Exercising is the thing to do now. We as a society seem to be obsessed with staying active and fit and dynamic and… There is nothing wrong with it though; We’ve been obsessed over far worse things. If we are all to be physically perfect, let it be, although it does get tiring after a while, all this healthy talk, doesn’t it?
How to start exercising then? Well, that is quite simple. As someone who started exercising at least ten times now, I must admit – starting is not the issue. I am a master starter. There are, of course, things in life which are far more pleasant to start – a new TV show or a bag of candies for example. But exercise is not that bad, especially if it comes with a brand new VS bra, you know. It is the not giving up part that I struggle with. And I am sure I am not alone.
Let us talk about not giving up then. Or at least sticking with it for more than two weeks.
I have no answer to the usual Why do people need to exercise? question. Moreover, I don’t quite believe one exists. At the end of the day, we are all doing it for ourselves, right?
Oh, I don’t mean the do it for yourself we know from colourful magazines. It is instead a very mundane form. For me it doesn’t have anything to do with improving yourself as a person. Our motives do not have to be Grand and Important. They can be small and uninteresting, and even to some people: shallow. The point is: they have to be ours.
So if you’re trying to exercise and struggling with it, try to think what you are trying to achieve. Give yourself a goal that you can measure and stick to it. Maybe you’ll love it, this new regime introduced to your life or maybe you’ll abandon it after reaching your goal. It doesn’t matter. You’ll be one step closer towards what you want.
You want to lose some weight? Great. But please – do not stop eating! A balanced diet and exercise come hand in hand – there really cannot be one without the other. What is the point of all those hours at the gym if you carry on stuffing yourself with pizza every night? Or quite the opposite, if you do not have any strength for those gym hours because you are skipping almost every meal?
The more you exercise, the more you learn what your body needs. Since I started exercising I have decreased the amount of white sugar I consume almost to zero – and I did it completely unwittingly. I just craved it less and less until it was basically gone.
By far our most common excuse is: exercise gear is expensive. It is. No point in denying that. But no one needs all of that to start off with. Well, as far as I am concerned, all it takes is a bit of flat floor and two relatively heavy but small object to lift (soup cans will do). And maybe a t-shirt you never wear anyway. That’s all.
True, a full gym membership could be a good thing to get, but since you are just a beginner, it can do more harm than good sometimes – I’d be scared to death if someone sent me to a gym full of lifting pros. Intimidated, maybe. You don’t need a gym and you don’t need money to exercise. Stop looking for excuses. I know in my case, it took me a while to get to realize I was just excusing myself, but if a liar like me can do it, so can you.
There is one thing we all fear when it comes to exercising – defeat.
What if we are just not good enough? What if it doesn’t change a thing? What if we give up again and again? At the end of the day there is a good chance we will win this unfair fight against ourselves; but this victory will be neither fast nor permanent. Prepare for long long weeks where nothing seems to change and days where you seem to move backwards rather than forwards.
At some point you have to realize that exercising is not a temporary hobby – it is a lifestyle choice and it is here to stay. Sometimes it will be hard but mostly it will be worth it. I think.
My personal fear
This section does not concern everyone – not just because not every one of you is a woman but also that not every woman reading this has such irrational fears. It may be a matter of taste, too. But the important thing is – we all face other fears too. To each their own, as they say.
Mine is being muscular.
I think I got over it – but I know I never will. In my mind any amount of lifting will transform my arms into being extremely large and there is no stopping it. I realize how much work female body builders put into shaping their arms and how challenging it is – but this realization only appeals to the rational part of my brain. No amount of waving 0.5kg weights in front of the TV screen twice a week can achieve those arms. But… Oh, the joys of a paranoid mind.
Choosing the right exercise
The way society is constructed means that not every one of us can be a doctor. I have no real clue what could harm me – well, I know I shouldn’t eat certain things, for example, but that came mostly from doctors too. One thing anyone who is serious about not causing oneself any harm should do is talking to their GP the next time they have the chance. A little question can save you a lot of pain and fuss.
Not every exercise will be good for you. People are built differently. But as much as staying safe is important, it is also good to vary your routines, so as to avoid straining one muscle over and over again. Also, doing the same thing again and again can get awfully repetitive, so it is best to get some variety in.
If you have no clue where to start, check out YT. There are plenty of exercise plans and routines out there (my personal favourites would be Body Rock, Adriene or any stretches from Catherine – but my boyfriend would tell you there is only one true exercise channel on YT and that would be HASfit), it is quite easy to find something that tickles your fancy. Do not get stuck on something you do not enjoy – more choice means you don’t have to settle on something less than good (ideal may still be challenging). Personally I hate following men’s instructions – nothing anti-male in this, I just get intimidated quickly when I see a guy three times my size and because of this the exercises seem so much harder.
It is always better to sacrifice ten minutes more to look for something better than listen to a person you cannot stand day after day after day.
I am sure this list is not conclusive – there is plenty I have missed. What are your beginner tips? How did you not give up?
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