Gym Lessons from a Beginner

One of my favorite motivational fitness quotes says “It takes 4 weeks for you to see your body changing, it takes 8 weeks for your friends and family, it takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world, Keep going”

I love this because it reminds me that change takes time.  As I finish up week 3 and get ready for week 4 I’m still not seeing weight loss but I am starting to see more definition in my arms and legs, plus I’m waiting until the end of next week to do a real weigh in since I’m all bloaty this week.

Even though I’m still a gym novice and about 6 days away from the 21 day habit creation I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned during this process.

1.  Lay out your clothes the night before, if you’re super ambitious plan out your clothes for your entire workout week.  I’ve read this before and it’s one of the greatest tips.  I found spending too much time figuring out what to wear kills my motivation so I always have my clothes laid out.

2.  Following the subject of clothes I have to say wear what’s comfortable to you-I was seeing lots of women wearing spandex leggings while I was wearing sweat pants so I thought I should get some spandex leggings but when I wore them I didn’t feel comfortable.  I ended up finding a pair of yoga pants that were fitted but flared and more cotton than spandex.
I don’t really notice what someone is wearing unless I really like it or if it seems out of place (like the girl in plaid flannel pajama pants I guess if that’s all you got, you work it).

3.  Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed-I’m overweight so I do have that constant fear of being judged but I convinced myself that I’m in the gym working on not being overweight so if people want to judge me for my body type that’s their problem.  I still work on this one because I sometimes worry that someone’s judging me for spending only 10 minutes on the elliptical or switching machines but I realized everyone has their routine.  Honestly, from what I’ve seen the majority of people are more focused on their own routine than the people around them, everyone is there to work out.

4.  Don’t be afraid to push yourself but also listen to your body.  I remind myself that I don’t have to keep pace with anyone and I don’t have to run to work hard.  Do I want to jump on the treadmill and run for 30 minutes?  Yes.  Am I near that point yet?  No, so I go at my own pace, work hard, and leave with a sense of accomplishment.  I push myself but I try to keep it within reason so I don’t injure myself or burn out.  Every step is a step toward a goal.

5.  Set goals that work for you.  I’m not setting weight loss goals right now because I know missing a weight loss goal has the potential to devastate my progress, that’s just me.  Even though I want to lose weight I’m focusing on the get healthy aspect, create the routine, then maybe I’ll want to set weight loss goals.  Right now my goals revolve around improving my fitness levels.  Over the last few weeks I’ve worked from 5 minutes to 10 minutes on the elliptical next week I’m going to try 15 minutes (baby steps).

I definitely don’t have it all figured out and I’m learning everyday.  I certainly never thought I would be the person spouting motivational sayings or giving tips for working out but I am and I’m really enjoying it.  Joining the gym helped me to find my fitness groove and it might not be for everyone so I encourage everyone to try different activities, whether Zumba, walking, fitness videos, Yoga classes, etc, whatever works to get you moving.

My biggest lesson would be to just have fun, keep moving, and don’t look back 🙂

Filling the Time

I’m feeling so much better today, more eager to take on the world rather than hide in my bed. My anxiety is a bit troubling but I’m trying to channel it toward accomplishing something rather than building myself into a little ball of worry.  I’m keeping myself busy, just spoke with a woman this morning from the Red Cross who is helping move my volunteer application forward.  I actually had to do an interview but I passed, yay!

I would be working on a disaster action team and one of the examples she gave of what I would be doing was helping people after a house fire.  Providing support, information, and sometimes just being there, which is what I want to do in my professional life so if I can gain some experience in my personal life plus help people in the community, it’s a win-win.  🙂 The other benefit is the training I receive here I can take with me to wherever I happen to move.

I’ve been working on this post for a couple hours now because I’m a bit distracted today; however I have been able to finish my laundry, list my old TV on a community site for selling stuff, finished a letter to my sister in law (finally), and clean up my email.

