Every year we go through the same inner monologue over and over. This year is gonna be different, we tell ourselves. This is totally the year I’ll get in shape. But when we think like that in the first place, we’ve already lost half the battle. Getting in shape and staying healthy isn’t just something that you flip a switch on, it’s a gradual process of improving yourself day by day so you can ultimately be a healthy person. If you sign up for that gym membership on New Year’s Day and work out non-stop, chances are you’re going to be burned out in a few weeks and give it up by mid-February. Getting in shape for the summer season is no different, and if you’re willing to read on, here are my own tips for you to begin your healthy lifestyle.
What are you eating?
Whoever said “you are what you eat” was really onto something. Now of course it’s not all black and white; Everyone has different metabolisms, everyone digests food differently, and everyone has different eating habits. One thing that never hurts, though, (and always helps) is to be constantly aware of if you’re eating to ingest calories or if you’re eating just to taste something good. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy food, obviously, but is that 3 a.m. run to Whataburger really doing anything to improve your health? I doubt it. Fun fact: If you sigh in the middle of eating a meal, it’s your body’s way of saying you’re full.
Make it fun
One of the most common excuses people give for not exercising is that “it’s just not fun,” and they’re not totally wrong. After all, I could make a long list of exercises I personally hate to do (calf extensions, are you kidding me?) but I get over it because I just don’t do them. Instead, I find physical activities that are fun to do. I know this sounds easy, but people often get discouraged because they feel like they have a hard time finding something they’re good at or really enjoy doing. But that’s one of the beautiful things about being on a college campus — we’re constantly surrounded by ways to channel our energy. I was lucky enough to have exposure to a lot of sports when I was younger, and even boxed in high school, but by the time I got to college and had to find a less aggressive way to deal with my energy, I started picking up sports like basketball and racquetball. Even if I didn’t play either of those as a youngster, it only took a few trips to the courts before I got confident enough in my game and began to get excited about going on a regular basis. Having fun while you exercise is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get healthy, and given the availability of activities at your disposal, it’s easier to do than you think.
Play with a friend
Finding someone to join you on your odyssey to a healthier lifestyle quadruples your chance of success. Now even though that was a made up statistic, I do know that working out with a partner (be it a gym buddy or a “bromosapien”) is a great motivating factor in getting healthy and does wonders for your chances of actually sticking to your fitness plan. It doesn’t always have to be your BFF, either. Sometimes having someone you don’t see on a totally regular basis might be just what you need to find that eye of the tiger. Chances are, if you’re there to get healthy, your gym partner is also and that will inevitably turn into a competition. So smile big when you whip your partner of four weeks in that match of racquetball, because you will have earned it. Now go do some push-ups!
Brian Bogart is a theater & dance junior, with a focus on acting and business foundations.