym trying to get through a grueling workout? Tired of just wasting your time? Well, you came to the right place because I have a solution: supersets.

Supersets are my secret weapon for ultimate gains and time economy. The idea is to complete two exercises consecutively without rest before continuing on to the next. For example, if you’re working on arms, a good example would be tricep cable pushdowns followed by cable bicep curls. No rest or transition needed.

Performing one exercise directly after another raises your heart rate (a plus for for all of my cardio haters out there), allows one muscle group to rest while another works, and saves you SO MUCH TIME. Believe me. 

Superset Your Way to Success With This Full-Body Workout

There are two main “philosophies” of supersetting: 

1. Perform two exercises that target the same (or paired) muscle groups.

This overloads your muscles and, in effect, forces them to grow. You won’t be able to lift as much weight as you would normally, but this is a great option if you’re trying to hit a single muscle group and still save time. 

For example, if you’re working shoulders, a good superset would be lateral raises followed by front raises. You’re targeting different muscle fibers of the deltoid, yet still pushing the limits of that group since you aren’t resting in between.

2. Choose two unrelated muscle groups and opt for a more full-body type workout.

This allows one group of muscles to rest while the others work, and ensures that you are targeting more muscles in your body. If you can’t get to the gym 5 times a week or are simply aiming to be healthy rather than making measurable gains, full-body workouts are a good place to start. 

I would personally incorporate some more cardio-focused exercises for this category so that you get all the benefits of exercising. An example would be to perform jump squats followed by back rows, or something to that effect.

Now, I realize a lot of this might sound confusing. So, to help get you started, I have a workout for you, complete with videos of the exercises I used.

Use this full-body workout as a starting point or adjust it to fit your needs, whatever works for you!

Full-Body Superset Workout:

Hint-each group of 2 exercises is to be performed together in a superset.

1. Skullcrushers (can be subbed for an overhead tricep press), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
2. Barbell bicep curls, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

1. Renegade row + push-up, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
2. Svend press, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

1. Barbell upright rows, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
2. Barbell front raise, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

1. Walking lunges (weighted if possible), 3 sets of 15 reps
2. Jump squats, 3 sets of as many reps as possible for 30 seconds

1. TRX mountain climbers, 3 sets of 15 reps
2. Plank, 3 sets of one minute

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Reality Check: You Don’t Have to Exercise for Hours to Be Healthy

General health guidelines suggest we all get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per day. Disclaimer: I’m definitely no medical professional, nutritionist or anything of the sort, so these are just some thoughts and a reminder of this guideline.

To some of you, this may seem like nothing. To others, it may seem like a big step up from your current fitness routine. 

Well, first let’s establish what exactly qualifies. According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, gentle cycling, swimming, and mowing the lawn. Surprised? I sure was. I always thought this meant things like jogging, things that feel like focused exercise.

In this very inspiring, but also equally influential, world of health and fitness, it’s easy to feel like you need to take these guidelines to the extreme. Ten (even three) mile runs, hour-long spin classes and yoga that makes you sweat buckets full – these are all great, but only if you are doing them because you want to. Moving your body should not be a chore. It should help relieve stress, not stress you out.

This is your reminder that doing no “real” exercise is okay. As long as you are getting in some daily movement, you can meet the requirements. You don’t have to break a serious sweat every day to be healthy.

This is not at all to say hitting the gym or going on a run are bad. It’s just meant to show you don’t have to go crazy in your quest for health.

The idea of a gym, fitness classes and the like only came about in the past fifteen to twenty years or so. Before that, exercise came in the form of simply moving around as part of one’s daily routine. And it can still be just that way. 

Takeaways

First, don’t ever feel like you need to force yourself to exercise. It’s simply not needed to be healthy. Just get some movement in daily. 

Second, working out should not be your number one priority – you have a fun to have, friends and family to spend time with, and dreams to chase.

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Why You Need to Switch Up Your Workouts

So you’ve been doing the same workout for awhile now…

Routines are easy. You go to the gym before or after class, you workout for an hour to an hour and a half, then you go home, shower, eat dinner, do homework, sleep and then do it all over again the next day.

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? 

But then you stick to the schedule, and three weeks later that super hard workout you came up with a few weeks ago doesn’t seem so hard anymore. Is it because you’ve just gotten into that much better of shape? Are you bored of the workout and don’t consciously push yourself as hard? According to Women’s Healthit could be both. According to Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University in Fort Lauderdale and author of Strength Training for Fat Loss, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. In other words, “You burn fewer calories and build less calorie-torching muscle with every workout.” 

No, really. Adding 15 minutes to your elliptical workout isn’t going to do anything–go try the stair climber instead! 

