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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I HATED EXERCISE! HOW WAS I EVER GOING TO DO THIS?



Hi there. 
Half of Gabby has moved to a new kickass website! 


Read this article, in it’s updated version, HERE.


The page that you are on right now (www.halfofgabby.blogspot.com) is no longer posting new articles and information. Half of Gabby has moved to www.halfofgabby.com and will continue to post new material regularly! In addition, all older articles have been updated on the new site!


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What the hell was I supposed to do for exercise? I had no clue. Zip. Zilch. I felt overwhelmed. I had given myself 2 weeks to figure it out. I knew I had to do cardio and I pretty much knew I was going to have to build muscle somehow. But how?

I spent a lot of time searching online trying to put together a program for myself. I also called my bro who was long-distance, otherwise, he would have been at my doorstep with a stopwatch around his neck and a clipboard. I shit you not, he lived for this stuff and he had been worried about my health for many years. He had always been up to speed with working out, even before the military and I completely trust what he tells me. He drove home the point that I HAD to build muscle through weight training and weight resistance exercises. He told me to start small and buy a couple 1 pound dumbbells and put together a circuit. Huh? How?

So I found some arm exercises to do with the dumbbells and started doing lunges and squats to build muscle in my legs. It wasn't much, but it was a start. I put a little program together and did it everyday. It only took about 15 minutes but I figured I'd add to it as I went and for now, it was more than what I was doing, which was a big fat nothing. And let me tell you, I thought those 1 pound dumbbells were chump change before I started, psst, my arms would hurt after doing my sets of exercises. My arms were noodles. I had NO muscle. I was as weak as they come. For reals. But I kept with it and after about a month, moved to 1 1/2 lb dumbbells, then 3lb, and so on.

I got stronger as months passed. And it felt good. Real good. But the problem was (well, not really a problem but more something I just had to deal with) I was so fat and had so much fat on my arms, that even though I knew I was building muscle, you couldn't see it. It was too far buried under my chub. That was difficult at times, but I'd put it out of my mind and kept telling myself 'someday everyone will see it, until then feel good with knowing it's there'.

And as for my legs, uh, hello..lunges aren't anything to joke about. Those things are the devil. That was my saying, I said it all the time. Honestly though, they kicked my ass (or my legs & butt rather). Definitely start out small with lunges and squats, they are hell on those unused muscles. But boy do they work! They firm up the legs and lift your butt. I remember shopping with my mom, Linda, only a few short months after starting doing the lunges and squats. I tried on a pair of pants and she could not get over the fact that even though my ass was big, it was sitting up at attention. She mentioned it over and over. "It's just so high up", she'd say. I got a kick out of it.

So I had my weight training and muscle building routine down, what about Cardio? I wasn't sure. I thought about some kind of dance tape (hold the hysterics, fatties can dance...well, kind of) or some other kind of aerobic DVD. So I did what I had been doing for all my information collecting, I started looking online for some answers. I started with aerobic DVDs. I searched, read reviews and top ten lists, etc, nothing peaked my interest. We already owned a Wii gaming system, which we didn't really use. But I decided to buy the Wii fit with the balance board. I started doing the Wii fit. At first I thought it was awesome. It didn't seem like real exercise and hey, that sold me right there. I hated exercise. And I was so disgustingly, ridiculously out of shape that for a few weeks, I did find myself huffing and puffing as well as sweating. But quickly I started to realize, it wasn't enough. I needed to work harder. You had to keep stopping every few minutes to pick a new activity. There was no way to keep your heart rate up consistently. There was no sense in taking the time to do something if it wasn't going to get the job done.

So back to the computer I went. I found a workout program for the Wii called My Fitness Coach. It had great reviews and what intrigued me the most was reading glowing reviews from both novice exercisers as well as very active fitness buffs. The program is set up so when you register for the first time, you take a physical challenge test (how many crunches can you do, how long can you do jump jacks, etc). You also give it information about yourself including punching in all your measurements.  It designs workouts for you based on all your scores and information. And while you are actually working out, the program will stop 3 times within the workout and ask you if the program is too hard, too easy, or just right. So depending on how you answer those, it tweaks the workouts as you go. After you complete so many workouts (I think its 7 or 8), you do the physical challenge test again. The program is always changing to suit your needs and ability. It worked perfectly for me. Two years later and I still use the My Fitness Coach. It's a very simple program, you have a trainer who is on the screen doing the exercises with you and there is a ticker tape scroll on the bottom of the screen to tell you which exercise is coming up. Is it fun?, not really. But it's what I wanted. I love the ticker because I put the tv on mute and blast my music. The trainer is showing you what to do and the ticker gets you prepared for what's coming up so you really don't need the sound after you learn most of the moves. It's not for everybody, I'm sure. Everybody has there own needs and wants, but it was perfect for me. But beware, they have since come out with a My Fitness Coach 2 and it sucks big time. It's nothing like the first one. You don't actually have a coach, the workouts aren't fluid, and you don't even break a sweat. Stay away from that one, it's bunk.

Now, since my beginner days, my workouts have changed unbelievably. I exercise harder, longer, and with a lot more intensity. But that is what my body needs now. I'm in great shape and need to maintain my muscle mass, so I'm working out a lot differently. But you always must keep changing and adding and rearranging. You don't want to get into a rut with exercise. Your body will start to crave it like a drug (I'm not saying your mind will but your body will, absolutely) and just like a drug, it will build up a tolerance. At certain intervals, you will have to change what you're doing, increase the intensity, and push yourself further. If you don't, not only will you stop progressing in your journey to health and fitness, but you will hit weight loss plateaus. And those can be the death of even the strongest motivation and ultimately end your reign. Trust me, it's true, it happened to me so many times, it was like watching Groundhogs Day...for 10 years. But the above attempts at starting an exercise regimen actually worked... and worked well. For the first time in my life, I was starting to understand that being active was the key to it all. And I was starting to get excited.

"Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve"
Wilfred Peterson

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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

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