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Find a Hobby, Find Your Happiness

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“What do you like doing in your free time?”

As college students we don’t get a lot of free time, and this question makes it even more stressful to find an interesting hobby to fill our free time. This is just one of the reasons finding the right hobby for you is important. It is also important to have something that provides personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

As college students, many of the activities we find ourselves doing have other benefits other than our happiness. Such as studying for classes to get good grades with the goal to eventually graduate. Many of us also work part time or full time jobs in addition to taking classes to make money or gain experience in a certain field, regardless if you enjoy your job or not – its sole purpose is not to bring happiness, but rather to fill your pockets and resumé.

We all also fill many other roles as friends, parents, significant others, siblings, children, etc. These can all be very fulfilling roles, but the most important role you will fill in your life is being yourself and part of that job includes providing your own happiness. To do this effectively and without the risk of also draining yourself, you need to find a hobby or activity you can participate in solely for your own fulfillment and enjoyment.

It may take some time to find the perfect hobby for you, so don’t get discouraged! Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t worry about whether you will be “good” at this hobby because as long as it provides happiness and enjoyment, that’s all that matters. Here is a list of some hobbies for you to try out:

 1) Reading

Many college students do a lot of reading already, so try to find books you can read at your own leisure. You could also join or create a book club for motivation or discussion.

2) Writing

Many college students also do a lot of writing, so again, do this for leisure. There are many things you could start writing: daily journals, letters to friends, short stories, poetry, or start a blog.

3) Hiking, biking, running and other outdoor activities

Winona is a great place for this! Between the bluffs, the lakes and the river, there are a lot of outdoor activities to pick from!

4) Photography

Even if you don’t want to buy a new, expensive camera, you can always go out with your phone in the search for the perfect Instagram-worthy picture!

5) Painting

If you are 21 or older, you could start by attending a wine and canvas night for a fun and interesting experience.

6) Cooking or baking

Hit up Pinterest for recipes to try. Follow WSU’s College-Friendly Recipes Pinterest board for some cheap and delicious ideas. You could even invite friends over and host a dinner party!

7) Knitting

This skill could come in handy around the holidays to make all your loved ones scarfs or hats for gifts.

8) Scrapbooking

You get to reminisce on old times and create something that will allow you to look back on great memories.

9) Yoga

Attend yoga in the park, go to a class at the IWC or even look up videos on YouTube.

10) Gardening

This is great during the summertime!

11) Teach yourself something new

Whether it’s learning to play an instrument or a speak a new language, trying something new is always fun!

12) Volunteering

Donate your time to a cause you are passionate about.

13) Sports

Join an intramural team or league for fun.

14) Collections

Start a collection of anything from stamps to coins, and go out in search for the perfect additions to your collection.​

Now, get out there and find your next hobby and find your happiness!

Dana Scott

Why Pacifism?

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Pacifism : the belief that it is wrong to use war or violence to settle disputes. 

Pacifism is an ideology as old as time itself, but for many of us, it seems like a pipe dream. It seems there’s never an end to the constant stream of wars and violent acts, so what’s the point of being pacifist anyways? Well, here are 4 distinct and immediate benefits from denouncing violence and following a peaceful way of life:

1) Low level of stress

Part of pacifism is avoiding conflict. But this isn’t just war-based conflict. It can be everything from conflict between workers, to between friends, to the short fights in a relationship. Oftentimes, stress is caused by the worry about these sorts of conflicts. Without them, stress flows right off of you like you’re a stone in the Mississippi.

2) Understanding of the individual

Pacifism’s number one ideological fact is the importance of every person, no matter who they are on the inside or out. Each person is just as special and interesting as anyone else. You may find people you don’t like, but you can understand that they matter. In this crazy messed up world of ours, everybody is in the same boat going down the same river. Though people may take different routes, they are all just as important.

3) Certainty of safety

This one is a bit strange. “How can you be sure of your safety with how much violence there is in the world today?” Here’s the thing: by avoiding violence and actively denouncing it, other people will learn to see life from the same angle. Not only that, but nobody wants to pick a fight with a pacifist. There’s no gratification from fighting with someone who finds no reason to fight, after all.