But how often do should I switch it up? How do I switch it up? Changing your routine can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially when you’re comparing unknown, new workouts to your tried-and-true. Luckily, there are SO MANY options. And all of which are up to YOU! To make these switches a little less intimidating, I’m going to break down the major components of the changes you’ve gotta make. 

Who? You.

What? Switch up your workouts!

Where? At the gym, at the pool, at the track, anywhere.

When?  Every three-six weeks.

How?

By remaining static in workouts, two things can happen. One, as mentioned, you can get used to it and not get as much out of it. Secondly, falling into a routine, while habitual, can become monotonous and increase the chances of you skipping leg, arm, or ab day. When…. in reality:

Leg day, arm day, ab day could all be the same day!

Or any day. Ideally, you make those muscle groups work together every time you’re at the gym and switch up the exercises to keep it interesting. If different, new parts of your body are sore after your gym days, you’re getting the most out of your workout. (Of course, being sore is different than feeling tight or having pain, so make sure to know the difference!) 

I like to switch it up all the time. If it’s leg lifts, triceps dips, crunches, and running one week, I’ll try squats, pull ups, Russian twists, and swimming the next week. I find that rotating through exercises on a weekly basis is better for me than doing the same routine for weeks on end. 

So try something new this week. Go to a Zumba class, hop on the TRX you’re scared of at the gym, or give running a try (the weather is beautiful!). You never know what you’ll get out of breaking from your routine!

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Four Exercise Modifications For a Knee Injury

modifications for a knee injury

Knee injuries due to exercise are common and can be really frustrating to work around. If you have knee pain or are recovering from a knee injury, consider these four modifications to your workouts.

1. Lunges

Stationary or reverse lunges instead of walking or forward lunges not only prevents further knee injury, but also helps strengthen the leg muscles that affect your knee. With a forward lunge, your momentum of stepping forward puts all of your weight into the front leg. Couple this with improper form (like your knee going in front of your toes) and you place a lot of strain on your knee. Stationary lunges (where you stay in the lunge position and dip for each rep) or reverse lunges (where you step the leg back into a lunge for each rep) will prevent your momentum for going where it shouldn’t.

2. Running

Swap out your running routine with a more low-impact cardio option to reduce the stress you put on your knee. A few of the most popular options are cycling, swimming, or elliptical training. 

3. Leg Extensions

Rear-foot elevated split squat are a safer alternative. Leg extensions apply constant pressure on your ACL, and target only your quads (and not your hamstrings). Add in a heavy weight and you’ve got a drastically higher change of injuring your knee! To target your quads without this stress on your knee, try the rear-foot elevated split squat. Check out how to do one below!

4. Squats

Squats are an essential movement to any lower-body routine and can be harmless for your knees if done CORRECTLY. The first step is to make sure you have the right shoes on. That means lifting shoes or some other type of sneaker with a solid, flat bottom (no running shoes with tons of padding!). Additionally, make sure to warm up before you squat heavy and always check your form (via a mirror or a workout buddy). 

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You Probably Aren’t Training This Major Muscle Group Right: Glutes

So, you want to build your booty? 

I can tell you from experience that if you don’t activate your gluteal muscles the right way, your bubble butt dreams will stay just that: dreams.

Of course, genetics play a large role in the natural shape and size of your glutes, and no two people’s bodies are going to look the same. So no, I’m not saying “do this and you’ll have a shelf for a booty”. But I am saying you’ll have a stronger booty. No matter what shape of butt you’re flaunting, you can still benefit from learning what to do to grow those glutes.

First, some basics.

Anatomy of the Booty

So what muscles are we working with?

Gluteus Maximus 

Everyone’s favorite. This is the primary glute muscle and the largest muscle in the body. It’s primary function is upper leg and thigh extension.

Gluteus Medius

This one is the upper glute muscle. It originates on the outer surface of the hip and converges on a tendon that attaches to the hip joint.

Gluteus Minimus

The deep glute muscle which originates in the front from the outer surface of the hip and in the back from the greater sciatic notch. The glute med and glute min perform the similar functions of thigh abduction, thigh internal rotation with a flexed hip, and thigh external rotation with an extended hip.

In other words, it attaches at the hip and helps move your thigh.

3 Moves for Activating the Booty

If you’re a student or if you work a desk job, you probably spend a lot of time sitting. Inactive booties are sometimes inevitable, and it can take a little push to get them into gear. But here’s how to get them working.

Firing up your glutes before training with these 5 glute-activation drills will ensure that the muscles are ready and doing the work during more advanced, compound booty-building lifts (squats, deadlifts, etc.). If your glutes aren’t warmed up, your quads or hip flexors might take over and this can result in muscular imbalances and injury.

