Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Tried and true methods of maintaining health from someone who used to skip the gym
Chiara Brum Bozzi, Opinion Editor
In the midst of juggling final essays with midterm and exam season, many compromise their physical well-being. Even now that people are quarantined or self-isolating at home, they continue to lounge around and skip the workout. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to. From someone who used to skip the gym, I can confirm that the rumours about the benefits are true. Your energy surges way up. Your mood boosts significantly. A snowball effect begins, starting with your excitement with your progress and consistency. Everything in your life seems to fall into place because of your newfound motivation. And the best part: a 20-minute workout is good enough! Here are some handy tips to make it easier to get up and get moving.
The 5-Second Rule
I recently discovered an audiobook by a life coach named Mel Robbins who came up with this life-changing rule. We’ve all been through it before: You think, “Maybe I should work out today,” “I need to go to the gym,” “I need to change my lifestyle.” About five seconds later, though, we come up with some lame excuse; we tell ourselves we have time to change our life, that we will do it tomorrow, or that we’ll do it in 20 minutes. By the time to do it rolls around, we’ve convinced ourselves not to do it anymore. The 5-second rule is the antidote to this problem. Before your brain can convince you to fall into this trap all over again, you count: five, four, three, two, one. Then, you move. You get up, you go to change your clothes, you write down your to-do list, or you get in the car. It’s crucial that you count down instead of up, too. If you count up, your brain gets the feeling that you can keep counting and postpone the process. Five, four, three, two, one, go!
Prepare your workout clothes early
If you prefer to work out in the evenings, a good way to ensure that you actually work out later is to lay your athletic attire out in plain sight. It tells your brain that you’ve made a decision and will follow through. That way, even if you try to consider not working out, your laid-out clothes will be staring right back at you, begging to be used.
Dress the part
If you’re lounging around at home and prefer athleisure wear regardless of the occasion, you’re already halfway there! Wear your workout clothes early in the day so you’re already dressed and ready to go whenever. Once again, you’ll have that constant reminder throughout the day that you’ll be hitting the gym later.
Plan your workouts before you go
Many people walk into a gym and proceed to pace around for five minutes with no start or end in sight. They don’t feel confident because they feel unprepared, nervously looking around for ideas. Instead, before you go to work out, do some research. Find some good work outs on the internet or find a video on YouTube that you can follow. If you walk into the gym (or your make-shift home gym) with a clear-cut plan, you’ll be able to get in and out in 20 minutes.
Bring the Netflix along
If your preferred pastime when you’re not studying is to watch Netflix, or you happen to get into a binge-worthy show in the middle of writing an essay, fear not! You don’t have to stop at the cliff-hanger. Bring your device along! Go for a walk on the treadmill and play Netflix on your phone. Do 100 squats in front of your TV. Do a plank with your phone or computer on the ground in front of you. If you’re really into the show, you’ll forget you’re there after 5 minutes.
Bring your notes along
For a lot of students, what keeps them from the gym is being swarmed with work, not laziness. When you feel guilty for taking any time for yourself, it can be really hard to convince yourself to maintain your health. Though this would be harder to do anywhere other than the treadmill, if you’re really committed, you can record yourself talking about course content or reading notes instead of listening to music.
Use Instagram to your benefit
During their fitness journey, many people become discouraged from the unrealistic standards shown in posed and edited pictures by numerous Instagram models. With this saturation of unreality in their feeds, the motivated novice becomes the unmotivated quitter. Instead of only following people who potentially edit their pictures, follow someone who focuses on motivating others, is dedicated to the truth and promoting realistic body types, and posts videos of quick workouts which you can learn from!
Ultimately, do what feels right for you. A five-minute workout is better than none! Enjoy these tips, and remember to stay safe, stay healthy, study hard, and don’t neglect yourself!