How to Get in Shape: Part 1 (A Nexerciser User’s Perspective)

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Some of you may have joined Nexercise with the intent to get fit this year. Maybe you jumped in with two feet and are now exhausted. Or maybe you aren’t quite sure what to do and how to start, so you are just muddling around. Maybe you use to be a ‘jock’ in school and have ‘let things go’ or maybe you have never tried working out before in your life.

I am here to give you some help on how to get started. When I was a kid, I was fat and unfit. I was always the one who was picked last for team sports. Then one day I decided to go on ‘a diet.’ Well that is a story for another day, but in sum I lost a lot of weight and became ‘skinny fat’.  Sure I was a size 2, but I was flabby. Somehow I convinced my parents to pay for me to join a gym and I was fixed!

This leads me to point one. Find something you love to do. I personally do not like objects flying at me at fast speeds. When a ball is hurling at you at the speed of sound the proper response is, in my humble opinion, to scream and duck. Maybe it is left over childhood trauma from being smacked in the face with a doge ball, but in sum I am not a team sports person. This is probably why I never did well in school sports (it was a small school, we rotated thru different activities rather than choosing).  The sports I did do OK in were swimming and distance running – all very individual activities. Once I understood this, I could try individual type sports and find the ones I liked the best. Then I could rotate thru these activities as I pleased. This motivated me to workout because I enjoyed it and thus I also have stuck with it for many, many years now.

I very clearly remember day one at the gym. The trainer put me on a StairMaster and, after about 5 mins, I thought I was going to die. I was gasping for air and getting pain in my neck. It didn’t matter that I was 18 and now skinny – I was plain out of shape! This leads me to point two. Take it easy! When you are first starting out (or trying to get back into shape), it is better to underdo things than overdo things. You want to be able to walk the next day. Though it makes great TV drama, puking is NOT motivational – nor is overheating for that matter. Remember Rome was not built in a day, and nor is the new you.

So, where do you start? Create some goals. Make them bite sized and achievable and keep track of your progress. You may have a larger goal you are working towards (I want to run a marathon, or I want to lose my baby weight) – but consider these small goals as sub-goals to get there. Some examples, I am going to lose a pound in two weeks. I am going to take The Pledge and do 10 sit-ups within 2 mins. I am going to walk for 15mins every day (got to get in your daily Flash Fit Mob!).  I am going to play tennis twice a week. Try it, if it’s too easy, modify your goals. Goals should be fluid – changing as you improve, or do not improve for that matter. You should be making a new set of goals at minimum once every 60 days. That said, you also want to give your goals at least 2 weeks to work. If you are not noticing any improvements, change them! It is said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Instead, reevaluate why something may not be working for you and try something else/tackle your goal from a different angle.

So in sum:

  1. Find out what activities you love to do and do those! Really, if you hate running, don’t do it! Try rock climbing, tennis, curling, tai chi, scuba diving, or whatever! Make this your first goal.
  2. Take it easy! When you are first starting out (or trying to get back into shape), it is better to underdo things than overdo things. Again, you want to be able to move the next day.
  3. Make a specific goal or set of goals. This will give you focus and motivation. Start with something small and achievable. Don’t be afraid to modify your goals as you need to, and make sure you change up your goals to give you new challenges and keep you moving forward.

Happy Trails!

Coming up: Resistance training, Cardio training, Flexibility and Balance, Motivation, The Next Level,  Evaluating Information, NEAT.

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