1. Clamshells (20 reps each side)

Lie down on one side with your head resting.  Keep your bottom leg straight and your top leg bent with the foot resting on the bottom knee at a 90 degree angle. Your hips should be stacked on top of one another and should remain there throughout movement. 

Squeeze your glutes while you lift your knee up as high as possible keeping the leg bent and your top foot rested on your bottom knee. Don’t let the hips roll forward or backward: they will try!

 You should feel a burn in the upper and outer back pocket region (like where your jean pockets go).

2. Glute Bridge (3 sets, 20 reps)

Get into a bridge position by lying on your back with your feet hip distance apart, knees bent, heels close to your butt, and toes pointed slightly outward.

Press up through your heels to bring your hips into a bridge.

Important note: Keep your midline stable and core tight throughout the movement.

Take a deep breath in and brace your core as if you were bracing yourself for a punch. Keep your hips slightly tucked and maintain that position to keep your lower back from doing the work as your hips rise.

3. Banded Monster Walk (2 sets, 45 seconds each)

Put a mini ankle band around your legs 4 inches above or below the knees.

Get into a half squat position (feet hip distance with band tension) and extend the arms out in front of you like a zombie.

Perform 2 sets of 45 seconds walking forward, backward, and in each direction laterally.

Be sure to keep your weight in your heels, use your outer thighs to bring your knees outward when you step wide, and keep the hips slightly tucked to keep your core tight throughout the movement. 

Take on your leg day workout with active glutes and you’ll be on your way to a built booty!

For the rest of the “You Probably Aren’t Training This Major Muscle Group Right” series, check out this article. 

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Sources: 

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/butt-ology-101-how-to-enhance-your-gluteal-muscles

HIIT VS Steady State: What You Need To Know

college students boston marathon

Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy…

While excessive amounts of cardio might leave you feeling drained and overworked, a certain amount of cardiovascular exercise can greatly improve your overall fitness and performance, and is great for your heart.  Sometimes it is difficult to find motivation to hit the track or hop on a spin bike, so here are two different types of cardio you can try to keep things interesting and help you reach your goals.

What are the different types of cardio?

Two popular cardio training methods are High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and Steady State Cardio. When doing HIIT, you alternate between intervals of intense exercise and short recovery periods, whereas, with Steady State Cardio, you remain at the same, steady speed throughout the entire workout. 

What type of cardio should I be doing?

Both HIIT and Steady State Cardio are beneficial to your health, however, one specific cardio form may be more beneficial towards reaching your goals.  Here’s why:

HIIT burns more calories because although you are exerting yourself for a shorter period of time, you are going all out for that single interval. For ten to thirty seconds, you run, cycle, or row faster than you thought you could, followed by a one to two-minute recovery period. Ultimately, you can really increase power and speed with consistent effort since you’re really pushing yourself during those working times.

Steady State Cardio, on the other hand, does not burn calories as quickly, however, it does help with building up endurance. Over a period of time, a challenging 30 minute run could turn into a breezy 45 minute jog.

In short, if you’re looking to burn calories and fat more efficiently, HIIT cardio may be the better option. If you’re looking to build up your endurance, choosing Steady State Cardio may be in your best interest.

Whichever you choose, both of these activities will help improve your overall health and fitness, and keep your heart happy. Most importantly, exercise releases endorphins and will leave you craving that post-workout high time and time again. This endorphin inspired confidence boost will help you feel good about yourself, and will help you see the strength and power your body is capable of.

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Why You Should Foam Roll

foam roll

Foam rollers have gained immense popularity in recent years due to the benefits they easily provide any athlete. Rollers are an easy way to achieve self-myofascial release (SMR), which is a technique used by massage therapists. To achieve this release, therapists apply a long duration dragging force across layers of soft-tissue in the body. After a period of time, the body releases the tissue and mobility between those sliding surfaces is restored. To make these changes on oneself, foam roll in place of a therapist’s hands.

Foam rolling causes increased blood flow throughout the body, better movement and increased range of motion. These benefits can decrease the chance of injury and recovery time after a workout. A decreased recovery time means more training sessions per week/month and results can come quicker. Ideally, one should foam roll both before a workout as part of a dynamic warm up and afterwards, but if you can only do it once, roll pre-workout. It will increase blood flow and reduce tension in your muscles. 

Here are a few of my favorite foam rolling movements:

Calves

Our calves’ range of motion directly influences our ankles, so be sure to warm them up before a workout. To roll your calves, extend your legs on the ground in front of you and place the roller under your calves.  Put one leg on top of the other, raise your hips and slowly roll back and forth. For more pressure, use a lacrosse ball.

