Making the Gym Work for You

The tuition I pay to U of T doesn’t just fund my classes, but a whole bunch of services and opportunities as well. It was primarily for this reason that I was inspired to check out the athletic facilities available to me as a U of T student.

I wouldn’t consider myself an “athletic” person. I never played any sports in high school or had any interest in working out. I always thought that sports were "for the boys", and I would find no real merit in going to the gym, playing a sport, or really any extracurricular activity that demanded a certain level of physical movement. I grew out of this mindset later in my life, but this mentality solidified my lifestyle. I had taken up hobbies and interests that required me to sit down for extended periods of time, such as reading, writing, or knitting. 

As I entered university, I quickly realized the value of getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Being in class and studying all day meant sitting at a desk and staring at a screen for hours. All of these things combined inspired me to take on the New Year's resolution of going to the gym routinely! I was able to successfully go to the gym at least once a week for an entire semester. For some people, this may not be a big milestone — but it meant a lot for me! It was super satisfying to finally start going to the gym and successfully conquer an environment I long felt out of place in.

In this blog post, I look back on a year of semi-regular trips to the gym and share four tips on how to make the gym work for you.

  1. Everyone has different goals.

The first time I stepped foot in the Athletic Centre was genuinely a horrifying experience. Being in a room full of individuals who all looked like they knew exactly what they were doing made me feel like an outsider, and a little bit like I was in one of those training facilities in The Hunger Games.

It was key for me to remember that everyone around me had different goals and purposes that brought them to the gym. Some of them had been going to the gym routinely, and others were just like me — just looking to get a bit of a workout in between their busy schedules. Remembering this fact helped me get over how self-conscious I felt at the beginning. 

  1. Bring a friend — or two!

Another thing that I always make sure to do whenever I go to the gym is bring a friend along! Whenever I went with others, I was too busy engaging with my friends or doing activities alongside them to feel self-conscious.

Selfie of Selina and a friend at the gym

Scheduling a gym day with my friends was also a great way to get into the routine. With work and classes, it can be easy for me to skip out on going to the gym. By going with friends, we’re all able to hold each other accountable for the commitment we made!

  1. Timing is key.

Many of my gym anxieties come from how busy the athletic facilities can get. When the gym was too busy, I found it hard to focus on myself and work out without being distracted by others or wondering what they thought of me.

I’ve found that I had the best experience when I went to the Athletic Centre during women-only hours. The Athletic Centre was significantly less busy, plus being in an all-women environment made me feel much safer and more comfortable!

Photo of Selina and her friend Zainab at the gym, smiling
Me and my friend Zainab at the Athletic Centre during Women Only Hours!
  1. Have fun!

Ultimately, my only commitment to going to the gym was to myself. I was not pressured to hit a certain goal, reach a specific weight, or anything similar. I really wanted to just have fun and make going to the gym an activity I looked forward to.

I will admit that when I go to the gym with my friends, we are not pursuing the most high-intensity workouts out there. We really just used the time to get a little bit of movement in, and also catch up with each other after a busy week — and that’s totally okay! I find that so much of social media and “gym culture” doesn’t connect with me, and I got more value out of the Athletic Centre by prioritising what I would do rather than what social media told me to do.

I hope these tips inspire you to check out the Athletic Centre today! Going to the gym and staying fit doesn’t need to be so complicated. It’s all about how to use the facilities to your advantage and incorporating healthy habits in your everyday routine in a way that works best for you.

– Selina

0 comments on “Making the Gym Work for You

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *