Monday, February 21, 2011

Starting a Workout Program Part I: My Story

Tell me if any of these applies (or has applied) to you:
- You want to start a fitness program, but you're not sure how.
- You're tired of being overweight, out-of-shape
- You've tried and failed so many times, you're afraid to try again.

Is this you? I know I was there...

At about age 23, I was an overweight college student. I drank about 5 regular cokes a day, smoked almost a pack of cigarettes a day, and just thought I was destined to be out of shape forever. I didn't really have a clear concept of personal responsibility, in fact, I felt the opposite: I felt like things just "happened" to me, and I had no control.

I had tried to quit smoking. I had tried to diet. I had tried "running" (as in, "run as fast as you can until you feel like you're going to pass out, then declare it too hard and quit.") I just figured I was powerless.

Here's me when I was an overweight smoker/musician 

The turning point for me was when I started thinking, "I don't want to look back on my 20s as an unhealthy fat girl. I'm wasting my life."

I saw a display of Firm VHS Videos at Target, and picked one up: "Not-So-Tough-Aerobics". It used light weights and a "step". I didn't have a step, so I used (this is hilarious) a phone book. I taped it together so it wouldn't slip. I had one set of 5 pound weights.

Wow, it was hard, but I loved it. I got addicted. I did the same workout every day for a week, then went back to pick up another one. I didn't know what I was doing, but I loved it. I started to see results. I started to (almost) care what I was eating (I did, however, drink soda while working out. I shudder just thinking about it).

Over time, I collected weights, barbells, steps, gadgets, workout clothes, and videos. I discovered Videofitness in 1996, which was, at the time, a small site for consumers to review workout videos. I learned about Cathe Friedrich and countless others...

By 2000, I was determined to become an instructor. I was in graduate school, but spent all my spare time and money going to fitness certifications and training. Eventually, in 2003, after teaching for a few years, an opportunity arose for me to work full time as a group fitness coordinator at a gym. I did it for about a year, taking a break from school.

Over the years, lots of things have changed. I got a few degrees, learned a lot, had a lot of different jobs, moved, got married, had 2 kids... but since that first Firm video, I've pretty much kept going.

In the next post, I'll talk about how and why it has worked....

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