Thoracic Spine (Upper Back) 

Not only does this exercise feel really good (like you’re cracking your back) but helps to warm up your shoulders. Lay on your back with the foam roller underneath you and below your shoulders. Rock up and down your back. 

Piriformis (Butt)

The piriformis is a muscle located deep within the hip joint. I love this exercise because it really gets deep to release knots and tension. While rolling, if you feel a sharp pain, you’ve found a trigger point! Rest on this knot and work it out before moving on. To perform this movement, sit on the foam roller, cross one leg over the other leg’s knee, and lean to the crossed leg’s side. Put your arm behind the roller to stabilize yourself, and roll back and forth.

Hamstring

Probably the most popular foam rolling exercise, and for good reason! Place the roller under your thighs. Your legs should be extended straight out on top. Raise your hips off the ground and roll back and forth. Place one leg on top of the other for more pressure. 

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You Probably Aren’t Training this Major Muscle Group Right

A well-balanced upper body isn’t complete without a developed back.

Many beginners neglect training their back muscles because they aren’t “show muscles” (chest, abs, shoulders) that can be seen when looking in the mirror. This often leads to infrequent back training or limiting exercises to working only a few of the many muscle groups in your back.

People also tend to have trouble with proper form during back training because a full contraction of the back can only occur if you are not pulling with your arms.  This is the reason many people claim they can’t “feel” their back muscles while training. 

The good news is, i’m here to help you out. Here’s a basic guide to training your back– where the muscles are, what they do, and some exercises to train the many different muscle groups you’ve got back there.

back

Back Training by Muscle Group

Trapezius (traps)

  • Location – inserts at the top of the neck, runs down the spine and in to the upper buttocks
  • Function – elevation, adduction, and depression of the scapula
  • Exercises – upright rows, barbell and dumbbell shrugs 

Middle Back (rhomboids)

  • Location – connects to the spinal column and scapula in the middle back
  • Function – retraction and downward rotation of the scapula 
  • Exercises – bent over rows, seated cable row, inverted row (pretty much any row) 

Latissimus Dorsi (lats)

  • Location – inserts in the middle armpit (humerous) and the lower thoracic and lumber vertebrae.
  • Function – extension, adduction, medial rotation
  • Exercises –  pull-ups, wide grip lat pull-down, high row (many more)

Lower Trapezius (lower back)

  • Location – lower portion of the spine from the scapula to the upper buttocks
  • Function – depression of the scapula
  • Exercises – hyperextensions (back extensions), deadlifts, good-mornings

Back Training Tips 

  • Stick to a moderate rep-range (8 – 12) and keep the weigh light enough not to compromise form or lose “feeling” of the contraction. 
  • Start with compound lifts (deadlifts, bent over rows, etc.) and then move on to accessory and cable work.
  • While holding the weights or bar think about squeezing your shoulder blades together and driving your elbows back and down.
  • Don’t squeeze the bar too tight engaging your biceps and forearms too much.
  • Make sure to check out perfect form for each exercise on youtube or in Bodybuilding.com’s exercise database to avoid stalled progress or injury.

A well developed back will make your waist look tinier, improve your strength in compound lifts, and complete a well-rounded physique. Incorporate 1-3 exercises from each muscle group into your back day routine and you’re on your way to wings of muscle.

*Cover photo credit to David Zhou

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These Fitness Apps are All You Need to Keep Your Resolutions This Year

New year, new fitness goals? Theres an app for that.

The start of the new year brings excitement as we set new resolutions and goals for the coming months.

With motivation to hop back in the gym and start eating a more healthful diet, the best way to stay on track is accountability! Check out these cool apps that will help you track your workouts, meals, and give some awesome fitness tips as well:

Couch to 5k

Don’t know where to start on your new fitness endeavors? Or simply looking to get in more cardio? Then this app is for you. The best way to stick to a new fitness routine is to ease into it, and couch to 5k outlines programs for beginners in step by step schedule to get you to that 5k in just two months.

Select your very own motivating coach, share your journey with friends and family on social media, and track your weekly progress on interactive in-app graphs generated for you. 

couch to 5k

Image via Cool Running

Mind Body

Maybe you’re like me, a group-fitness junkie and really like to explore new classes around town, or maybe you’re a total newbie to the fitness world and just want to try new classes until you find what you like.

Whatever your case, this app will help you find fitness classes and wellness services customized based on your location. Simply type in your zip code and find offers and deals to the best places around town! 

Gym Genius

Looking to start lifting weights, or reach your new PR? Gym genius makes tracking gym reps simple and fast. Their motto: lift, track, and improve!

