How I Started Working Out

Saturday, June 22, 2019

“I hate working out,” said everyone, ever. 

For a long time, I genuinely believed no one in the world actually liked working out. I figured it was something people knew they had to do, and maybe they were okay with it, but no one would actually choose the gym over lying on their couch with snacks. I was convinced the world had secretly agreed to pretend liking working out to trick us into it, and we were all boo-boo the fools. Working out seemed terrible to me. The sweat, the moving, the accelerated heartbeat... I hated it all. I hated the feeling of being out of breath and the feeling of being bored while exercising. I didn't understand why I needed to feel pain to gain. Not only did I hate working out, but I also hated walking in general. From parking lots to grocery stores to Disney to airports… I hated all walking. I never felt the endorphins kick in, and if anything, working out made me feel irritated. Walking, to be more precise, bored me.

Imagine my shock when I became that girl going to a park at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning… to walk. 

Winters in Miami are hot, but this day was a cold one!

I’m by no means a fitness guru, and I know very little about how muscles work. I did just recently learn that muscle burns more calories than fat when you’re at rest. So the more muscle-y and buff you are, the more calories your body will naturally burn. I’m serious. Google it! The first thing that comes up is: “10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories.”

The truth is, I don’t know if muscle will actually burn calories as I pleasantly watch Money Heist on Netflix, but any time I mention it on social media, I always get a kind soul mansplaining how muscle actually works and why I’m right but still wrong.

Whenever I’m faced with these situations, I automatically choose to do what feels right for me.

When I first started working out, at 245.6 pounds, I had these three thoughts running through my head:
1. Walking helps a lot of people lose weight and get healthy. I should walk.
2. Strength training is bad for you if you want to see weight loss—no, wait, it’s actually good for you. No. Wait. It’s bad. Is it bad? Why is this a debate?
3. I hate working out.

So how did I start working out?
First, I decided I wasn’t going to push myself too hard. Then, I decided I was going to build endurance at a slow pace. My pace. That was important to me: going at my own pace so I wouldn’t quit. Since I hated walking so much, I needed to do it on my own terms: slow and steady. I was in no rush to run a marathon (and I’m still not!). I didn’t want to get overwhelmed or discouraged. My idea was: lightly push yourself, but don’t pressure yourself. No need to stress. We are living our best lives here. Build it up. See what happens. There must be a reason some people enjoy working out. So that's what I did. Plain and simple: Slow and steady wins the race.

First step: deciding to work out.
Second step: working out.  

All through December 2018, I walked for half a mile anytime I wanted to, for however long it took me. This usually meant a couple times a week. I couldn’t even tell you how long it’d take me to do that half mile, but at my turtle pace, I can assure you it took a while. I like waking up early, so I took advantage of my early mornings to walk around my park. And I did get tired. Often times, I had to find a bench to sit on for a little bit after completing one quarter of a mile because my calves would start to hurt—TRUE STORY.

When January came along, I was fully committed to my slow, turtle pace, walking. I began walking around my park for a mile almost every morning. Rain or shine. I want to say it would take me 30 minutes to do it, but it was probably longer than that.

That’s how I started working out.

By walking.

I didn’t LOVE doing it. I just knew I had to do it in order to get healthier. What helped me pass the time at first? Social media. I hated working out, so I needed to keep myself entertained the best way I could. I would get on my phone and navigate Instagram and Twitter while walking. Switching from my personal account to my fitness account, I would pass the time going back and forth, scrolling and liking pictures, watching and posting Instagram stories, interacting with others, and tweeting. That helped the process a lot—it entertained me. I enjoyed the interaction. I found a way of working out while keeping myself entertained. I’m sure I looked like your average everyday basic millennial on my phone while walking around a park, but it did the trick. I had to do what I had to do. So I did that every morning, until one day I didn’t mind the walking.

It’s about creating habits.
Discipline kicks in when the motivation is not there
It’s a decision you make.
“I’m going to do this” or “I won’t.”
No one needs motivation to brush their teeth.
It’s habit.

I did my mile mostly walking, and then I challenged myself to run for 30 seconds whenever I wanted to. That was the key: whenever I wanted to. Not having that pressure, or feeling like I needed to meet unrealistic fitness expectations, really helped. I ran for just 30 seconds, but let me tell you, those were my proudest 30 seconds. I could barely make it to 30 seconds, but I would feel like the dang queen of my park. 

