As if going through an unprecedented pandemic weren’t enough, throwing college and transitioning into life on your own into the mix can be more than overwhelming. Don’t let it all take a toll on your physical health: here’s our quick guide to getting into a fitness routine while balancing all of your other responsibilities.

Try it all

If you didn’t grow up playing sports, starting an exercise program from scratch can be difficult. Start out by trying a variety of exercises. Are you more naturally inclined to go running? Or would you rather lift heavy weights? Have you tried a physical hobby like hiking, boxing, or yoga? Giving yourself the freedom to choose what you do and do not like will make you all the more likely to stick with it for the long run (no pun intended!)

Stick to a routine

Once you’ve found something you genuinely enjoy, set some goals and stick to them! The trick is to make them realistic: if you’ve never run before, you’re probably not going to clear a 5K in your first week.

Dedicate 15-30 minutes every day to your new fitness goals, then work your way up from there. If you’re a morning person, wake up a little earlier. If the thought of running before the sun is up makes you want to cry, carve out some time in the evening. The key is to form attainable habits. On days when your motivation has dwindled because of exams or breakups, your self-discipline is what you’ll have to rely on. Unless you are feeling sick or really need to study for that physics exam, make your fitness goals a priority.

Use apps

Phone apps, like MyFitnessPal, will track data from things like your caloric intake to how your running pace is improving. Keeping track of these metrics can show you what’s working for you and what’s not. You can even link your workout playlist through Spotify or iTunes to house all of your workout necessities in one place!

Don’t forget about nutrition

Eating poorly can hurt you, two-fold: without the proper nutrients, your body cannot repair itself the way it needs to after a workout. If you’re starving, you aren’t going to want to workout in the first place! The key to eating properly is to plan ahead. Meal-prepping your meals ahead of time will ensure you have access to home cooked meals loaded with nutrients to help you reach your goals, without breaking the bank.

Check out this article for meal prepping in college.

Reward yourself!

If you’re sticking to your routine, be sure to reward your efforts! But instead of splurging on ice cream and pizza, pick something out that will further your progress. If you’ve really gotten into running, reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes. If yoga is more your style, pick out some new workout clothes or a yoga mat. You’ll be surprised how excited you’ll be to break in your new shoes or show up to yoga in a new outfit.

Overall, it’s important to be forgiving with yourself during these uncertain times. If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up: just try again. Your assignments and exams should always come first, but don’t forget to make time for yourself and your physical health. We want to make sure your time at American Avenue supports your college career and keep you happy and healthy in the process!