4) Living a peaceful life

This is the biggest, most obvious benefit from pursuing a pacifist lifestyle. When you live a life devoid of violent anger and hatred, and see the beauty in the individual, life becomes a peaceful journey without fear and without stress. You can spend your days awing at the wonders of the natural world, and of the individuals who work to keep people wondering. Without war, without violence, without hatred, the world is just a much better place.

Nathaniel Nelson

Address Your Spiritual Wellness!

How is your spiritual health?

Do you feel a sense of purpose? Joy? Inner peace?

Is your outlook on life positive or negative?

Are you stressed, anxious, or feel as if you have no control over your life?

Wellness is made up of several different dimensions including physical, emotional, social and even spiritual wellness. Unfortunately, spiritual wellness is most commonly the first facet to get pushed to the back burner when people are trying to improve their overall health and well-being. This is ironic because without a connection with your spirituality, every other aspect of your wellness cannot and will not reach its full potential. Spiritual wellness is the backbone of wellness because it affects all of the other components of your well-being.

Often overlooked, spiritual wellness is very important and ultimately effects and influences the other dimensions of wellness (Image taken from WSU's Integrated Wellness Complex site).

Often overlooked, spiritual wellness is very important and ultimately effects and influences the other dimensions of wellness (Image taken from WSU’s Integrated Wellness Complex site).

You see, spiritual wellness encompasses everything from our daily disciplines to finding our true purpose in life. It is the values and beliefs in which we live by. Implementing realistic standards and boundaries based on our beliefs and values is crucial because without them it is next to impossible to find your calling and reach your full potential. Moreover, spirituality is necessary in order to attain fulfillment.

Additionally, being spiritually healthy is the only way to live with genuine JOY. Some may think that is an overstatement on my part, but what they may not realize is the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is simply a temporary emotion. Today, so many people have found themselves caught up in pursuing the things this world says will make them happy. A few examples of these falsely advertised ‘must-haves’ may be attaining a 4.0 GPA, accumulating a large amount of money, or having the ‘perfect’ body image. But what they don’t know is the things of this world are only temporary and can never bring long-term fulfillment or satisfaction.

Meanwhile, joy is also an emotion or a feeling, but is one that we have been commanded to feel. Therefore, I believe that command can only be granted by God himself, because joy is the natural reaction to the ways God is working and moving in our lives. Just as we are commanded to be joyful, we are commanded to rejoice, express gratitude, and be tenderhearted. However, these things are all out of our control to produce because we are sinful human beings and have fallen short. Only through a relationship with God can we produce these emotions. It is written that through Christ and Christ alone we can do all things. As humans we were never meant to do everything in our own strength. As a matter of fact, we can’t. We become not only spiritually weak, but also physically and mentally weak when we try to do everything in our own strength. This is why I believe stress affects every aspect of wellness.

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Stress is one of the biggest struggles people are faced with today, especially college students. Some may say it is the result of living in our extremely fast paced society with unrealistic expectations. Although that may be true, I believe there is more to it. Without values and beliefs and ultimately without having a relationship with our Creator, there is no ‘bigger picture’ or purpose in life. When you begin to live only in the moment instead of living as if this is only your temporary home, you tend to handle certain trials and temptations differently.

Spiritual wellness also involves community. It is crucial to surround yourself with a positive community of people or those who will help you stay true to the values and beliefs you have decided to live your life by. One of my mentors in high school always said, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.” Realizing who is influencing you and how they are influencing you is an extremely important analysis to do, especially in college when there are always pressures to make poor decisions. Finding this community may be difficult to find and it might take some time, but it will be so worth the wait.

For me, I found my community through a campus ministry called Chi Alpha. This year, Chi Alpha has been a place for me to grow in my faith alongside other college students who were also intentionally pursuing the promises of Christ and not the things of this world. The opportunities Chi Alpha presented me this year and the friendships I made within this community are truly what made my transition from living at home to college so smooth.

Overall, it is my hope that each student on our campus will realize their need for spiritual wellness and choose to seek out and get involved with a community in college that positively influences them.

