In college…or honestly just in everyday life, exercising can get kinda boring + repetitive. It can be hard to get into a good rhythm + stay motivated. Trust me… I know what it’s like to want to be healthy + exercise in college, but one you get in the swing of things, it can be difficult to actually make it happen. In this post, I’ve come up with some tips that have helped me enjoy exercising in college + will hopefully motivate you to stay active.

When I first got to college, I was hesitant to go to the on-campus gym. I’m not a huge gym person, but I did my best to avoid it because I didn’t want to go alone + I didn’t know what it would be like. It wasn’t until I went with my friends that I actually liked it + got more comfortable. It was a journey + sometimes required me to put myself out there, but now I can say I have a more established exercise routine at college + have learned things along the way. 

So below are some of the things I’ve thought of + have tried out that have motivated me to exercise in college. It doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. If you’re someone who enjoys exercising or needs it a part of their routine than you won’t want to miss out on these tips!

  • do it with friends

The gym, or honestly an activity, is so much better when you have your friends with you. Not only does it make you feel less alone, but it is fun to see how your friends work out + get ideas from them… or give ideas to them.

I’m sure if you asked most of your friends, they would interested in going to the gym with you or to an exercise class or whatever it may be. You don’t have to be alone in your workout journey, especially when you go to a new place! Exercise is important to most people so I’m sure you can find someone to do it with. 

  • join intramurals

At first I didn’t want to join an intramural team because I didn’t know a lot of people + I didn’t know how it would work out, but I’m glad the opportunity came up for me to.

You don’t have to be a pro in order to join. You don’t have to be at your best. You don’t have to be on a team that you know everyone… just sign up for a team. Not only can you meet new people through it, but you can play the sports you love + get great exercise. 

  • don’t be afraid of what others think

Whether its working out at the gym, running around campus or exercising around your room mates, you have to get over the nerves of being in front of people + them watching you. First if all, most of the time they actually aren’t watching you as much as you think. Secondly, people are not going to remember what you’re doing… it’s not gonna be on the forefront of their mind.

I know this is something you may constantly have to work on– I know I have had to as well. But it’s a healthy habit to have to not be focused all the time on what other people may think. Have the courage to exercise the way you want to + don’t let the possibility of someone seeing you or noticing something to keep you from it. 

  • you have to prioritize it + do it for the right reasons

Exercise is one of those things that’s real easy to put off if you don’t care enough. You will get busy or make excuses or not feel like doing it. You have to prioritize it if you’re gonna make it happen. You have to be committed + disciplined.

And with that I HIGHLY feel is that you need to be doing it for the right reasons. Not to make someone else happy, not ‘to look better’, not to ‘fit in’ or because it’s cool. If you’re doing it for yourself, to take care of your body + to stay in shape, that’s what matters + that will motivate you more than selfish reasons. 

So ask yourself: how can I prioritize this better? What are things that maybe aren’t as important? Do I really want to commit to this? Why am I struggling to prioritize it?

OR why am I wanting to exercise? What is my motivation? Am I doing it for the right reasons?

  • schedule it into your day

Especially if you have a busy schedule, preplanning + setting aside the time to exercise, not only will help you find enough time to do it, but will also help you not forget about it. You may not want to add more to your schedule or don’t know a time that would even work. But trust me, if you put it on your calendar or at least have an idea of the days + times you want to do it, that will help tremendously + keep you from putting it off.

  • find the activity that you enjoy + works best for you

Exercise should be something you enjoy– although there are times it is painful + hard, it should be something you look forward to + see the overall benefit from. This plays part into doing it for the right reasons, but also, not making it seem like a chore, but it being something that is pleasurable.

Along with that comes finding the schedule + format that works best for you. You may have friends who love to run or you may have friends who are skilled in strength training. You may have friends who can lift a lot of weights or some who don’t even exercise. Don’t be pressured by this variety. You don’t have to do what your friends are doing if you don’t enjoy it. 

Find what works best for you– what you enjoy! It could be running, the elliptical, weights, resistance bands, no weights… the options are endless. Do what challenges your body + gives you a good workout… don’t let it be determined by what your friends are doing or what you’ve heard from the internet.

  • comparison is real

It is so easy to compare yourself to others whether it’s how many times they exercise, what their muscle tone is, how fit people are or what they’re able to do in the gym. You may be comparing yourself to your friends or maybe even strangers you’ve never met.

Let me tell you, it’s important to remember how unique you are, not only in how your body was created, but in your abilities + skills. You may not be able to do what other people are doing, but you are not them. You do not have the same genetics or circumstances or experience as them.

Hold on to how you were created, what’s healthy for you + recognize your limits. Try to not focus too much on other people from a comparative perspective. Instead, look at is as: ‘wow, what they’re doing is pretty cool. Good for them!’ but don’t let it take away from you + your abilities. 

  • don’t beat yourself up for not exercising every day (or however long)

I used to get upset at myself if I didn’t exercise on days. I had the unrealistic expectation that I needed to have a good workout every single day. Although I would like to be active every day, it is just not possible if I want to balance + prioritize everything else. 

Please don’t be too hard on yourself! Give yourself grace for when you mess up or don’t exercise. It is okay if you miss a day or two or three because you were busy (or even if you just didn’t want to). This kinda goes back to the other tips about prioritizing + making room for it, not excuses. With the right mindset, it may actually motivate you even more if you miss a day (I hope it would). 

But also, you may need to change your perspective on exercise. Even if you’re only able to get a 10 minute workout in or walk around your school campus for a bit– that is still exercise + moving your body. You don’t need to work out for an hour every day or always have a hard workout. It’s all about balance.

Although I am not a doctor or health professional, I have a passion for health/fitness + have learned a lot with my time in college + life experiences so I hope this post could help you out with motivating + encouraging you towards exercising in college… or really with any stage of life that you are in.

If you enjoyed this post, check out 8 Exercise Ideas For College where you can find a variety of ways you can keep your body moving in college… it doesn’t just have to be by going to the gym.

Let’s exercise + use our bodies for the glory of God + take care of what God has given us!

Have a great day!

<3 Ainsley