By Eric Licis, April 2 2015 —
With summer in sight, being active is front and centre in a lot of students’ minds.
However, it’s common to pick up sedentary habits after a long winter.
It’s hard to rationalize picking up heavy weights and running in place for 45 minutes when there are 10 episodes of your favourite show waiting to be watched at home.
The challenge doesn’t end there. Even after gathering the right motivation to go to the gym, one day of exercise doesn’t cut it.
Like quitting smoking or kicking the fast-food addiction, you must get past the dreaded hump. In this case, getting past the point where the gym is no longer an errand, but instead an enjoyable part of your daily regimen.
“There’s definitely a hump if you have not done any physical activity in a while, and in my opinion, the longer it’s been, the harder the hump will be to get over,” said Good Life personal trainer Heidi King. “That said, everyone is different in how they react to the gym.”
While there’s no concrete plan that could alleviate the mental hump, there are many tricks and tips.
King says that it’s important to start small, so as not to discourage yourself from getting back in the gym.
“For anyone who has been away from the gym for a while, it’s important to do less for a longer period of time,” King said. “It’s also important to remember that how much muscle has been lost affects your strength and performance. So limiting your expectations is critical.”
Fifth-year U of C student and Canadian national skeleton racer Nathanael Darrell emphasized a commitment and reward system while keeping away from the impulses to quit.
“You always feel great after your first couple of days back in the gym,” Darrell said.
Darrell also says to reward yourself for the effort you’re putting towards your end goal.
“But once you get back into your routine at home, whether it’s watching Netflix or just lounging around, you’re bound to find yourself back into those old ways again. The best way to combat the urge for complacency is to treat yourself after a workout. Feel good about your accomplishments and don’t feel bad when you don’t necessarily hit your goals.”
In the end, the gym is a great resource for those wanting to get back in shape. But for those who don’t like the gym, there are several different options for exercise. Organized sports and home workout equipment allow for a different spin, but the presence of a “hump” doesn’t go away with that change.
Darrell says that in the end it’s up to you to find the motivation to push forward.
“No one person is the same,” he said. “If you really want to keep going on with your workouts, you’ll keep going. If you don’t, well, Netflix is still pretty fun.”