Winter — a time of snow, cold, ice and bulking? If you made a resolution to get back to the gym in 2018, you may have noticed that the facilities have been very busy these past two months.
Everyone is hustling and putting in work to achieve a great body for their spring break trips. However, gym attendance historically takes a steep decline after the month of March, and resolutions are often put off again until next January.
In fact, in a 2014 Planet Money report, a Planet Fitness satellite location had 6,000 members signed up for a 300-person capacity gym. However, Planet Fitness found that not even 3,000 of those paying members had ever stepped back into the gym after paying for their initial membership!
Perhaps it was projection bias or good intentions to sign up, but, nevertheless, the people didn’t come back.
Why do we make these resolutions for the short-term? Why are we satisfied with working hard to achieve a spring break bod and then indulging in a week of gluttony followed by months of gym negligence?
“What’s hard now is easy later.”
My mother had this quote posted on my bedroom mirror since I was in elementary school. I have also found this to be true in my fitness endeavors.
Of course, after a long day of sitting through classes, sometimes followed by a work shift or trips to the grocery store, the last thing we want to do is drag ourselves to the gym.
“I’ll get to it tomorrow” or “I’m too tired” are often how we justify it to ourselves. But just how important is sticking to a regular hustle?
The Mayo Clinic reported some of the top benefits of a routine workout as weight control, prevention of health diseases and conditions, mood and energy boosting and better sleep quality.
When I first read of these benefits, I brushed it off, telling myself that I didn’t have time for that on top of pharmacy school curriculum. However, in the summer of 2016, something changed in me.
I found myself donating blood and almost passing out from an inadequate diet and exhaustion from working long hours. I didn’t like how I felt, and now my body was trying to tell me the same.
Something had to change.
I started off small— daily abdominal and arm workouts in my apartment. I would do the elliptical a few times a week mixed in with some squats.
I started to become obsessed with the results — the better I felt, the more I looked forward to my workouts each day. Through the help of my boyfriend teaching me proper form and various new exercises, I found myself frequenting the gym and using machines I had always been too intimidated to try.
I loved pushing myself to finish a rep or moving up a weight class. I loved pushing my body to its limits and feeling my strength grow each day.
Perhaps my body didn’t look too entirely different, but I felt so much more physically (and mentally) strong. I do, in fact, believe that this emphasis on my physical health has additionally contributed to my overall academic and social wellness.
I feel well-rested to face each day and approach my academics with a good attitude and the same strength that drives me to push on at the gym.
My urge to you spring break-body seekers: Don’t stop there! Your fitness is not a sprint but a marathon.
Don’t let all the hard work you have put in to get to this point simmer out after the holiday. Wellness should not have a calendar deadline.
Strive to keep setting goals and exceeding them. It is amazing what your body can achieve given the right mindset and dedication.
If finding the time is what has you concerned, remember that it is always easy to make time for something that you deem a priority.
Your physical health is just as important as your school classes, social life or extra-curricular activities.
After all, you are given only one body; treat it as the amazing gift that it is and see all that it can do for you!