Erin Kloepping

Must-Follow Wellness Vloggers

Blogging has really exploded in popularity, and they are a great way to learn about others and gain new ideas and perspectives on things. There are many different websites to develop a blog and followers, and YouTube happens to be one of my favorite sites. I love following different vloggers (video bloggers) and hearing their stories, and I’ve composed a list of different YouTubers who talk about wellness and promote positivity while doing so. Aspects of health can be hard to get good information about because of all the negativity and close-mindedness on the internet. These three vloggers talk about different areas of wellness including mental, spiritual and sexual health.

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Ashley Mardell

Ashley Mardell discusses sexuality including homosexuality, asexuality and being demisexual. If you don’t know what some of these terms mean, I guarantee that she will clear up the confusion. I really like her videos discussing sexuality because sexuality isn’t just straight or not. Sexuality is a lot more complicated than that. Sexuality is something that’s not really talked about so if you have questions, you really have to do this research on your own. Ashley also promotes her followers to ask questions. Ashley also has a video detailing her depression so she is also a good resource for mental health as well. If you want to know more about sexuality, gender and depression, Ashley is someone you need to subscribe to and follow on Instagram.

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LoeyLane

Loey is more active on Instagram than she is on YouTube, but she promotes body positivity. She is someone who is unapologetic about her body and her goal is to let other women know that if you’re not a certain size, you’re still beautiful. She’s also trying to eliminate fatphobia because it’s rather horrendous to judge someone based on weight. She shares pictures of herself in swimsuits and other clothing to inspire women that nothing is off limits. If you are someone who struggles with body image and/or has insecurities, then she should be someone you should follow.

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Zoella

Zoella is a vlogger who discusses her anxiety and panic attacks. Although I haven’t dealt with anxiety and depression myself, I know friends who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I try to be there for them. Watching Zoella helps me be a better friend to them because I will never understand what they are going through. Her videos are great for people like myself to try and better understand mental illness because there’s a lot I still have left to learn. In addition, if you’re someone who has anxiety, she may be a great resource for you. She is also present on Instagram!

YouTube is a great resource because it’s great to hear about people discuss topics that directly relate to you or loved ones. There are many aspects to health, and YouTubers do a pretty good job of sharing their stories and educating followers. I highly recommend these vloggers because they are open, honest and nonjudgemental. If you have a different blogger or vlogger you follow for wellness; let me know in a comment on this blog post!

Mariah Kaercher

How to Pick the Perfect Workout Shoe!

If there is one thing I hate buying, it’s shoes. For some people, shoe shopping is a lot of fun, but it’s really not for me. If I could go barefoot and walk around and get away with it, I definitely would. One reason I hate buying shoes is how expensive shoes can be. So when I looked at my two pairs of workout shoes and saw they were breaking down, I knew I had to suck it up and buy workout shoes. I dreaded going because I had no idea how much I was going to pay. I ended up only spending $75 on two pair of good quality shoes, which I have to say is a pretty good deal. If you’re looking for new walking shoes/physical activity shoes, here is a short guide on how to not break your bank account when shoe shopping.

Shop around! 
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So, you found this really cute pair of bright blue Nikes for 90 bucks and you’re considering buying them. The biggest advice I can give is shop around. I can guarantee you can find a better deal on Nikes than spending 90 bucks. Shopko is a really good place to start. They have deals all the time on shoes. That is where I purchased my newest pairs of sneakers and I can’t recommend it enough. Otherwise, I have heard TJ Maxx is another cheap place to get shoes for a lot less. You don’t have to spend a lot on workout shoes; you just need to know where to shop and how to find the deals.
When it comes to actually buying workout shoes, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
Activities 
What are you going to do in these shoes? Are you going to run and walk? Are you going to do weight training? Figure out what activities you are using this shoe for. If you’re a runner, you should probably buy a shoe that fits running. I typically purchase cross training shoes because that way I can pretty much do everything in one pair of sneakers.
Where are you going to be using your shoes? 
Are you going to be working out outside or inside? If you’re probably going to be working out outside you shouldn’t buy a white pair of sneakers since they will get dirty faster. Where you perform each activity will be something to consider, especially when buying shoes.
Buy Inserts! 
Your shoes should feel comfy. If you’re going to walk in shoes, they should be comfortable for your feet. If they aren’t, you can get blisters and foot pain in general. I recommend buying some sort of inserts that give your feet some more support. My current pair of gym shoes honestly feel like I’m walking on clouds.
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Having a good pair of workout/physical activity/walking shoes that you love is super important. If you have comfy shoes, you’re more likely to walk places than to drive or take a bus. They are worth spending the money on, but you don’t have to spend a lot. I was able to save a lot of money by shopping around and finding discounted pairs of shoes. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that I hate buying shoes.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Winona!

