People say that college is a time for growth. However, what they usually mean by this is a growth of the mind or growth of your horizons, not growth of your waistline. This can be a challenge for many college students as many former athletes are now left with no designated practice times, and even those once-diligent gym rats find themselves struggling to find time in their busy schedule to squeeze in a quick workout here or there. Perhaps you fall into the category of, “I am not really one for working out, but I am stressed and need an outlet that is not chocolate.” Whatever your reason, planning a trip to the gym can be stressful, especially if you are working toward fitness goals but were woefully unprepared by high school gym teachers who liked to play kickball more than they enjoyed teaching weight training.
In recent years, more and more people have been finding that their fitness affinity is not one that inclines them toward the gym atmosphere. Perhaps you are self-conscious and don’t like the feeling of being watched while running, lifting or doing yoga. Maybe you feel lost wandering around the gym, not knowing what exercises to do. Or you feel unmotivated to work out if there is not someone to hold you accountable and push you to do more and work out to your full potential. Whatever the reason, there is a solution: the internet. College students are ideal online fitness targets as we are pressed for time, often stressed and fluent technology users.
If you are the individual who is self-conscious at the gym, give yourself some grace—a loud, sweaty environment is not for everyone. Instead, why not look up a barre, Zumba, pilates or yoga workout on your phone and follow the instructor on how to better improve yourself in the comfort of your dorm room or your dorm basement? This eliminates the stress of having to mentally prepare to leave your room, change into that “gym grunge but still stylish outfit” and the anxiety that ultimately makes you dislike an experience that should be stress relieving rather than stressful. YouTube is helpful in this regard, but so is subscribing to a month-long membership (usually around $25 a month) on Vimeo if you are more particular about your workouts.
Perhaps you are the former three-sport athlete who is used to being held accountable by your teammates and coaches but suddenly find yourself a little lost without their energy and encouragement. By utilizing an online workout, individuals are often guided by an instructor in a class or in a virtual one on one session. The convenience of an online platform combined with the personal motivation or group atmosphere (depending on your preference) may be the extra nudge you need to get back in shape before beach season rolls back around.
Finally, maybe you are the person who never had to work out before, or you never had the inclination. Regardless, if your single semester of gym in high school is a long-repressed memory, the internet can be a helpful guide to tracking and finding new means of working out. If you’re looking to lose weight, you can find a plan that breaks down into daily workouts that prepare you to run a 10k in two months. Want to tone and shape your arms? Let a few resistance band exercises lead the way to a more sculpted figure. The internet has tools created by trainers and athletes that anyone can access. Offering you the knowledge of someone who is experienced without having to undergo all the trial and error, these programs often eliminate the feelings of cluelessness that make people feel unsuccessful and uncomfortable walking around the gym. Granted, the internet is not a fix-all for avoiding the gym or getting in the best shape of your life. However, it is a resource that often goes unnoticed as students believe their academic and athletic lives are two entirely separate entities.
Working out is, at times, more psychological than it is physical. The fears we have about working out are mental before they manifest themselves in avoidance tactics. Fortunately, the gym is not a fear you need to overcome. Instead, it can be circumvented by way of online classes and guides to a healthier version of yourself.