Interactive and detailed tracking along with logs for completed and individual exercises allows you to see real time progress. Know when you reach a plateau in your workout so you can change it up. Also choose from a 170+ core exercises and 6 core workout plans. 

gym genius

Image via Gym Genius

Pocket Yoga

Alright if you’ve read any of my posts before, you know I’m a bit of a yogi!

Pocket yoga gives access to over 200 poses designed by experienced yoga instructors, including detailed voice and visual instruction– all in the comfort of your own home. Track your progress, unlock new “environments” and even play music while your app is open. What’s not to like?! 

pocket yoga

Image via Pocket Yoga

Fitness Builder

This app really brings it all together. With over 1,000 workouts including images and videos, you can follow featured plans or drag and drop to create your own routine.

Use the trainer finder option to get professional help and motivation towards reaching your goal, print PDF versions to bring to the gym, even sync with your Apple watch! Record body stats, store progress photos, track strength and cardio progress, and add notes to specific reps and sets. 

fitness builder

Image via PumpOne

Charity Miles

Stop what you’re doing and download this one ASAP.

This walking, running, and biking tracker earns money for charity on your behalf for every mile you move! Choose from over 40 different charities to donate your $ to. Donations come courtesy of corporate sponsors such as Timex sports, Humana, Lifeway Foods, and participants have raised over $2 million for charities so far. What better way to stay motivated than to be helping raise money for charity (for free)?! 

charity miles

Image via CharityMiles

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Don’t Forget to Warm-Up, Because You Will Get Injured, And Die!

Don’t forget to warm-up, or you will get injured and die.

Ok…not really. But, the reality is, 5-7 minutes of general cardio, dynamic stretching, and/or weighted warm-up lifts will improve your strength greatly.  
 
What did I just say? By expending a little bit of energy at the beginning of my workout to get my muscles warm and my joints lubricated I will increase my strength? That’s right!
 
However, Houston, we have a problem.
 
Most people don’t warm-up because they’re afraid they’ll waste their energy too soon and that they need to “save it” for their full strength lifts. Well, here’s a wake up call. If you’re not warming up, you’re not performing your full strength lift.
 

Think of it this way…if your God awful alarm clock woke you up at the crack of dawn and instructed you to do heavy squats, what would your max weight be? Eh, probably not your best. Your muscles would feel tight, your legs heavy, and your head most likely would not be in the game. AKA: it would not be Troy Bolton approved.
 
That’s how training plays out when you skip your warm-up:
 
When you take a few minutes to do some warm-up sets and mobility exercises…
 
You’ll have a greater range of motion and your nerve transmission will be off the charts, which means more of your muscle fiber has activated nerves. More nerves, more activation, more power, more #bootygainz.
 
Not to mention, getting your body into the groove of things will get your mind in the groove, too. Taking a few deep breaths in between each warm-up set prepares your mind to push through the discomfort that is about to come so you can push your body even further.
 

And…injury prevention is nice, too, right? It takes significantly more force and muscle lengthening to injure a muscle that has gone through a proper warm-up because muscles are more pliable and strong. We all want to have healthy muscles and joints so we can stay active for the long haul, and injury prevention is key to keeping you kicking.
 
“So, what is a proper warm-up?” You ask as you get up from your desk chair eager to stretch and touch those toes. Well, it varies depending on the activity you’re about to do.  
 
Regardless, always try to do a few minutes of steady state cardio to get the blood pumping…pump up the jam if you really need to. I like to jump rope because it activates muscles from each muscle group, however, if your coordination is subpar like mine, jumping rope may be a pipe dream and it may be easier to stick with the treadmill.
 

Afterwards, if you’re headed towards a cardio based workout: do a few slower intervals (i.e. run @ 5 mph for 30 sec., walk 30 sec.) and work your way up to your working pace.  
 
If you’re headed towards an anaerobic lifting workout: perform a few mobility exercises to open up the hips/shoulders/back, and do a few lighter sets (i.e. back squats with the bar, 75#, 95#, etc.) until you get to your working weight.
 
One way to tell if you’re good to go and move on to your intended workout is if you’ve broken a sweat.  This is a sure way to know that you’re warm enough and your body is ready for what’s next. A little bit of sweat goes a long way in keeping you healthy.
 
 
 

A video posted by E i l e e n (@simplyeileen_fit) on

 
A wise man once said, “we all want to get right into action, but your warm-up can mean the difference between playing the game and having game.”
 
Yes, warm-up exercises may be extremely boring and mobility work may be far from sexy, but warming up will help you unleash your full potential. It will help you perform your full strength lifts. It will help you run longer and faster. But most importantly, it will help you stay healthy so you can stay active.
 