The weather is heating up and there is no better way to take advantage of it than to go outside! The changing season brings more options to get active outdoors rather than staying cooped up inside. Here’s a list of things you can do this summer that are great for your health and will help you fully enjoy the sunny and warm weather:

1) Take the wheels for a spin

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This is my personal favorite thing you can do outside because it’s an effective and amusing workout. You can bike in the nice weather as both a form of transportation and leisure. This way of transportation is good for the environment, an awesome calorie burner, a muscle builder and something you could do to cut down on gas money as well. Check out Winona’s map of city bike trails, other bike trails and Winona County bike loops!

2) Take a stroll

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You could have a friend tag along on a walk and just talk about life or you could go by yourself and listen to your favorite playlist. It won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Otherwise, power walking is a great workout option! Hiking is also a fun activity as well! The Sugarloaf hiking trails provide a way to get some fresh air and a workout all at the same time, and you can enjoy the beautiful nature and scenery!

3) Run, Forrest, Run!

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Some people would much rather go for a run or a nice jog over a walk. It’s another wonderful way to get active outside with plenty of positive benefits. Keep in mind running is a major stress reliever when you’re feeling the weight of life stressors. On May 14 there is a Bluffview Explorer 10K Run and 5K Run/Walk in Winona to raise money for the Bluffview Montessori School PTA. Sign up online, and mark your calendars for other races in Winona this summer and fall!

4) Go to the park

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Many local parks, including Winona’s, have basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields and tennis courts available to the public to use. Playing sports as a hobby is an amazing way to get a workout in and have a blast with your friends while doing it. Throw around a Frisbee or play some football…the choices are endless if you have the space. The Willows Disc Golf Course provides an 18 hole course on East Lake Winona and a 9 hole course on the West Lake. Grab some friends and play!

5) Channel your inner mermaid/merman

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Whether it’s a community pool or a waterpark, swimming laps or running around a waterpark is entertaining way to burn some calories while getting vitamin D. In Winona, the Bob Welch Aquatic Center is open in the summer for swimming for $5 a day, and there will be a FREE pool party concert Friday, July 15!

6) Pick up a paddle!

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If you want to take to the waters, the Lake Lodge Recreation Center in town offers canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding for a year-long membership of $15.

7) Get your blade or board on

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Going for a rollerblade or skateboard ride is another excellent way to get moving in the nice temperatures. If you don’t know how to, give it a try and learn! Who knows, it might end up being one of your favorite activities. If you’re looking for a fun location to blade or board, the Winona Skatepark is a great option! The new Anthem Skatepark and Board Shop is located at 800 West 5th Street.

I hope this gives you inspiration for some ways to get out of the house and get some exercise. For more options, visit the Winona Park and Rec website. Enjoy the beautiful weather, Warriors!

Allison Mueller and Kassidy Jackson

Rock Your Health!

Take advantage of the rock wall on campus! (Photo by Ka Vang '16)

Take advantage of the rock wall in the Wabash Recreation Center! (Photo by Ka Vang ’16)

This blog post is to all those people who want a change of pace in their workout routine. For me, I get tired of the constant gym routine and I like to switch it up every now and then. One of the latest fitness trends is rock climbing. Rock climbing can be a physically and mentally demanding sport that can test mental toughness and endurance and without proper knowledge, it can be dangerous. But many people don’t realize the benefits that it can have.

Many don’t think of rock climbing as cardio, but according to an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the cardio and energy exerted in rock climbing is similar to running at a pace of 8-11 minutes a mile. It requires an increase in a range of motion, which will also increase the flexibility of the climber.

As well as strengthening both your upper and lower body, rock climbing will strengthen your mental health. By figuring out the routes to take to ascend, whether indoor or outdoor, you are learning problem solving skills. Just like any other exercise, rock climbing reduces stress. By increasing levels of norepinephrine, a sense of ecstasy can be felt through the reaching, climbing and leaping.

