So, you want to workout. Whether it’s to shed a few pounds before the holiday season hits or to completely change your lifestyle, it’s hard to know where to start. The first and most important thing you can do is realize that you need to set a routine! So, kudos to you, you’ve taken the first step! Here are a few tips to get you started on your fitness journey, and to help you establish a workout routine you can stick to: 

What’s your schedule like? 

The most important part of any workout routine is consistency. Take a look at your schedule: When do you have the time? As a college student, my class schedule is set, the only variable in my week is my workload. I know that my Tuesdays and Thursdays are incredibly hectic, but I am always free during the 4:00 p.m. spin class and I dedicate that hour every Tuesday and Thursday to attend spin.

Also, consider whether or not you’re a morning person and when you like to shower. I am the complete opposite of a morning person, and even though I get up regularly to do homework in the mornings, something about waking up and running makes my bed that much more comfortable. But when I plan on going to the gym in the evening, I find the idea much more bearable. I also shower at night, so working out in the early afternoon is perfect for me. If you are an early-riser or like to shower in the mornings, consider planning your workout sesh before you start your day. 

What goals are you looking to achieve? 

Okay, so you carved out some time in your schedule, but what now? The things to consider are the goals you’re looking to achieve. Are you looking to lose weight, tone, build muscle or train for a race? Build your workout routine around your goals. If you're looking to lose weight, incorporate more cardio into your routine like a cycling class or running — and balance it with strength training. If you're looking to tone or to strengthen, understand how you need to exercise. Lower reps and heavier weights help to build muscle and higher reps and lower weights help to tone and build endurance. Remember, regardless of your goals, it's important to include strength training. Studies show that after lifting, you will continue to burn calories after your workout, even hours later!

What do you like to do? 

Do you like to hit the gym solo or do you need someone next to you to motivate you? Do you like running on the treadmill, or do you find yourself getting bored? Personally, I like going to the gym alone, but when it comes to running on the treadmill, I get bored and become unmotivated. I end up not having a good cardio session and I get irritated. So I began to look for alternatives! I like going to group classes such as spinning or yoga to switch up my routine every once in awhile; I don’t get bored, and the presence of others helps motivate me to push harder. 

If you’re like me, consider incorporating group classes into your workout routine. If you don’t like going to the gym alone, or find it hard to stick to your routine, try working out with friends or getting a personal trainer to hold you accountable.

Hopefully, these tips will help you establish your own workout routine and get you started on your own physical fitness journey!