So go ahead! Throw on some tunes and start by doing some jumping jacks, because, well, warm-ups are really mostly for the cool kids.
 

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How to Transition From Sweet Summertime to College Crunchtime

If you are like me, you took the opportunity this summer to work on your health and fitness without the added stress of school. But now that you are packing up your comfortable childhood bedroom and getting ready move back to college, you must be thinking, “How am I ever going to keep this lifestyle up?”

Take it from someone whose summer consists of training for at least five days a week and cooks almost every day (hint: it’s me). It is possible and the key to it is three simple words:

BALANCE, COMMUNITY and DRIVE

On campus, I am involved in numerous activities: Greek Life, football games, social life and most importantly school. Specific to this semester, I have an internship and a 2-month-old Australian Shepherd.

Transitioning From Sweet Summertime to College Crunchtime

This is Indiana “Indy” Roux! He has an Instagram @indyroux_theaussie.

Throughout my college years, I’ve discovered that balancing your life in college really is a science. I’ve learned to take time on the weekend to plan out my weeks and see what time is available for studying and most importantly myself. 

When school starts, I aim to work out every other day, relieving stress and helping me clear my mind. It can be difficult to make it to my Crossfit Box so I alter the program for the day so I can do it in my school’s gym or do RomWod instead (if you haven’t tried this amazing program you should really look into it).

When it comes to community it is so important to get yourself involved with people who are like-minded, especially when it comes to fitness. Having friends who text you and ask if you have gone to the gym that day or who offer to go with you are essential to have. University fitness centers are a convenient source for group fitness classes, but it can be daunting to go into a class by yourself. Despite this, it’s a good opportunity to meet and talk to new people. (If you are lucky enough to go to a school that has a Fit U chapter there is a community of people right there!)

Lastly, there is drive. “If you want something bad enough you will fight for it.” Sometimes, your workout isn’t going to be enjoyable but its benefits in the long run will impact you for life.

I hope these three simple words will be something to keep in mind this semester so all that hard work you put in this summer doesn’t go to waste. Now go hit the books and kick this semester in the butt.

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Fitness Instructors Share The 6 Most Common Newbie Mistakes

group fitness

You know you’re guilt of at least one of these…

Ever taken a group fitness class before? I’d be you were really nervous to step into the studio for the first time (we’ve all been there). Whether you’re a seasoned GroupXer or a complete newb, we asked a few fitness instructors to share the most common mistakes they see newbies make. 

1. Comparing yourself to others.

“New participants compare themselves with the people who’ve been coming to my class forever, and they get discouraged before they even start.” – Holly Van Hare, cardio and sculpting instructor (Northeastern)

So don’t let the others in the class get to you! Pay attention to your body. Plus, people only really are paying attention to themselves, anyway. So who cares if someone else seems to be doing “better” than you?

2. Thinking all eyes are on you.

“Going into class thinking that everyone is going to be watching you and therefore, feeling self conscious. I always tell people that everyone is there for their own personal benefit, not to look at you. Stop being so self-centered lol!! :P” – Sarah Gaines, founder of Fit University and Cycologist for Cyc Fitness

Just go in there, focus on YOU, yourself and oh yeah, you again. Pay attention to the instructor, the instructions given and look at yo’ fine self in the mirror. Look at you W-E-R-K-I-N I-T.

3. Trying to keep up with the person next to you.

“I sometimes see new people trying to work to the person next to them or trying to keep up, when this causes them to burn out before the class is done. I like to emphasize over and over again that my participants take the entire class to THEIR fitness level that day, modify as needed, and work with what thy need to do to get an effective workout for themselves, not the person next to them.” – Charlotte Kurz, cycle instructor (Binghamton)

After all, you can’t compare yourself with that person who’s been coming to the same class every week for a year. There’s no way you’ll be at the same level. In fact, doing exactly what the “fittest” person in the class is doing might actually do more harm than good.

4. Being scared to try something new.

There are SO many types of classes out there…spin, yoga, Zumba, BollyX, bootcamps, sculpting, pole dancing (to name just a few). Just because you don’t like one doesn’t mean you’ll hate all of them.

“I’m a huge advocate for trying different classes. Besides the differences between sculpting, cardio, and conditioning classes – each specific class has something unique to bring to the table, to push your body in a whole new way.” – Emily Lin; cardio, sculpting & kickboxing instructor

5. Giving up too soon.

You’ve seen those participants: they come once and you never see their faces again. And maybe they hated it, and it just isn’t for them. But maybe they just mistook the class being difficult for the class not being worthwhile.

“People don’t give the class at least a second chance! Rarely do you go to a class for the first time and pick up the counts, style, etc., right away… My general rule of thumb is to try a class at least twice before I decide that it isn’t for me. If after the second time, I’m still not feeling it, then I can say I tried and it just isn’t my thing.” – Amanda Gross (Northeastern)

And ps… just because a class is hard, doesn’t mean it’s bad! (or that you’re doing it wrong)

“I often hear comments from participants that because something is hard for them to do, they think they’re doing it wrong. It’s not going to be easy. If it were easy the first time, you wouldn’t be doing anything for your body! It’s pushing through the difficult parts that results in your improving your fitness.” – Holly Van Hare

6. Doing too much, too fast.

That’s why there’s a warm-up, people. “[People don’t take] the warm-up seriously! Although it may seem silly it’s really important to get the muscles moving — especially before the high intensity cardio classes.” – Aimee Fong, cardio & sculpting instructor (Northeastern)

And if you’ve never participated in group exercise before, maybe that “SUPER CARDIO BOOTCAMP BLAST” class isn’t for you.

“A big mistake that first time group fitness participants make is doing a super hard class. This can turn them off to group fit all together based on how sore they are. Remember, that’s a result of your body doing lots of work in a different way than you’re used to! “ – Emily Lin

What You Should Do When You’re in a Slump at the Gym

slump in the gym

Alright guys, I have a confession to make… I have literally been cursing my workout time lately.

I set my alarm to go to the gym in the early morning, but inevitably end up hitting the snooze button until its too late to make it. On the good days, when I actually haul myself out of bed and into the gym, I find that I can’t take my eyes off the clock as I count down to the moment I can finally step into freedom and out of the gym!

Not going to lie, this scared me a little. Fitness is a big part of my life: I work as a group fitness instructor, and I plan on making this my career. But why have I suddenly begun hating the very thing that usually makes me happiest?

So I got to thinking…

March has been busy. I started a new job in the midst of midterms, and the tundra temperature outdoors is definitely not helping me want to leave my apartment for anything, let alone the gym. I’ve also been taking a look at the workouts I’ve been doing, and my mentality towards them. Lately, I have been forcing myself to spend time in the gym doing things I don’t love, just because I am too lazy to look for a new and exciting type of workout that I actually like. I’ve also been working out alone, which takes a LOT of the fun out of it.

You know the biggest factor in my slump was, though? My mentality. I would tell myself that I have to workout. Not that I get to workout. Because I was doing this alone, and doing things I didn’t enjoy, I wasn’t excited about it. So I decided to change my mentality. And you know what else changed with it? EVERYTHING!

Step 1: Write a List of Your Favorite Forms of MOVING

Okay, okay. I fully understand that your answer to “what do you like to do in the gym,” might be “nothing”, but there is an option for everyone, I promise!

Love to dance? Try Zumba or barre to satisfy your inner ballerina, Latin dancer, or just straight up club moves!

Do you have way too much pent up energy? Can you think of someone you would gladly punch in the face right now? Kickboxing. Do it. There will be no regrets.

Do you want to feel like Hercules? Weightlifting!

Love bike riding? Try cycle.

Always dreamed of being in the military minus the uniform? Take a boot camp class. Believe me, the name is much scarier than what actually goes on in there…

Identified the source yet? OK, now were ready for step two…

Step 2: Grab a Friend!

Seriously. This is so much more key to success than it may seem. If you have someone to go with, you have to go even on days when you want to back out, because you don’t want to be that flaky friend – am I right? I guess peer pressure CAN be a good thing sometimes.

Plus, there are multiple scientific studies proving the correlation between improved relationships and exercise, as well as improved exercise performance and satisfaction when performing with a friend or partner. So use science to your benefit, y’all.

Plus, it’s a way to squeeze working out and hanging out into one slot in your schedule. Double whammy!

Step 3: Set and Remember Your Goal

Why are you doing this to yourself, anyways? This is why goal setting is so important, you guys. How can you possibly expect to be motivated to do something that’s

a) physically uncomfortable

b) for a full hour, and

c) at an awkward time of day

d) in clothes that seem way too tight for anyone to be wearing 6 am?

Answer: You need a goal!

That will give purpose to not hitting the snooze button. That will give purpose to taking that extra shower, walking out into the cold, and kicking ass in order to burn out all the stress that’s been keeping you from working out!

So why are you here? Is it to become stronger? Is it to alleviate your anxiety?

Accomplish something you thought you never could? Whatever it is, you’ve got this!

 

9 Tips to Help You Get Started in the Gym

getting started in the gym

Your 9-step guide to getting started in the gym

Getting started in the gym can be a bit intimidating but everyone’s got to start somewhere, right? Fit University Ambassador from Stony Brook, Michael C. shares, “When I first started lifting, I was a little intimidated because there are some strong people there. I felt weak lifting my weights..”