Weeks passed, and I began doing 1.5 miles. It was around this time that my knees failed on me (too sore from carrying so much weight), so I had to move to the gym and do low-impact exercises (look at me with that fancy fitness talk. I Googled that). Once I got my knees back into good shape, I began walking again. 

It was around that time that I also decided to try other types of exercise: elliptical, Zumba, and kickbox cardio. I even took on swimming for a while. For months, I did some type of physical activity every day. 

There are many forms of exercise out there. 
Explore what works best for you
by trying out all workouts. 
One will eventually click.

I also did strength training. Maybe once a week. I read a little bit about it, and from what I understood, strength training meant building muscle, and muscle meant weight. But not Fat weight. Muscle weight is the good kind weight—the weight you want to have. I decided I didn’t care if I saw the number on the scale go up, as long as I was eating healthy and building muscle. This helps tone your body. I would watch different videos on YouTube on how to lift 5-pound weights, and my best friend would train me every weekend. We’d do machines (especially booty machines) and different arm exercises for about an hour. FYI: It’s important to note that even when I was gaining muscle, I did not see the number on the scale go up. (My theory is that I was gaining muscle at a slow pace.)

I’d also like to note that I still do cardio and strength training with my best friend and on my own. I still watch YouTube videos: I choose the video at random. I’m doing 8-pound weights now. I still haven’t seen the number on the scale go up.

Simple steps for real beginners

  • Walk for half a mile 3-4 times a week for two weeks. Don't worry about your time, but keep a record of it. Go at your own pace.
  • After these two weeks, start walking a mile. 3-4 times a week. At your own pace.
  • After this first month of walking, start trying to beat your own time. The competition is with yourself. 
  • Add 30 seconds of running to your mile. Do this for a week. 
  • The next week, run for 45 seconds while you do your mile.
  • The next week, increase your mile to a mile and a half, and run for a minute, 3-4 times a week.
  • So on and on and on... 
Doing it slowly but surely worked for me. I took the bait. I suddenly went from hating exercising to liking it—and then to loving it. Ok… maybe not loving, but close enough. I enjoy it. And I do love it sometimes. Would I still rather watch Netflix while munching on snacks? Honestly, sometimes, yeah. But other times, I’d much rather work out. And for those days when I’m lacking the motivation to make that decision, I tell myself: “If you want it, you’ll do it.” If I want to lose two pounds this week, I better do the work! Discipline is what allows me to keep going. Discipline is what made me like working out. I did it enough times that my brain did that click. 

Discipline and consistency. 

Now it’s becoming habit.

Keeping it Real
There are days I don't feel like working out. Some days I make myself do it anyway, and some days, like today, I allow laziness and comfort to win. But I let it win. I control it. I tell myself "you don't want to workout? Fine. Today will be your rest day. Enjoy!" and then I don't feel guilty about it. Most times, however, I do push myself to workout. That's when discipline kicks in. 


June 13, 2019 struggling to get my booty to the gym.
I did go to the gym, but did yoga instead of cardio.
Goals
Giving myself small goals really helped (and still does). I tell myself, “You have to run from this tree to that other one. Go!” Or I say, “Today my goal is to run for 45 seconds instead of 30.” Other times, I say, “I’ll run for however long this song lasts.” That really keeps my mind entertained and motivated. I still do that. Except now, I’m inclining my treadmill, and I tell myself the speed has to match the incline level and last for .10 miles on each level. I play around with speed and incline a lot.

My advice to everyone starting is stick to things you like (or don’t hate) for whatever amount of time you feel comfortable with. Push yourself when that comfort gets too comfortable, but don’t stress yourself out. Entertain yourself with other things. Keep your mind busy. If you like reading, read while you walk. If you like YouTube, watch videos while you work out. Get a bomb playlist. Close your eyes. Disconnect. It’s you-time. Do it. One day you’ll find yourself liking it, or at least doing it out of habit. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.

“I regret that workout” -Said no one, ever. Right? 

How do you motivate yourself to workout? 

I tell myself: Get it moving. Just do it. 

Kick some booty and be kind to people.

-Cabi.


3 comments

  1. Thank you for this post. You are an inspiration and the fact that you did something as simple as walking and it worked for you is proof that we don't need to follow these super intense workouts right away. It's ok to work yourself up to it and that's something I struggled with understanding. So thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree! Removing the unrealistic expectation of fitness really helped me! Thank YOU for sending me this message. I really appreciate it!! I'm glad it could help you. <3

      Delete
  2. so how many days do you workout in a week??

    ReplyDelete

Powered by Blogger.