If You're Nervous About Starting Your Fitness Journey, No Worries. Here's What You Need To Know.

5 Things Everyone Starting Their Fitness Journey Needs To Hear

A journey like this can be nerve-wracking to start, but worth it? Absolutely.

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Coming into college, I told myself that I would start going to the gym more. I played several sports in high school, something I likely would not be doing in college, but I still wanted to stay active. Let's just that I did not hold myself accountable for making an effort to go to the gym at first. Second semester rolled around and this time, I devoted more time to make myself go to the small gym across from the dorm, fitting in even thirty minutes a day, even though I absolutely hated it. Exercise became a chore, and quite honestly, it did not make me feel more confident like I had heard it would.

Coming back for sophomore year, I convinced myself that I was ready for the next step up, the big gym with way more to do and more opportunities to push myself. Throughout the semester, the fitness facility grew to be my absolute favorite place on campus. I would, and still do, look forward to my workouts at the ends of long, stressful days because the feeling I got from exercising and bettering myself was like no other. But let me tell you, it was extremely difficult to take that first step and push myself a bit further out of my comfort zone. My entire first-year spring, my boyfriend attempted to get me to work out at the big gym for months, and I refused because I was so nervous. Don't tell him, but he was right and I should've gone so much earlier. Now in my sophomore spring semester, after several months into my real fitness journey, I know a couple things that my pre-workout-loving self would have benefitted from knowing.

1. No one is going to make fun of you for being a little lost in the gym.

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I refused to go to the big gym all of those months because I was worried about others judging me. I convinced myself that all eyes would be on me, and I would totally make a fool out of myself when trying new workouts. I was so wrong. No one actually cares about what anyone else is doing. I go to the gym with tunnel vision, only focused on my workouts and what I want to do next. Believe me when I say that no one is paying attention to your every step. If anything, it makes me happy when I see other people at the gym pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

2. Starting is the only way you can get better at it.

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Personally, I spent way too time worrying about going to the big gym. I remember complaining that I want to get stronger and become more confident by really pushing myself, but none of that was going to happen unless I actually started. The beginning is the first step in accomplishment, so if you're nervous, just go and congratulations, you're already taken your first step toward reaching a goal.

3. Lifting does not necessarily make you bulky.

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Lifting is one of my favorite parts about myself. When I started my fitness journey, I began with a lot of cardio and some bodyweight exercises. I only wanted to be a bit leaner and more toned, so I thought I was doing the right thing by not lifting weights. I didn't want to bulk up. However, I was so wrong. Lifting weights create muscle, which does not have to be bulky if you listen to train properly for your goals. Please don't avoid the weights at the gym out of fear that you're magically going to turn into a bodybuilder. Trust me, it's not going to happen (unless you want it to). Instead, you'll find it only helps you in gaining some muscle definition.

4. A 'fit' lifestyle should be a happy lifestyle.

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PSA: Skinny/toned and happy are not the same thing. If you are forcing yourself to go to the gym in order to get skinny but are miserable in the process, you're doing something wrong. Cutting out all "unhealthy" foods in hopes of maintaining a healthy diet is not the way to go! If you are not happy with yourself while you are trying to live a fit lifestyle, you're losing sense of the main goal. Your self-love and happiness should come before any practice that restricts you from truly living. Eat those carbs and love your body.

5. Listen to your body.

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Speaking of loving your body, take care of it!! Part of fitness is knowing when you need to take a day off. Forcing yourself to go to the gym all seven days of the week even if you have the flu or are deathly sore from leg day four days ago is not okay. Listen to your body if it tells you to eat more. Listen to your body if it tells you to snooze your alarm for your 8 a.m. workout. Listen to your body if it tells you to take an extra day off because you still walk up stairs without jello legs. Your body will thank you for it.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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I Reached My Weight Loss Goal, And You Can, Too

It's only impossible if you think it is.

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Would you believe I used to be 235 lbs? Me neither. Today is a special occasion for me because I have reached my goal of 160 lbs. I can now begin my next goal to 155 and then start building muscle. However, just because I was able to shed all that weight does not mean you can't do it too. Losing weight is difficult, but definitely not impossible and I dare anyone that is stuck in a rut in weight loss to go beyond their limits in exercising. So let's see my journey of how I got here and how anyone else can be this successful too.

Discipline and moderation is the main thing you need to practice. When I was 235 lbs, I was not eating the right foods. I found myself stuffing my face with junk food and high carb foods. When you don't use the short term energy, it gets stored as body fat. So I began to cut down on processed sugars and carbs and replaced it with vegetables. They are great craving killers and have helped eliminate the cravings for junk food.

It also doesn't help that I was also doing drugs. Being a former smoker and drinker, I can say that smoking cigarettes is the final nail in the coffin to bad health. You can be the most active person but alcohol and drugs will hold you back from losing weight. It gives you a ton of energy that is limited and will give you a crash when it's all used up. With therapeutic help for tobacco and alcohol and drug abuse, I will not even sniff a cigarette anymore.

Eating and drinking at night and quitting drugs is a great first start, but that's not the only way to shed fat.

Making a habit of working out and going to the gym on a consistent basis is the next most important thing you can do to lose weight. When I was dieting, I was strictly just dieting and not going to the gym. Then I started going to the gym. I started off just going twice a week and got stuck in a rut with weight loss. Then, two days became three, three became four, and now I go to the gym a bare minimum of five days a week. If I know I can't go to the gym one day, I double up the next day.

As far as the time at the gym goes, try to shoot for at least an hour. You can go to the gym for just a half hour and work your ass off and still get great results. More time in the gym does not equal better results.

But doing the same workout every day is the formula for a plateau. I alternate every day. One day, I lift weights and then the next day, I do cardio. When you do cardio the next day and your muscles are recovering from the previous day, they're burning fat and calories from your body. Doing cardio the next day burns off any extra fat on your body.

Working out makes or breaks your weight loss journey, but I saved the best for last when it comes to weight loss...liquid consumption.

Liquid consumption is last on here because honestly, there are not a lot of healthy drinks out there for you, but the ones that are healthy will skyrocket your results. The best thing you can drink is obviously water. Your body is 65, 70, don't know the exact number, sometimes pushing 80% water. Give your body what it needs and just abuse yourself with water daily.

If you have cravings, drinking a lot of water will get rid of those cravings because it fills your stomach up and flushes the unhealthy toxins out of your body. When I first started drinking a minimum of 10 cups of water a day, I lost 15 lbs because that's how much alcohol and pop I was drinking and all the water flushed it out. Some drinks you want to stay away from when trying to lose weight pop, alcohol, and fruit juices obviously but believe it or not, coffee is another one. The caffeine gives you limited energy and when it runs out, you have that crash where you are weak.

You can lose weight drinking black coffee, but I recommend staying away from it because you can still get caffeine cravings and what else has caffeine? Pop and alcohol. You will have a bunch more natural energy drinking water, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of sleep. Give your body what it needs.

Weight loss is a time-consuming process that involves a hell of a lot of pain and anger and sweat and tears, but you will thank yourself later. People may call 5'7" 160 too skinny, but I say it's not enough. You know when I say it's enough? When I say it's enough.

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