Sound familiar? He continues though, “but that mentality faded away rather quickly because, for the most part, everyone at the gym minds there own business and is worried about their own health and well being. People who are serious lifters would be happy to see new people hitting those weights if anything.” 

This guide is designed to get you acclimated and comfortable on the gym floor so you can reach your fittest potential. 

getting started in the gym

1. Know the basics

Familiarize yourself with a few basic exercises so once you step into the gym, you’re confident in your movements. You can learn the basics right in your dorm which makes it all the more easy. Northeastern student and Certified Personal Trainer Lauren Smith explains,”Don’t start with a barbell squat before you learn how to do an air squat. Don’t try to jump on the bench press until you can do a push-up. The basics are underrated and it’s always more important to start slow and be consistent.” Some basic exercises to know are:

Squat

Lunge

Plank

Push Up

2. Consider a group fitness class or a personal trainer

Classes are great for two reasons. One, you have someone telling you exactly what to do and exactly how to do it. Two, they are generally high energy and incredibly fun. Take a Zumba or BollyX class, for example. Maybe even a glow in the dark yoga class. You can take what you learn in the class and apply it to your solo workout. If you’re a little timid to get started in a class, stand in the back but make sure you can still see the instructor and yourself in the mirror. It might also be a good idea to schedule a few sessions with a personal trainer if you’re trying to get serious. They can show you around the gym, what equipment to use and how to use it.

3. Workout during “off” times 

Amanda G. (Northeastern), says, “try going at times when you know it will be less crowded so you can get acclimated without feeling like everyone is watching you. Sunday mornings are usually pretty quiet, especially on a college campus, and can be a great time to take your time figuring out your routine.”

getting started in the gym

4. Do your research 

When you’re getting started in the gym, it is so crucial to do your research. The best and worst part about the internet is that there is endless health and fitness information available to you and as a result, there is a ton of misinformation out there. Just because someone works out doesn’t mean they are a personal trainer. Look for sites that use credible sources and rely on certified professionals for their content. Bodybuilding.com is a great resource to learn proper form to avoid injury. 

And of course, you can always ask the gym staff how to do an exercise. It’s much better to ask if you’re unsure than to do an exercise incorrectly and hurt yourself. 

*Ladies… let me save you a bit of research. If you’re worried about strength training, please know… lifting weights will not make you look bulky.  I repeat, lifting weights will not make you look bulky.

5. Set a schedule 

When you’re first getting into a good gym groove, you might want to consider setting up a schedule with specific “gym days.” Pick one day of the week that’s the best time for you and stick to it – just one day. Starting off slow will make your goal of working out more attainable – if you happen to go a second or third time during the week, great! But if not, no biggie. Make a reminder in your phone so you have no excuse of forgetting.

6. Go in with a plan.

A plan without an action without a wish. Sorry, had to say it. It’s true! Walking into the gym without a workout in mind is like walking around the grocery store with a grocery list. You’ll just wander in an out of the isles until all of the sudden you’re spending $300 on paper plates because they were on sale. Don’t be that guy. Instead, go into the gym ready to know what your workout is and what equipment you’ll need. Need help finding a workout? Here’s a bunch for you to try.

7. Find a gym buddy

Accountability, motivation, fun-ness… that’s a word, right? These are just a few of the benefits of having a workout partner. Fit University ambassador Marie L. says, “What helped me when I was getting started in the gym was definitely the fact that I started going with a buddy, in my case Michael Crespo! He was more experienced with the gym and was able to show me around and teach me everything he knows about lifting. In no time, the intimidation of being a new member of the gym went away!” Don’t have any friends who are willing to make it out the gym with you? That’s ok! Our Fit University chapters have workouts in the gym to help you find your way around the gym. 

getting started in the gym 2

8. Try new things 

You’ll never know what you enjoy or what works for your body until you try it. Try a spin class, rock climbing, weight lifting, pole dancing. Whatever it is, try it! Worst case, you don’t like it. Best case, you just added something new to your life.

9. Have fun 

This is probably the most important part of it all. Nobody wants to go to the gym if it’s boring and seems like a chore. After you’ve tried some new things, figure out what you like and don’t like. Do the activities you like and don’t do the activities you don’t. Love kickboxing but hate running? Don’t run. Fitness should be something you enjoy and crave not something you hate and dread. Find your fun and stick to it.

getting started in the gym

Check out these articles too:

What You Need to Know About Basic Nutrition
Healthy Habits for College Life
No, I Didn’t Always Love Staying Fit (But I Do Now)
Fitness is About More Than Your Appearance: Here’s Why