It’s that time of year again. The sun is rarely out and you’re bored of hiding inside watching re-runs of TV shows and you desperately need something to alleviate the rising stress of a heavy workload. And there’s that glorious thought of summer – the excitement for the welcoming breeze of the ocean air accompanied by the precious grains of sand sliding through your toes - that just brings a smile to your face as you read this. And wouldn't it be great to be at the peak of your physical health so you can really enjoy the break from the confines of university to the full.sport - darcy article - CREDIT skeeze

Now is the time to start working on that and setting yourself stuck into a fitness programme. Here’s a few pointers of how to go about it:

1. Goals
First things first, set yourself some goals. It is important not to overdo it with these. Anything overambitious or unrealistic may have your enthusiasm and motivation making an about turn. Set yourself an achievable goal which you are able to stick to.

2. Research
Once you’ve decided on your goals – do some research into what types of exercise suit your likes, lifestyles and abilities best. What do you enjoy? Or what do you despise? For example, if you love running, focus workouts and sessions around that activity, and if, like me, you can’t stand cycling then minimize bike work and replace it with something else. Another tip if you enjoy doing fun or sociable exercise, is to join classes! Try out as many as you can because if you love doing it, you’ll never miss a session – it won’t be a chore, and you’ll soon find yourself looking forward to them.

Also, if you walk into the gym and feel more lost than Paddington Bear – fear no more! There’s always the option to get assistance such as a personal trainer, but if you’d rather do things yourself but have no idea where to start, there’s plenty of Apps you can use to get yourself going. Some of these include; Pocket Yoga, Easy Abs, Runtastic Squats, Arm Workouts, Butt Workout and many more.

3. Diet
Once you’ve got cracking with the gym sessions, the next step is to get yourself eating healthier. Not only will this give you more energy and focus and make your workout sessions easier, but eating right also greatly helps your mental health and makes you feel better generally. You’ll also find you might find concentrating on work easier.

Don’t let the adverts convince you that you need every supplement and protein shake under the sun, just focus on buying the right ingredients. Protein and vegetables are always good, and it isn’t necessary to make overly complicated meals, simple cooking works just as well.

A good way of making sure you stay away from the trap of eating pizza and junk food because you’re too tired to cook, is to plan and prepare your meals beforehand. If you know what you’re going to make before you do anything that day, it’ll be far easier to stick to that idea and keep eating healthily.

Overall, the most important thing is not to think of it as dieting. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself the occasional treat, and with the term ‘diet’ it’s easy to get bogged down in connotations and finding yourself giving up or feeling like you’ve failed. Just try and eat healthily and you’ll find yourself feeling happier and with more energy to enjoy life.

4. Routine

Once you’ve done your research and set your targets, now is the time to organize a routine. Getting into healthy habits can never go wrong. Know which days you’re hitting the gym and the days you’re recovering (recovery and rest days are just as important!!). Coincide classes with your routine and become a regular member - this way you build a good relationship with your instructor and become confident with the exercises performed.

5. Find a Partner

If you’ve got someone to train with, to encourage you when you’re finding it difficult and you can do the same for them, it’ll be so much easier to keep it going. When you are having a weak moment, your partner can step in and save the day!

Set yourself goals. Find a pace that works for you and start your journey to physical and mental fitness.

Darcy Alexander