Fit Intimidation Is Real
Health |  Source: @mattmylesphoto

Fit Intimidation Is Real

I'm sure the fit people don't mean to scare me... probably

It's that time of year yet again.

Everyone is resolving to have a fit and healthy 2017 (including me), though by the end of February the number of people who have really resolved to get fit will be obvious.

For most people, getting fit involves getting some sort of membership. Whether its an online fitness program (there are so many, and some of them are fantastic), getting a membership for the local gym, or ordering one of those infomercial workout DVD's, most people are going to try something.

My angle is that I'm going to try going to the local gym. It's right beside campus (and I live on campus) and students get a steep discount on access to the facilities - pool, fitness center, track, etc. I headed over there one night, determined to pay for the first month of that pass and commit myself to being a paying full access member of the gym.

As soon as I walked in the door, my heart started pounding in my chest. Fit people... fit people everywhere.

I didn't fit in. I was just a skinny-fat unfit person who didn't know a barbell from a normal bell. Not to mention I was the only one wearing winter clothing, even though the lobby was filled with people who weren't actively working out. Are fit people immune to the cold or something? (Would I ever love that benefit though.)

Have you ever been in that position? Wanting to join a gym but just too intimidated to try? I couldn't even get up the nerve to check out the upstairs area when the woman at the front desk said I could look around.

If you haven't (if you're a fit person or just someone who has no social awkwardness at all)... I'm here to tell you why going to a gym is just so intimidating.

It feels like everyone is looking at me.

Who knows - maybe they are, maybe they aren't. The fact of the matter is that I feel like they are. Do you have any idea how scary that is? I don't want people judging me based on the amount of arm muscles I have (not many) or the size of my stomach (growing as I polish off the last of the Christmas chocolate).

How embarrassing would it be to use a piece of equipment wrong?

Pretty damn embarrassing. Oh gosh, was this supposed to be used on my arms? Really? How the hell did I manage to do a leg workout with it then? I guess that's why everyone's been giving me weird looks...

How embarrassing would it be to have to ask how to use a piece of equipment?

Ahhhhh no way. I don't want to look incompetent. I want to project this aura of 'I'm a fit person' - when really I'm not. Maybe I'll just stick to the treadmill and stair-climber. That's cardio. And they're easy to use.

I can't stop thinking about how I look compared to all of these muscular people.

Honestly, I can't help but feel like a walrus next to someone who can run at twice the speed I can. Some people might call that motivation. 'You could look just like them if you try!' In my opinion, it's just intimidation. Like they want me to get out of their gym and go back to where I came from.

It's a real struggle to get up the courage to go to the gym. I'm rooting for anyone out there who's trying to make their fitness resolution a reality this year, and remember...

Despite the eternal truth in that statement, your health and well-being is more than worth it. Fight the fit intimidation (whether they mean it or not) and get that workout in!

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Six Manageable New Year's Resolutions

Lez be real: you're not going to finish that book.

There's a new year on the horizon, followed by a list of resolutions you've probably created in your head to make yourself seem motivated. Let's be honest. You're not going to go to the gym five times a week. You most likely won't find enough time in your schedule to volunteer at the homeless shelter. And you're never going to finish that book you started two years ago.

I'm not judging, but it's the truth. Every January 1, we tell ourselves that we are going to do something productive in the New Year, but mostly never follow through with our plans.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I want this year to be different. With adulthood quickly approaching, I want to make a change in myself that I can actually feel. Here's six ways on how I plan on doing just that:

1. Stop caring so much about what other people think. As women, it's in our nature, but you have to stop worrying so much about how you're perceived by others. It's a toxic anxiety to have because you turn into a "people-pleaser," and no one like those types of people.

2. Buy a planner, and start keeping a schedule. You need to start organizing your life as far as school, my job, friends, etc. No one wants to be around a space cadet who can't get her shit together.

3. Learn how to budget. The "spending money on unnecessary things" has got to stop. Creating a budget and limiting yourself is a great way to prepare for post-college poorness.

4. Teach yourself how to cook. It's not that hard, and it's an important life skill--so ya might as well start now! You can even treat yourself to one of those cute, trendy cookbooks from Urban Outfitters to make yourself feel more productive.

5. Become more health-conscious. Sometimes it's hard to commit to going to the gym, or even modifying your diet to shed some lbs. But, you can make realistic promises to yourself such as not taking that extra shot of Vlad at the pregame, or not ordering insomnia pizza at 2 a.m.

6. Pick a hobby. Do something that you enjoy--and something that makes you happy. It's important to keep yourself stimulated and find an outlet to blow off some steam when you're feeling stressed. Try something like knitting, or even keeping a journal.

There's plenty more you can do to make small, manageable changes in your life. These are just some ideas to kick of your new year in the right direction. Best of luck, and happy New Year.

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Health |  Source: @kcuthus

Seven Tips To Keep Your Fitness Resolution

Trust me, you're a lot more capable than you think.

