My name is Julia Hitt, and I am a second-year biology major with a criminal justice minor. But neither of these things are really what I am known for. 

It is no secret that I absolutely love lifting weights and eating clean. I spend a few hours in the gym each and every day, I genuinely believe I have more gym clothes here at college with me than regular clothes, and I drink around a gallon of water a day. 

I was asked to write about my experience and advice on maintaining a healthy balance while in college and how to avoid letting healthy habits fall by the wayside. 

The first disclaimer I want to give is that I am sure this is a lot harder to do when the gym is not your safe haven like it is mine. When I am stressed or overwhelmed, the gym is what helps me. 

I get out of my head for two hours and, although I usually am still stressed and overwhelmed when I return to the real world, the gym serves as my healthiest coping mechanism. 

This may or may not be true for you, but I think being active is one of the best ways to manage stress in college. Whether you enjoy it or not, your body releases endorphins when you exercise. This release helps manage stress levels. 

It is also important to recognize that it is not all or nothing. You don’t need to go to the gym every single day, nor do you need to go for hours upon hours every day. Find a way of being active that is best suited for you,  whether it is lifting, running, biking, yoga, etc. We spend all day sitting at desks, hunched over our computers. Don’t underestimate the value of getting up and moving your body.

One of the most common reasons I hear from people as to why they are not working out is that they don’t know what they are doing, which overall is completely reasonable! There is a lot to learn, especially if what you want to do is lifting weights or another form-based discipline. 

I also know it’s hard to ask for help or other people’s expertise, but I promise most people at the gym, like myself, are always happy to help. I would also say social media is a fairly good place to get ideas, but you do have to do some of your own research.

At the end of the day, it really does not matter what you do, how often you do it, or how much you love it — it matters that you’re trying!