Being a college student means you’re always on the move. And whether it’s club activities, part-time jobs, sorority planning or just trying to study for your classes that’s taking up your time, it can make mixing in a workout seem nearly impossible. Student athletes know this all too well—but unlike the rest of us, they don’t have the luxury of skipping a sweat sesh when they don’t feel like it. Which means they’ve had to come up with some pretty foolproof ways to get themselves up off of the couch on days when they’re just not feeling it. To find out how they do it, we turned to them for expert tips on how to motivate yourself to work out—and clearly, they know what they’re talking about. Scroll through for the simple strategies they use to making getting to the gym on the daily a little bit easier.
- Wear your gym clothes to class: “The past two semesters I’ve had mostly late afternoon classes, so I usually wear my workout clothes to class. It’s good motivation to head straight to the gym,” says University of Miami volleyball player Andrea Barreiro. Are you often tempted to sit down and relax in your dorm after class? Skip that step altogether by wearing your gym gear during the day so you’re more likely to go straight to the gym instead of going home.
- Get a gym buddy: “I think the thing that motivates me on the days that get tough are my teammates,” says University of Florida swimmer Kelly Fertel. Going to the gym alone can be lonely, so invite a few friends and make it a group affair. You’re less likely to bail if someone else is holding you accountable.
- Make a goal chart: “Just as you do with other aspects of your life, set goals for when you are working out. Make sure to physically write them out, because if you can see your goals, you’re more motivated to chase after them,” says University of South Florida soccer player Margaret Mary McMurtry. Whether your goal is to gain muscle or just hit the gym a certain number of times each week, having them in sight will serve as an extra incentive.
- Stop viewing it as an annoyance: “I use my workouts as a way to take my mind off of how stressful the other parts of my life are. It’s a little time I can take for myself,” says Florida State University cheerleader Brooklyn Farrell. Instead of viewing your workout as another chore, think of it as a great way to destress instead. And since sometimes the confinement of a gym can be stressful in itself, go for a run around campus or grab your bike and roam your city to relax and get some fresh air.
- Wake up earlier: “Find a good program to follow, and do it early in the morning before your day gets busy,” says University of California, Davis volleyball player Emily Allen. Often, waiting until “later” to go to the gym allows you to convince yourself not to go. Instead of letting that happen, be proactive and do it first thing in the morning before you can talk yourself out of it.
- Sign up for a class: “I take the classes they offer at the gym. You get penalized if you miss them, so that’s one way I ensure that I workout,” says University of Florida volleyball player Amanda Orzechowicz. Instead of trying to hold yourself accountable, let your gym do the work. Book a class that will give you a solid reason not to skip your workout—and you’ll probably find yourself showing up a lot more often.
- Listen to your body: “Set your workouts for how you feel that day. There are some days where I really don’t want to workout at all so I try to make my workouts not so hard or change certain aspects of my already planned workout. Not all days we are going to be in the mood to have a killer workout,” says Texas Christian University beach volleyball player Natalia Mladenovic. Not feeling that HIIT class? Go to yoga instead. Doing a hard routine that your body isn’t feeling will only make you want to go the gym less in the future, so recognize and respect your limits.
- Turn your goals into a friendly competition: “Competition and motivation always come with a workout partner. You’ll be more motivated if you have someone working out with you and pushing you,” says Georgia Southwestern State University soccer player Sholeh Rezaee. If setting goals just for yourself doesn’t work for you, see if a friend or two will engage in some friendly competition to see who can reach their goals first.
How do you motivate yourself to work out? Comment below and let us know!
Featured photo by Jordyn Wissert.