A Beginner’s Guide to Fitness

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m that crazy person who wakes up at 6:30am before class and goes to the gym for an early morning workout. I go to the gym approximately 4-5 days a week and work out on average for about an hour. I also eat from 1,500-2,200 calories a day with this routine. However, I wasn’t always this way, it took me a while to get a healthy exercise regime down.

I had never gone to the gym before college because I swam competitively since the 6th grade, so I never felt the need to. I didn’t feel the need to until my senior year of high school because I felt that I needed to “get hot” before college (yeah, I actually said that and I low-key hate myself for it). However, the way that I went about it was all wrong.

Now, I have always struggled with liking my body ever since I could remember. I was always taller than the other girls – I think in 3rd grade I was the tallest person in my class (yes, even the boys) – and I have never been lean. I think I first started wearing bras when I was 9 years old(?). I have always been, for lack of a better term, bigger than my peers.

Now, back to senior year of high school, I was trying to lose weight, but the way that I went about it was entirely unhealthy. For months, I ran on the treadmill 30-60 minutes and ate 1000 calories or less each day. It didn’t last long, because I got an after-school nanny job in addition to my part-time retail job near the end of senior year so I didn’t have time to work out as much. However, I decided to continue these unhealthy habits in my freshman year of college.

It wasn’t until I realized that I couldn’t enjoy my life if I was constantly counting my calories and logging in time at the gym. When you deprive your body of the energy it needs to function properly, you can’t perform mentally or physically. So I decided to make a change. By the second semester of freshman year, I exercised for a normal amount of time and ate sufficient calories each day. I had developed a healthy way of maintaining my weight.

To be honest, I’m not one for health food. You won’t find me carrying around a green smoothie; I love fried chicken, burritos and especially ice cream. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can still have those foods but you have to practice moderation. I also won’t boast that I have a 6-pack or anything – because I don’t – but I’ve learned to become comfortable with myself and the belly fat that I have. But nevertheless, I go to the gym and eat well most of the time so I can maintain the body that I have and I also – gasp – LIKE going to the gym.

Here are some tips for those of you who want to change their lifestyle:

1. DON’T BE AFRAID OF LIFTING WEIGHTS. You won’t become a bodybuilder by lifting 10 lbs. Lifting weights actually burns more calories than just doing cardio alone. You’ll tone your body and see results faster. I can’t tell you how much I want to shake girls in the gym who just sit on the elliptical for half an hour and leave.

2. DRINK ALL THE WATER. I can’t get over how great water is. It’s great for detoxing, clearing your skin, and staying energized. You’ll find that you’ll be able to work out longer and harder. Oh yeah, and water is FREE.

3. INTERVAL TRAINING IS GREAT. Check out my “Fit Tips” Pinterest board to find some great HIIT workouts. Not only do you burn more calories by doing your cardio this way, it also feels like you’re doing less.

4. DON’T GET STUCK IN A RUT. Don’t confine yourself to the same routine every day. You’ll get bored. Go on the elliptical today and then go outside and run the next day.

5. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. Don’t expect to go to the gym once and see results. They say that it takes 21 days to form a habit. It also takes about 4 weeks for you to start seeing a change in your body. So don’t quit.

6. TREAT YOUR BODY RIGHT. Don’t overextend yourself. Listen to your body. If you’re sore, skip today’s workout. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re thirsty, drink. Please, make sure you’re eating the right amount of calories.

Working out is great for boosting energy, relieving stress, performing better in school and for battling the nastiest of hangovers. What kind of things do you do at the gym?


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