With the new year well underway, chances are that half of the population has either been riding strong with resolutions of consistently getting to the gym or completely ditched it and haven’t touched a treadmill or vegetable since week one.
But falling off the fitness train is perfectly okay. The year is still young, and it’s not too late to reignite the drive to live a healthier lifestyle, even if that means starting from square one.
Some students spend their time pumping iron in the Student Recreation Center’s weight room, while others conquer flights of steps using the stairmasters on the second floor, but the list of motives for going to the gym varies.
For senior business and finance major Jimmy Contreras, working out is a way to set himself up for a healthier future and earn the six-pack he’s been searching 23 years for.
On the other hand, economics and political science major Josiah Rath frequently visits the gym to help balance out his life when the rigors of being a college student becomes too overwhelming.
At first glance, making any sort of lifestyle change, especially ones involving the gym and health, can be intimidating to those who may be new to it. It can seem insurmountable at times.
The road to change is not as complex or scary as it may initially seem, but it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
Saldiam Barillas, a former graduate teaching associate of anatomy and physiology at Cal State Fullerton, said that change comes with consistency and patience.
Barillas, who is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, said that many students make the mistake of trying to accomplish too much in a short amount of time.
With all of the obstacles that may turn up in a college student’s life, their willpower plays just as big of a role as their physical ability.
“What I would always instruct my students and my athletes to do is to try to make little changes and try to make those permanent changes, like parking far away and walking or taking the stairs,” Barillas said.
He also debunked the misconception that there are foods classified as healthy or unhealthy.
“We’re not all built equally. We don’t digest things the same. With that, you really kind of have to be mindful of what works with you,” Barillas said.
Listening to how the body reacts to certain types of food will help define what is healthy for each individual.
Another common misconception Barillas addressed was the idea that self-improvement can be maximized without the help of an expert or those educated in a particular field, like seeing a dietician about adjusting eating habits.
Making a decision to improve one’s health by going to the gym requires both effort and commitment to complement the patience and consistency.
It’s not always about how much running or dieting needs to be done. It all goes back to the basic fundamentals of setting a goal and following through.
Rath, who’s looking to pack on muscle to his 140 pound frame this year, identifies strongly with Barillas’ philosophy.
“As long as I’m going and as long as I’m putting in the effort, I don’t really care how it looks or what I do,” Rath said. “As long as I’m improving somewhere, that’s all that matters to me.”