Resolution Revolution: Fitness
By the time this goes out it will have been nearly 4 weeks since we all called in the New Year, advice probably drunkenly and possibly singing. In my case I managed to miss the countdown entirely and then spill a drink on myself; it was one of my more successful New Years Eves. Waking up in 2015 bleary eyed, doctor we made promises to drink less, rx smoke never, eat better, learn Russian, start a band, and definitely not recreate the situation we found ourselves in after the night before.
So nearly a month on, how is everyone doing?
New Years Resolutions are notoriously tough to keep. Something about a new digit at the end of the date inspires us to start fresh, an enthusiasm that quickly wanes as the year doesn’t turn out to be magically better than the last. Things we swear we’ll change on January 1st are forgotten by the 15th, February if you’re more determined.
To help the lovely readers of the College Tribune to keep their resolutions this year we’re starting a series over the next few issues. Part guide, part reminder to keep going. And we’re starting with the number 1 resolution across the world (we checked): Fitness!
Getting in shape is a top priority for a lot of people come January after the calorie bomb that are the holidays. If you managed to eat healthily over Christmas then I am in genuine awe of you, I’m still finding Roses wrappers in my pockets a month on. For students in particular it’s a whole other world, going home and not having to buy food is always an excuse to eat everything in the fridge. While we’re unlikely to fall into the cliché of joining a gym in January and then forgetting to cancel the direct debit, we’re lucky in that the UCD gyms are free for all students! I cannot put enough emphasis on how well stocked the two gyms are, there’s almost always enough space and the staff are some of the nicest people I’ve ever tried to squat beside. If weights and machines bore you then there’s a smorgasbord of free classes available for students! Make sure to arrive fifteen minutes beforehand to guarantee entry. Another option is to join a UCD sports team. There are so many opportunities within the college and being part of a team is a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill. Also it looks good on a CV which is a constant plus.
If staying behind in UCD isn’t an option then there are many ways to exercise in different parts of town. If you’re able to afford it then a local gym is always handier. I’m a fan of the Flyefit chain, they’re low cost per month and are open 24/7. The Markievicz Leisure Center is right behind Tara Street station and is also very cheap per visit. The cheapest option is, of course, to just run outside. To track your runs “Runkeeper” is a phenomenal app, it works with other fitness apps and comes with different training options like Couch to 5km. For the less easily motivated there’s “Zombies, Run!”, arguably my favourite app of all time. The story will keep you hooked and the HIIT zombie groans will keep you terrified. Don’t run at night with this, trust me. When running alone gets boring or addictive, look around for your local running group to mix things up! I literally do not have the space to list them all so this part is up to you. It’s another great way to meet new people and get involved in your community while doing something good for you. Top tip: nobody really likes running, it’s the buzz you get after that makes it worthwhile. Keep it up.
Food is the most important part of keeping fit, that’s a fact. Calorie counting is not. We all learned in secondary school Science that a calorie is a measurement of energy, keep that in mind. Rather than looking at calories look at sugar and salt. An avocado has the same amount of calories as a can of Coke but I shouldn’t have to point out which is better for you. The current health food trend is undoubtedly smoothies but instead of spending close to a fiver in a shop just make your own at home. A hand blender will work just as well as a fancy blender, there are hundreds of recipes online and always try to consume them fresh. The most important thing about making smoothies is this: honey hides EVERYTHING. If your kale/avocado/banana/cinnamon/oats smoothie tastes disgusting then just throw some honey in. It’s a miracle worker I swear.
Another miracle worker is coconut oil. The list of why this stuff is amazing goes on and on but primarily it’s just better for you. It’s not the cheapest item to buy but for a cooking oil/moisturiser/hair mask/all-round amazing thing, it’s worth it.
I know it’s January and the weather is horrible but you got this. Talk to the UCD Gym staff for a free exercise plan, annoy a Human Nutrition student to find out what macros are and buy some kale. Once you start you’ll be hooked, promise.