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Winona is a great place to enjoy some rock climbing. We have our very own rock climbing center in the Wabasha Recreation Center that has nearly 6,000 square feet of climbing surface, 32 top ropes, two bouldering walls, belay edge and a traditional climbing anchor practice wall. The center is open to all. And if you are itching to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, the OREC has open climbing on Tuesdays at Sugarloaf.​

Hannah Peterson

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

Sexual violence has been an issue for far too long time and it’s time to put a stop to it. According to an article in The New York Times, 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault on a college campus. Now, this does not mean that men are not targets of sexual assault as well. It’s important to become educated on the subject and know the steps to take if you or someone you know is sexually assaulted. Here is a list of important things you should know in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, illustrated with photos from the Take Back the Night event this week which was hosted by WSU and the Women’s Resource Center of Winona to raise awareness surrounding the issue of sexual violence in the community:

1) Sexual violence is not just physical

Photo credit: Jacob Striker '18

Photo credit: Jacob Striker ’18

It includes any unwanted sexual behavior from an individual. Being sexually assault can also involve being catcalled at by someone. Just because it’s not physical assault doesn’t mean it’s okay. Being sexually assaulted verbally can possibly lead to being assaulted physically. Be safe, and walk in groups at night. One option I’ve heard that’s effective is to fake a phone call while walking by a suspicious group or person. Also, you can threaten to call 911 to get out of a situation fast. Don’t be afraid to yell for help if you need it.

2) It can happen to anyone

Photo credit: Jacob Striker '18

Photo credit: Jacob Striker ’18

It can happen to any sex, gender or race. Become familiar with the topic to help avoid it happening to you or a friend.

3) Learn about Winona State’s Gender Based Violence Peer Education Program

Photo credit: Jacob Striker '18

Photo credit: Jacob Striker ’18

You can receive peer-led bystander intervention training to help prevent sexual violence. You can also use them as resource to get the support you need. Contact the office by phone (507-474-7893) or email: PACT@winona.edu.

4) No excuse for violence is justified

Photo credit: Jacob Striker '18

Photo credit: Jacob Striker ’18

No one is asking for sexual assault, it is NOT okay what so ever. Alcohol doesn’t give consent either. There is no excuse to make sexual violence okay, ever; don’t let people justify it.

5) Know the emotional and physical effects

Photo credit: Jacob Striker '18

Photo credit: Jacob Striker ’18

Sexually transmitted diseases, anxiety, stress, self-harm, eating disorders, flashbacks, depression and substance abuse can all stem from being sexually assaulted.

6) Know your options

Photo credit: Jacob Striker '18

Photo credit: Jacob Striker ’18

Don’t be afraid to tell someone if you or a friend has been effected. There are many resources to support you if you need it. Here are a few:

WSU’s Confidential Gender-Based Violence Helpline: 507-457-5610

Counseling Services: 507-457-5330

Medical Help: 507-457-4328

Kassidy Jackson

Don't Let Anxiety Control Your Life

​College is probably going to be one of the most stressful times in your life. As a student you don’t have a consistent sleep schedule, you aren’t exactly eating the most nutritious meals (I mean, who doesn’t like pizza?), most of us work but money is tight for all of us, and you have multiple classes each with a unique amount of homework. On top of that, we all want to have some sort of a social life and engage with other people. The bottom line is that college is stressful! Sometimes this stress can build up to the point of a full-out anxiety attack. And, eventually, this could lead into general anxiety disorder (which is an entirely new battle); but I wanted to use this blog post to give you advice on how to manage stress so anxiety doesn’t control your life! Here are some anxiety managing tips:

1) Say “no” when you can’t fit anything more into your schedule

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Most of us are out to please other people and do things for them (because we’re nice). At the same time you may working to make money while managing homework and classes. However, we all need to work on finding our limits and saying no when we need to. If you are skipping meals, reducing your sleep and other things, you’re probably taking on too much. It’s okay to say no!

2) Question yourself

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Do you really have to do X thing right now? Can it wait?” Now, I’m not talking about procrastination, which leads into extra anxiety, but I’m saying if you’re sacrificing your own sanity to accomplish work, you’re probably stretching yourself too thin and not really focusing on what you’re doing and giving each thing you do your 100%. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way? What can I do to better my own situation?”

