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Showing up for yourself

My eyes wanted to close. I was utterly exhausted, and the thought of doing anything

besides curling up in a tight ball honestly made me want to cry a little. Nonetheless, I dragged myself through the library door, changed quickly in my dorm, and went to the gym.

Did I feel awake once I stepped foot on the treadmill? Absolutely not. But my slow, sleepy

walk transitioned itself to a steadily paced run. And now, here I am, able to focus and write this blog post.

Ten or twenty minutes is truly all it takes to turn your mindset from “I can’t do this

anymore” to “one thing at a time.” As an ex-student athlete, the transition to college has been difficult as I no longer have mandatory sports practices (with the added bonus of a coach yelling at me to run faster). Not only do I now have to determine when to go to the gym, but I am my own coach.

How have I learned to be my own coach? Most importantly, how have I ensured that I

even make it to the gym? If you feel yourself in a similar situation or are heading into college

and want to start on the right foot, you’ve found yourself in the perfect place. Currently, in my second semester, I’ve found a few tricks to pass along to make this–seemingly

treacherous–endeavor slightly easier.

First: mindset, mindset, mindset. I don’t have to go to the gym. I get to go to the gym. I

get to go because I am healthy enough to run. I get to go, and I get to release endorphins to put myself in a better mood. Change your phrasing, and you’ll change your mindset. I also changed the way I envisioned the gym. Instead of putting pressure on myself to be as fast as X or lift Y amount of weight, I challenge myself to do the absolute best I can whenever I step foot in the gym–and that often depends on the day. The gym is a calming space where I listen to my favorite music.

Second: schedule. School. Sports. Dinner. Shower. Homework. Repeat. I am a person of

structure, likely because this was my schedule throughout middle and high school (AKA slightly less than half of my life). In contrast, the only inherent structure your college schedule has is your classes, which meet infrequently. I like to schedule gym time into my day as if it were a class. I am good at sticking to a schedule and ensuring the gym remains a priority.

Now, when should you go to the gym? That is a personal preference, and there is no

right time to go. Some people like to go in the morning to set themselves up for a successful

rest of the day. Others, like myself, prefer to go in the afternoon for a personal debrief session of the day’s events. When I originally sat down to write this, I had one sentence on the page. I couldn’t think of anything to say. After dragging myself to the gym, I rushed straight to the computer, and a wave of ideas surged through my fingertips onto the keyboard. The best part about it is you don’t have to be awake to go to the gym; the gym can be what wakes you up.

If this doesn’t seem like you and you don’t want to be your own coach, that is totally ok. You can and should still make the gym a part of your schedule by signing up for a class. Many of my friends enjoy pilates, yoga, and other exercise classes which are often discounted through the university. Also, some college gyms have instructors who lead classes. This is an awesome opportunity to ensure you stick to a class schedule and are provided with a coach.

Some days, I look forward to my run and practically sprint from my last class to the gym.

Other days, like today, not so much. However, I’ve noticed a significant change in my mood every time. Remember that the gym is your time for you. You can go for as long as you want.

The most important thing is showing up for yourself.

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