Can I just take a moment to say it’s been a whole two weeks since I started this “fitness journey” thing I’m on and I haven’t quit yet?? That sounds a bit pathetic when I write it out, but two weeks of working out almost daily and eating home-cooked meals three times a day is not an easy thing to transition to from literally never working out and stopping by Chick-fil-a on my walk back from class.
I’ve always been somewhat of a healthy eater (I’ve been off of most processed foods for around two years, don’t drink soda/juices, and have a small enough appetite that portions aren’t a problem), but actually cooking my own meals was never on my priority list. It sounded like too much effort and time that I could spend watching Netflix, so a walk to Chipotle or a microwaved frozen meal were my go-to’s.
Exercise has also been nonexistent throughout college for me. I went from being on two sports teams in high school that took up a combined 6 hours of my life most days to…walking to class. I never put on any weight after freshman year though, so I figured it wasn’t much of a problem!
But now I just feel like crap all the time. I’m out of breath by the time I walk up the stairs, my endurance abilities consist of occasionally running a mile non-stop at a 10-minute pace, and I’m pretty sure I have some nutrient deficiencies that need to be taken care of (results come back Monday ✔️).
So, I came up with a fitness routine to get myself together.
Everyone has different fitness needs and goals, and this is just me telling y’all what I’m doing to get myself into shape. And your fitness routine doesn’t have to have anything to do with losing weight either! I’m pretty okay with my current weight, so anything lost is just an added benefit. These are just some things that have kept me committed and motivated and might help you reach your goals too ⚡️
Know what you like and what you don’t like
I don’t like exercising outdoors, eating chicken + broccoli + rice everyday, or lifting weights. I do like switching up my cardio machines, working out during the morning/daytime, and eating sweet potatoes. So I built my fitness routine around these things.
If you start a routine by doing things you don’t like to do, there’s a good chance you won’t stick with it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t force yourself to do new things, but maybe add those in once you’ve already made a habit of eating healthier and exercising! Know what you like and make sure those things are always incorporated in your routine. Don’t feel guilty about not doing an exercise you see other people doing or not sticking to the stereotypical meal prep recipes.
If you’re not too educated about foods and what your body needs, use a fitness app
I was really curious about what was actually in the foods I’m eating and whether I’m getting the right amounts of nutrients and macros that my body needs, so I’m using My Fitness Pal to track my food and exercise. It’s also a really easy way to convince yourself you don’t need that 8-count nugget meal once you see how many calories are in it (about 700 🙃).
You might think your diet is perfect, but be missing a few nutrients or overeating others! I personally found that I’m getting less than half the amount of iron and calcium I should be getting (I don’t really eat red meat or dairy so not much of a surprise there), and that foods like coconut flakes were adding way more calories to my meals than I imagined. Not necessarily a bad thing if you’re not trying to lose weight, but it’s empowering to know what you put in your body!
For extra motivation + progress tracking, start a Fitness Instagram
Maybe it’s basic, maybe it’s “too much”, but if it works for you who cares?? I saw my blogger friend Kayla start her own and immediately made one for myself (@jessssss.do.it, yes it took 6 s’s to get that name). It’s a no-judgement, no-pressure place for me to see my progress, get tips from friends, and follow other fitness accounts for motivation. No need for filters (I use them because they look cool 😎) or curating a “perfect feed”, and you can keep it private too!
Btw, if you make one, DM me on Instagram so I can follow your journey too!
Start a “healthy foods” board on Pinterest
I had no idea where to start with the whole, home-cooking aspect of this routine, so Pinterest has been a life-saver. I started this board where I pin healthy recipes, so whenever I’m lacking ideas I can just scroll through it. They don’t have to be fancy recipes, I honestly saw a pin with roasted sweet potatoes and carrots that inspired my whole week of meals because that’s how little I know about cooking.
Block out consistent times to workout throughout the week
I’m not the kind of person that just “decides” to work out randomly throughout the day. I need it to be embedded in my routine, so I have a repeating Google calendar event for all my workouts. Right now I do cardio + my strength routine after class on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and just cardio before class on Tuesday/Thursday.
Make a motivating workout playlist
I had no idea how much a song could affect my workout performance but it makes such a difference! I swear, when Sorry Not Sorry comes on I feel no pain and increase my output every time. My entire playlist has a pretty high BPM and has several songs I could scream the lyrics to. Whenever I’m coming to the end of a cardio workout and feel like giving up, I switch to one of those songs and it gives me that extra push to finish strong.
Meal prepping is absolutely worth the time
I avoided meal prepping for all of college and I’m deeply regretting that now. It’s so much easier to tell yourself you have food at home when you actually have food at home. Knowing I can pop a full meal in the microwave is way better than having to spend 30 minutes cooking every day. It takes me about 2 hours (all done on Sunday) to prep for an entire week, and I just listen to podcasts to make the time go by faster.
Right now my meals consist of salmon or chicken with some sort of yummy sauce (not always the healthiest, but I know I won’t eat plain chicken so this is better than not trying at all!), roasted veggies of the week (some mix of sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, whatever I’m feeling that week really), and some fruit to help my sugar cravings. Sometimes I get bored of that, so I have a few healthy frozen meals just in case, and I’m completely okay with letting myself buy a healthy meal around campus a couple times a week if it means sticking to my overall routine!
Breakfast is KEY
Filling myself up at the beginning of the day makes it so much easier to get through class without resorting to campus food or unhealthy splurge snacks. I start every morning with a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit (usually berries or bananas), chia seeds, a bit of granola, and a drizzle of honey. I know I don’t like oatmeal without any form of sweetener and will stop eating it after a few days, so a small amount of honey makes it a meal I’m excited to eat with just a bit of added sugar.
If you really don’t have time in the morning, meal prep some overnight oats! They can get mushy after a few days, but if you don’t mind, then this could be perfect for you.
Buy yourself some cute workout gear
I like looking cute at the gym. I don’t care about having makeup on or perfecting a ponytail, but clothes matter to me. So I bought myself some!
I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that Old Navy is owned by the same company that owns Athleta, but their leggings are fantastic. 90% of my leggings are from Old Navy and they last for years. My favorite pair are their High-Rise Compression Leggings which are only $30 (less than a third of Lululemon or Athleta!!). I admittedly don’t love their workout tops, the material and style just isn’t for me, but I’ll be buying my leggings here until I actually earn my first paycheck.
Forever21 is where my fitness splurges usually happen. Their stuff is so cute and affordable! I picked up five sports bras a couple weeks ago, all of which were under $16 and feel high-quality. This one is my favorite purchase (you can see it on me here), and these are some of the other ones I grabbed or similar options:
Here’s to getting fit and knocking out goals! ⚡️ Don’t forget to follow my fitness account if you want to keep up with my progress and let me know how your routine is coming along!