Committing to your health and dedicating yourself to hitting the gym more often is inarguably the most popular New Years Resolution. As an avid gym goer myself, I commend anyone who sets this goal. There's nothing more rewarding than a happy, healthy body.

However, neither of these results happen overnight. Unfortunately, people won't consider this so they'll quit, and then these results never occur. To keep this from happening to you, I've put together a few tips to help keep you on track and ultimately reach your goals.

1. Start out slow.
If you vow to hit the gym two hours a day for six days a week, you're setting yourself up to fail. I refuse even sugarcoat that.

Your body isn't accustomed to rigorous exercise and you need to allow it to adjust. Not only will you feel like shit if you start out too strong, but you'll be sure to burn out in no time from the over exertion.

2. Create a routine.
Are you going to focus on cardio? Weightlifting? Classes? Create a combination of the three? Whatever the case, plan your workout before you enter the gym that way you won't feel overwhelmed when you walk in.

I always recommend checking out youtube and fitness websites/magazines before planning your first routine. Once you become more experienced you may spontaneously decide the day's workout, but until then, a game plan is never a bad idea.

3. Set a goal.
Do you want to lose five pounds? Ten? Grow a pair of biceps? Squat 150 pounds? Just feel confident in a bikini?

You're more likely to stay focused when you're conscious of the changes you want to see and not just engaging in mindless exercise.

4. Be flexible when tracking.
Tracking your progress could be a great way to keep your eye on the prize, but it could also be a completely discouraging if you're moving slower than you expected. Instead of choosing specific deadlines to hit milestones, provide a range of around two or three weeks and don't beat yourself up if you're slightly under your expectation. Trust the process and have patience.

5. Eat healthy.
Many people don't think to add this to their resolution list, but it goes hand-in-hand with fitness. You're more likely to ask yourself "what's the point?" and throw in the towel on the days you ate like shit just because you were already off to a crappy start.

Your body is a temple and when you eat clean, you'll naturally feel compelled to continue taking care of your amazing self.

6. Plan your gym schedule.
Don't count on yourself to get to the gym whenever you feel ready; life gets in the way and if you don't set a time to work out you probably won't make the effort. At the beginning of each week, look at the times you go to class, eat, and study, and then create a time slot for the gym.

It will be a lot easier to hold yourself accountable when you have a schedule.

7. Find a gym buddy.
Another clever method of accountability is to hit the gym with a friend. Humans are naturally competitive, and neither of you will want to be the lazy undisciplined friend, and you'll force the other to get up off their ass too.

8. Imagine your future self.
Look back at #2 and envision yourself in your dream body having fulfilled your goals. Keep that mental picture in your mind every time you wake up, go to the gym, and especially on the days you feel inclined to quit.

The most satisfying result of fitness is realizing each day that you're a little more capable than you were yesterday, and within no time you'll become addicted to the feeling. So don't give up-- the only one stopping you is yourself.

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Health |  Source: @_eatandlove_

Stop Fearing Food

Why take pictures of pizza when you can eat it?

My first day of school I did a quick run through the dining hall, then ran right back to my dorm room without eating a thing. I was terrified to eat here. I had never had such an abundance of food at my fingertips. I was terrified of the dining hall.

It was full of so many temptations. My room was safe and stocked up with my usual safety food, which meant Nature Valley bars and Cheerios. Foods I could monitor. I was terrified of calories and gaining weight, and that's exactly what college was threatening to do to me in this very moment.

Skinny. It's all I ever wanted to be. And yet, even when I was at my tiniest, I wasn't happy. Because I couldn't be like some girls, who literally had legs the size of my arms. Growing up I was called "chubby but cute", "muscular and stockier", "bulkier."

These words were drilled into my head. By the end of high school I had reached a bad stage of my life: I had broken up with my boyfriend, and I decided to settle that heartbreak by excessively working out and limiting my intake to less than 1200 calories a day.

So when college came around, I lost control. I had dropped over 25 pounds within the last year, and most of it was unnaturally unhealthy. What most people thought were abs were my ribs poking painfully out of my stomach.

I was below the weight my body type needed, and it rebelled by nourishing itself. It took away the nausea, the pangs in the stomach, the anemia I had given myself from lack of food. It was tired of vitamin supplements and bars in place of meals.

I still tried to resist. I found myself making two trips a day to the gym in an attempt to stop it. I tried to keep myself from the dining halls, yet the more I deprived myself, the worse the binges got.

By the end of first semester, I had reached one conclusion: I had a major problem with food.

So what did I do? I set out to solve this problem.

I was not working out half as much, and I was enjoying myself. I made less excuses as to why I couldn't go to dinner with friends and began accepting that I had to eat around other people.

I also opened up to my best friends on campus about my issues with food, which was one of the best things I could have possibly done - and I still managed to drop off a lot of the weight I had battled with first semester without even trying.