I’ve done 10 minutes on the elliptical the last couple days  and it’s getting easier.  I want to quit at 8 minutes now instead of 4 so I’m going to work on increasing my time, probably just a couple minutes at a time.  I’m thinking working toward 12 minutes by the end of next week.  Started tracking everything and I did 200 minutes of cardio last week but strength training 3 days of the week.

I’m also going to go from 2 sets of 10 reps to 3 sets of 10 reps on the machines next week.  I had a list from the trainer that gave all the weights I started at and the seat settings but it was getting beat up plus I wanted something I could write when I increased my weights and also check off when I completed a set.  Being a fairly tech savvy individual I was hoping to find an app but sometimes technology does not always cater itself to my vision so I had to get creative.


I love arts and crafts time.  It’s basically a piece of thin cardboard wrapped in duct tape with some sheets I made up stapled to it but it works for me plus I added my starting weights and seat settings onto the back.  I can check off the sets as I do them and note the weights so I can keep track of changes, the numbers above are what I did the previous session.

I’ve definitely reached the point where I’m going “all in” with working out and when I went to bed last night I actually felt excited knowing I was going to go work out tomorrow morning.  I never thought I would reach this point where I was looking forward to the gym.  My friends and family are probably getting sick of my gym obsession, although my sister-in-law was talking to me about joining a gym (which she should definitely do:) ) so maybe I’m more of an inspiration than a nuisance.

I’m in desperate need of some lunch so I hope everyone is having a great week!

Curled up with a pint of ice cream

Last night I became enraged with the dishes in the sink, so irritated with myself for letting the dishes pile up that I wanted to cry and as I angrily threw the dishes into the dishwasher it dawned on me….the reason for my irrational angry….PMS.

It’s dominating my brain and my body right now so it will be the subject of my post today.

I admire the women who get limited symptoms and hope with a better diet and exercise my symptoms will decrease but right now my symptoms sometimes make me wonder if I’m dying.  My symptoms were not always this bad but over time have worsened to the point where I would gladly hide from society for days at a time if I could and today was one of those days.

I woke up this morning feeling exhausted, emotional, headache, bloated, irritated, aching, no desire to move beyond my warm bed but I refused to allow my own hormones to defeat me (although they are giving it everything they’ve got).  After a 45-minute cardio session at the gym (Yay!), I drug my aching body home to get ready to run some errands.  My routine right now is wake-up, gym, maybe an errand or two, home, shower, job search, Netflix.  I realized it had been at least a week since I last put on real clothes (not gym clothes) and went out into the world so I figured it was time.

I went on a mission to a local store in search of some non-slip workout headbands and found some to try but they’re not perfect so if you know of a good one, please let me know.  Next was the bank for quarters (laundry, the never ending chore) and finally WalMart for a few essentials.  My annoyance at a slow moving person in the aisle signified to me that I needed to dig out some patience, finish up my shopping and head home for lunch.

I gave into my cravings with a couple slices of pizza and a salad but I’m continuing to work on healthier ways to indulge my cravings instead of allowing myself a free pass to eat whatever I want once a month.  I was going to stop at the grocery store but instead decided to go home and make a list of what I actually need because today I would have had every chip and cookie in the store in my cart.  Instead I added berries and whipped cream to my list in an attempt to satisfy my rare sweet tooth.

I know giving into cravings is only going to make me feel worse so I’m trying to keep on track with my new healthy habits. I’ve read that exercise can help reduce symptoms but it’s so challenging to get moving when your body just wants to shut down.  This next week or so is going to be a struggle but since I’m not allowed to hibernate or simply take a week off from life I’m going to resist the urge to curl up in my bed with a pint of ice cream.

Tonight I’m going to indulge that sweet tooth with a granny smith apple, sprinkled with cinnamon and honey, baked in the oven and it will be delicious.  An early bed time, a hot cup of tea, a heating pad and I’ll be ready to tackle tomorrow.