How to Start Working Out in College If You’ve Never Exercised Before, According to Fitness Pros

Establish good habits with these expert tips.

Reviewed by Christa Sgobba, C.P.T.

Starting a workout routine can be challenging—especially in the college setting where you’re in a new place surrounded by new people. How do you prioritize exercise amid the million other things on your to-do list? What’s the secret to navigating your school’s massive gym? Is it possible to find workouts you actually enjoy?

While it may seem a little overwhelming, taking the time to navigate that process is very worth it for a lot of students.

For starters, exercise offers a ton of amazing benefits, including stress relief, clearer thinking, better sleep, boosted energy, and increased happiness and confidence (among loads of other perks). It’s basically a hack for being your best self. Moreover, building a good fitness routine during your college years can serve you well later in life.

“College is a time when you’re really starting to establish those habits and patterns of behavior for long-term success,” certified personal trainer Cathy Sullivan, fitness and wellness coordinator at Oregon State University’s Dixon Recreation Center, tells SELF. By intentionally developing a healthy workout routine now, you can establish a lasting relationship with fitness that will benefit you no matter where life takes you.

To make starting a workout routine in college as easy as possible, we tapped three university-affiliated personal trainers for their best tips. Ahead, all the expert input you need to know to establish a fitness routine you’ll want to stick with until graduation day—and beyond.

When starting an exercise routine, it’s easy to adopt an eager beaver mentality. I’ll go to the gym seven days a week! I’ll hit the treadmill for an hour each time! While that enthusiasm is commendable, doing too much too soon can increase your risk of injury and burnout.