Unconsciously, I had succeeded in doing what I never could have done with the obsessive, unhealthy mindset I was in.

I can't say I am perfect and have overcome all obstacles when it comes to food, but I can say this: learn to love your body. Skinny doesn't correlate with happiness. Weight won't make a guy, or anyone for that matter, like you any more or any less.

You can't spend your entire life worrying about what's going on your plate.

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Health |  Source: @aubreeplodinec

Tips for Staying Fit Abroad

It's hard to do when you're away from home.

If you're abroad like I am, you might be struggling with staying fit and healthy. You're probably eating delicious food, legally drinking wine, and devouring gelato and cappuccinos every day.

If you're in a city, you probably walk an average of two miles per day because you have to go to class, the grocery store, and to your favorite hangout spots. However, walking is not as satisfying as the gym or a sports game.

I've found that joining a gym is not very realistic because a) it's hella expensive b) the gym is far away c) you wouldn't use it like you would on a typical college campus.

Even though it's already November, it's not too late to start living a more balanced lifestyle. One of my November goals is to start eating healthier and working exercise (other than walking) into my day. Here are some helpful and realistic tips to live a balanced abroad lifestyle!

Write a daily workout routine/schedule.
Pinterest has an amazing variety of daily workouts. Take an hour to sit down and look at different ones before throwing your own master workout list. Post it somewhere you will see it all the time to keep you motivated!

I have a workout routine for every day (except Sunday--gotta have an off day) in addition to days that I will run. I didn't realize how effective home workouts really can be. You don't need a lot of space to get cardio and ab work in!

Eat salad.
A lot of my diet in Italy has, of course, consisted of pizza and pasta. It's taken me two months to go to the grocery store and buy lettuce, fruit, and vegetables to put into salad form.

I forgot how delicious salad is, not to mention healthy! Some baby arugula, goat cheese, green apples, walnuts with balsamic and olive oil hits the spot, leaving you feeling full and good.

Cut back on your sweet tooth.
Try limiting yourself to gelato or pizza to once or twice a week instead of three to four times a week. You can still enjoy it, just less frequently.

Get a friend to help.
Friends can be great sources of motivation! Have them work out with you and eat healthy with you. You guys can push each other to get stronger.

This is a no brainer, but sleep is essential to your well-being. It can be hard on the nights when you want to go out with your friends before an 8 a.m., but make sure you are getting at least eight hours a night.

The abroad experience is one of the most invigorating and amazing experiences you'll ever have in your life. You'll learn unforgettable lessons, create lifelong memories, and make best friends. You should enjoy the food, culture, and sites, but it's important to keep things in perspective. Your health comes first!

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Why New Year's Resolutions Are Bullshit

...stop making empty promises to yourself.

You're not fooling anyone by saying you're going to get a six-pack by summer; you'd be in shape if you really wanted to be in shape. Making New Year's resolutions is practicing making empty promises. If anything, they're just making you more comfortable with backing out on things you said you'd do. I think after reading these 5 points, you'll find yourself over the whole resolution thing, too.

1. You don't need to wait until the beginning of the year to make changes. People see New Year's resolutions as being these great opportunities to improve something in their life, when really New Year's resolutions are an excuse to be lazy for the rest of the year and wait until the next to get off your ass and make the changes you supposedly want to make. Why do you have to wait until the great hangover of January 1 to hit the gym or read a book?

2. No one ever sticks to them. Never. Let me paint you a picture of a gym the first week of the year; ellipticals and treadmills filled with middle-aged women and men trying to get the body they had when they were younger. The machines and free weights are all taken up by slightly out-of-shape young adults hoping to get hot and find love this year. Fast forward to 3 weeks later; there's maybe 5 people left in the cardio room and the only people left working on getting toned are already in shape. Now of course there are many other failed resolutions, but this just happens to be the most common and relatable.

3. You're only making changes because you feel like you have to not because you want to. Most of us probably aren't making resolutions for the hell of it. We're making them because we know we're inevitably going to be asked by a handful of people what our resolutions are. We pick one thing and tell people that's what we're going to work on this year because we feel obligated to work on something.

4. You're destined to feel like a failure about 3 weeks in. Just take a look back at point 2, you're not going to stick to your resolution and that's just going to make you feel worse than if you never even made one in the first place. Any goal given a start date is most likely going to flop. If you really wanted to do something, you'd start now. Not wait until a giant glittery ball dropped.

5. New Year's resolutions are really just a cycle of failed resolutions past. The past five years have probably been a rotation of saying that you're going to working out more, read more, or find love that year. I'm willing to bet you're still out of shape, all you've read is the summaries on Netflix when trying to pick a show to binge watch, and you're also probably doing this all alone. Guess what? You didn't find love. Not that anything is wrong with that; you do you. But stop promising yourself the same thing every year only to know you're not going to do any of it.