Let’s start getting in shape to get in shape…

Now that you are keeping your eye on your overall calorie count, you need to start exercising. As previously mentioned, I was woefully out of shape a year ago. I knew that to lose weight in a timely manner, I had to workout to burn calories, but I was in no kind of shape to do much of anything. Unlike Biggest Loser contestants, I did not have the luxury of being sequestered on a ranch with a gym, nutritionists, and trainers. I still had to go to work, do my laundry, etc.

I first focused on getting strong enough to workout at a decent pace. I used the elliptical and treadmill at the gym. I would do what I could for 15 minutes, then 20, then 30. On the treadmill I would run for 2 minutes and walk for one minute, repeating that for 1/2 an hour.  I worked my way up to running for 3 minutes and walking one, then four and one, and 5/1. On the elliptical, I kept adding resistance and increasing the time I used it.

Once you start, you will be surprised how quickly you can gradually build strength. If you don’t have a gym, or don’t want one, start walking. Ride your bike around the neighborhood. Jump rope. Do something for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week until you are strong enough to do more. Once that becomes easy, you’ll need to start stepping things up. The change will be gradual but it will happen.

Now that your body is prepared, start looking for tools to help you step things up. There are several web sites that will help you get started. I personally recommend Sparkpeople.com or MyFitnessPal.com. Feel free to use both. I have also used some videos by Jillian Michaels and the Biggest Loser videos by Bob Harper. There are a lot of excellent choices out there. There are free videos on YouTube as well.

If you can afford a gym, I recommend joining one. Most have a free trial period, use it. Try several. They are not all created equal. Look for a gym that offers lots of classes and has personal trainers available. Also consider outdoor boot camps. Classes and boot camps get you access to a trainer at a more affordable price than private sessions. Look for a 5K run and start training for it. You will need lots of intermediate goals to keep you focused on a long weight loss journey. Join online challenges that give you fitness tasks to complete. This will help you to maintain focus over the long run. With each achievement, you will gain confidence.

Next, we’ll get more serious about the diet.  Being “good” will only get you so far.  You have to eat correctly to optimize weight loss.  I’ll cover that in greater detail in the next blog.

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