When I was borderline obese, I had a gym membership, but honestly I felt too out of shape to use any of the equipment there! Instead, I splashed around in the pool with my kids (wearing an oversized T-shirt to cover my body) and looked through the window at all the people exercising feeling mildly impressed by their efforts and embarrassed by my own lack thereof.
I had to give myself a mental pep talk to go on the Stair Master. I told myself that all I had to do was just walk on it for one (1) minute, because if I could push through the difficulty for 60 seconds, then I could do more the next day.
It was a really, really long 60 seconds.
I was huffing and sweating and only on like, level 2, but when it was over I felt more in control. While it was certainly nothing to brag about, it was like getting a little booster shot of confidence.
Returning to fitness after a hiatus of months (or daresay years?) can be tough. There are very legitimate fears to face: What if I injure myself? How will I find the time to exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week? I know I won’t be as in shape as I was at age 20, so why even bother?
Start Small. Your body is an amazing machine and will adjust to the increased demand pretty quickly. Often times we give up before we even start because we get so overwhelmed with the idea of a pending massive lifestyle overhaul, so chunk it down!
Here are 4 Techniques to Start Small and Build-Up Your Endurance:
- Focus on a duration of time
Start by walking for one minute. Then two. Each day, walk a minute longer until you can go for 30 minutes or longer.
- Focus on a distance goal
If yesterday you walked for .25 of a mile, aim to walk half a mile by the weekend. Build slowly.
- Increase the incline
Once you can handle walking 8 minutes on a treadmill, you can conquer the world. Or at least hills. Try the interval program where you’re flat for 1 minute and then at an incline for 30 seconds. When this becomes easy, increase the incline.
- Go faster
As your body adjusts to more physical demand, push it a little more. Try interval runs where you run (or jog) for 30 seconds and then rest (or walk) for 30 seconds. Goad yourself into sprinting for 30 seconds. You can run for 30 seconds, right? Especially if you picture a bear behind you. Or zombies.
When you feel frustrated that you can’t run a marathon on the first day, just remind yourself it didn’t take a day to become out of shape, so it’s unfair of you to demand that your body be in peak condition after a week.
Start small, start slow and consistently work from there and I promise you, not only as a personal trainer, but as a formerly-overweight chick who’s been-there-done-that, that you will build up your endurance.
You can do it.