3) Focus on what needs to be done first

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Instead of bouncing between tasks and homework like a madman, focus on what needs to be done first, or what takes more priority. Do you have a big paper due tomorrow? You should probably be doing that first before something that is due the day after tomorrow. When people are anxious they tend to think in the future. “What’ll happen if I don’t do this?” “If I don’t do this I’ll be in trouble.” They tend to think in “what ifs,” which is usually just your brain playing tricks on you (this is coming from my own personal experience). Focus on the present. This will help you improve your ability to manage the future – not the other way around.

4) When you feel anxious, breathe

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Sounds easy enough, but this is often forgotten. When your body is anxious, it’s usually being deprived of oxygen, which causes you to be taking in frequent shorter breaths. Breathing in deeply will change your body’s tendency from fight-or-flight to a relaxed state. Take deep breaths (until your gut is full) and exhale slowly. Do this until you feel calmed down.

5) Accept that you’re anxious

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You’re not any less of a person for being anxious and stressed. Love yourself for who you are! Remember that anxiety is a feeling. By reminding yourself that it’s just an emotional response to stress, you begin to see it for what it really is: emotions. If you can change your thoughts, you can begin to change your actions in order to take that energy from anxiety and stress and use it to benefit you.

I can’t tell you not to be anxious, but as we head into finals, and for some of us graduation this spring, remember to take care of yourself. Keep succeeding, Warriors! Don’t let anxiety control you!​

John Otis

Look Good, Feel Good: Workout Clothes to Motivate

Motivation can be hard to come by when including exercise in your everyday routine, especially in the morning. Working out always sounds like a good idea, but then you look at your alarm clock and decide to sleep in for an extra hour.

One thing I have noticed is that fitness clothes have become more fun to wear. Neon sneakers and funky workout pants have really spiced up my closet. I love that I can have a great workout, but look great. Fitness clothes can be affordable; you just have to know where to look. If you have great workout clothes, motivation won’t be a problem in getting up and hitting the gym before class!

When it comes to workout clothes, paying more is usually better. Target and WalMart have really cheap workout clothes, but they usually aren’t the best quality. You’ll usually be stuck with really thin material and it won’t typically last long.

Here are 3 suggestions on where to shop for your favorite gym outfits:

Look Human

A racerback workout tank from Look Human's website.

A racerback workout tank from Look Human’s website.

If you’re looking for quirky racerback tank tops with fantastic quotes on them, this is the place to look. These shirts range from $24-$30 per shirt which seems like a lot, but I have personally owned one of these and I think they’re great quality. Workout clothes should be something that says a lot about your personality. They should also give you confidence because that can spark motivation if you have found it to be lacking. Look Human has shirts for both men and women and if you’re looking for something new to wear, I recommend checking this site out first.

GapFit 

Men's workout shorts from GapFit's online.

Men’s GapFit workout shorts from Gap’s website.

The Gap is a great place to shop when it comes to workout clothes. Gap is expensive, but you’re paying for quality. All of my workout pants come from the Gap and I have had them for years. GapFit clothes are so breathable and even when I sweat majorly, the clothes don’t weigh me down. Each tank top comes in a variety of different colors to mix and match. The clothes are divided by type of activity, so if you’re a yogi or a runner, there’s something for everyone. GapFit also has a line for men as well.

T.J. Maxx 

Workout leggings from T.J. Maxx's website.

Workout leggings from T.J. Maxx’s website.

This is probably the cheapest option when it comes to clothes, with shirts ranging from as cheap as $10-$12. T.J. Maxx is great for someone who is on a budget because this is cheaper than the other stores listed above. I personally haven’t bought anything from T.J. Maxx for fitness, but I have friends who recommend this store. The closest store is in La Crosse, so if you need a break from studying take a drive and check this place out!

Motivation can be hard to find, but getting new fitness clothes can help. They don’t have to be expensive, but they also shouldn’t be cheap quality. These clothes should be comfortable to move in and sweat in, and they’re worth the price to upgrade your clothes. So flaunt your style and have a great workout because I guarantee your motivation will skyrocket after a little shopping!

Mariah Kaercher