How to keep your fitness resolutions at Queen’s

Tips for ARC first-timers and regulars

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One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for students is exercise—and it can make January daunting for ARC first-timers and regulars, who can intimidate or irritate each other.

Here are some tips to help you survive the recent influx of gym goers, whether you’re a beginner or veteran.

For the beginners

Start small

One of the main reasons people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions is because they’re unrealistic—no one can radically change their life in a week.

Don’t expect to start going to the gym six days a week if you used to go zero. Building habits takes time, so try focusing on working out one day a week at first.

A system I use for my health resolutions is to make them monthly. For example, January’s goal can be dragging yourself to the gym at 7:30am when it’s -20 degrees Celsius outside. February can be the time that you start eating more salads. By March, you can pressure yourself to foam roll every day.

Move step-by-step at your own pace. There’s no use trying to jump ahead to step 10 when you haven’t mastered the others.

Ignore the internet

Your first results may be slow to show. The people you see flexing on Instagram have been working on their physique for years, and there’s no use in obsessing over their appearance.  YouTube or Instagram can be a great place to get workout ideas, but don’t take the influencers’ carefully crafted appearances or advice to heart.

You also don’t have to do endless HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuits because that’s what your favourite Gymshark athlete does. Find a workout style that you like and stick to it. Don’t abandon your preferences because they aren’t what’s trending.

Get a gym buddy

Navigating the ARC by yourself is terrifying. It’s huge, there are weights clanging, and there are people are everywhere. Bring a buddy with you to lean on when you’re feeling uncomfortable.

With a friend, you won’t feel like everyone is watching you and you’ll have someone to talk to in between sets. If you don’t know how to use a machine or do an exercise, you can look like idiots together.

A gym buddy will also hold you accountable for your resolutions. If you plan to meet outside of Grocery Checkout at 7 a.m., you’ll be letting them down if you don’t show up.

For the veterans

Leave your gym buddy at home for once

Where beginners benefit from having someone to guide them through their workout, your friends may be slowing you down. Of course, you shouldn’t ditch them for every workout, but you can be way more efficient when you don’t depend on someone else’s number of reps or daily schedule.

With the ARC full of people just starting out, it’s often best to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Write alternate workouts

There’s nothing worse than walking into the ARC with a workout plan that you’re forced to abandon because the machines you need are being used.

Sometimes, having a plan you’re unable to execute can really put a damper on your desire to workout. Having an arsenal of various exercises and workouts, even though they may not be your favourite, can save you from the frustration of waiting in line for ten minutes just to use the chest press.

Try writing down your workouts in a note on your phone so that you have something to refer to when plan A isn’t an option.

Find the sweet spots

People greatly underestimate the beauty of a lunchtime workout.

Though it’s not perfect timing for everyone’s schedule, I’ve found the ARC experiences a nice lull between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. People who prefer to workout in the mornings are done and off to work or class, and people who prefer afternoon workouts haven’t made their way over.

As well, there are few times more peaceful at the ARC than 10 p.m.—when the dinnertime rush has started leaving and only the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts remain.

For everyone

Be patient

Following the advice of focusing on one resolution, don’t forget to be patient with yourself.

Sometimes you need to skip a workout, or eat a container of ice cream for dinner. That doesn’t mean that you’ve failed your resolution or that your fitness is ruined.

Fitness has room for days off, for your favourite foods, and for a little bit of forgiveness. You’re only human.

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