01 02 03 I'm My Favorite: Exercise - Getting Started 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Exercise - Getting Started

I've had several people tell me they can relate to the things I'm writing about in my blog. It's nice to know I'm not alone. If that is the case than many of you probably had/have a difficult time getting started with exercise. It was the hardest part for me. I did diet alone for nine months before I began even thinking about adding exercise in. I didn't want to do it.

I had zero success with exercise up until 10 months ago. I would go through spurts of trying. Usually around the month of January. I would go to the gym a few times and then give up. I just did not like exercise.

Cheese and rice, I don't know how you people that do the treadmill do it. That was my exercise of choice when I would get on a fitness kick. That huge room with straight lines of treadmills and bikes and rowing machines. All those people in that room all looking the same direction and not talking to each other. It was so lonely and boring. And then at the front of the room were the weight machine people who just seemed like they were from a different universe. I never lasted more than a week on the treadmill.

It was a stars aligning thing that did it for me. Back in the fall of 2009 I was having a really difficult time in my day-to-day life. I would sit in my car at lunch and journal. I would write and write about everything that went wrong that day. I had hit bottom and just didn't see how I could dig myself out.

Jim was very supportive during that time (as he always is). We had a long talk one night. I told him I needed help. I was convinced that a new puppy would make me happy (oh, he so wanted to give me that puppy, but he knew that's not what I needed). My wise husband told me what I really needed to do. I needed to get my CONTROL back.

If I've had a mantra the past 10 months (besides "I'm just here to Zumba") it's been CONTROL. And I got it back slowly but surely. I was back to being myself. That journey helped me realize how strong I am. That I can do anything I set my mind to. When you're at your lowest, darkest place, you can pick yourself up and get back to the top. But it's up to you. Others can help, but they can't do it for you.

So, that's when the little spark of wanting to exercise was born. But I was terrified of failure. Ah, failure. It's so powerful. I had tried exercise before and I always gave up. I was convinced I would fail again; so why try. Can anyone relate?

The next spark I added was from my friends Jody and Kevin. Jody and Kevin are my original "favorites." It was around their campfire one night that I believe my whole "favorite" thing was born.

Jody and Kevin did P90X together last year.

Kevin and Jody at Zoobilation 2010

I sat up one night talking to Jody about this program. The thing that stuck out to me was her determination. I could tell there was no question of if she would do the dvd workout that night. She would do it. Even if it meant putting the dvd in at 10 o'clock at night after an exhausting day at the office. That clicked for me. She had control over it. She was in charge. Nothing was going to get in her way; not even sleep.

The next spark was our upcoming trip to Disney in November 2009. This would be the third trip to Disney with the kids. We love us some Disney World. As you've noticed, I love taking photos. I hate that I'm never in the photos. I'm never in them because I always delete the ones I'm in because I don't like how I look in them. I wasn't willing to not be in the photos this time.

Case-in-point I had to find this photo of me from my brother's page. I didn't have any on mine.

Me and Jacob Disney 2005

Now we're in August. P90X is a 90-day program. If I started in September, I would see results by our November vacation. So I talked to Jim to see what he thought. Always the supportive husband, he thought why not go for it. He knew a woman in his office had the dvds and so he asked if we could borrow them. She said sure, but that it would take her a little while to get them to us. She told him that it was a really, really hard workout and if I hadn't exercised often (try not at all) I might want to start exercising then to prepare for it.

That scared me. But I still had the control and the determination so I took her advice. I dusted off my YMCA membership card and went to a water aerobics class. I liked it. I wasn't worried about being judged - there were all shapes and ages in the class. With water aerobics no one can see how hard you're working. No one can really see anything. So I really pushed it. I was worried that it wasn't really exercise so I put 100% into the workout and I was sore the next day so I knew it worked.

I went to four water aerobic classes and decided to try something else. I tried Step aerobics.

I had done Step in college and liked it. I liked having to follow along with the moves. To memorize what step would be coming next. I knew Step would be a challenge for me so I didn't even get a step. I just did the moves on the floor.

The first class I went to there were probably 20 people in it at the beginning. There were only six when it was over and I was one of them and I was about to die. It was so hard. So hard you think "why am I doing this?" "I don't like this!" But that's what exercise is about right? You're not supposed to like it.

These thoughts were going through my mind as I gathered my towel and water bottle and made my way out the studio door. And then something amazing happened. I walked out into the hallway and was greeted by 40 women. They were all waiting to get into the next exercise class. Here I was leaving a class that ended with six and there were 40 women waiting to go into an exercise class. I made my way to the end of the line of women and ask one of them "what class is this?" and she answered "Zumba."

Never heard of it. I stuck around to watch the beginng. They were dancing. Interesting. I'd have to look it up in the program when I got home.

The program guide said:

Zumba: "Zumba" means "move fast and have fun!" A Latin, dance-inspired aerobic workout for total body fitness.

Sounded fun. The next Zumba class was Sunday (at that time Zumba was only offered Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). I don't remember the class. I do know I was in the back of the classroom. I remember I really liked it. And I know I went to every Zumba class that month. (I liked Zumba so much I never did P90X - Jim is thinking about giving it a try.)

I hung on to this calendar. I like to pull it out every once and awhile and see how I started.

I can tell you why I liked Zumba from the beginning. Similar to Step, I liked that you could memorize the moves. I can usually get the steps down to a song by the time the songs ends and the next time we do that song I can usually do a majority of the moves by memory without looking at the instructor. Just a geek thing for me.

I liked that it was dancing. Jim always joked that I have no rhythm and can't dance but after watching me dance at the wedding last week I think I've changed his mind.

It felt safe to me. Again, there are all sizes and ages in the class. And I'm telling you everyone is smiling. There's something about the music and dancing and being covered with sweat after each song that makes you say "is this really exercise" at the same time as you're saying "man, this is kicking my butt."

And I loved that when I would glance up at the clock we would already be 45 minutes into the class and I felt like we just started and I didn't want it to end.

It finally happened. I liked to exercise. No, I loved to exercise. I loved Zumba. I couldn't get enough.

Now I was like Jody. Nothing was going to stop me from going. I'm so thankful that I have a supportive husband. He's 100% behind me going to class. He's my biggest fan. I think the kids can tell that Zumba is good for me. A happy mommy makes for happy kids. They are really cute about it. Whenever I wear my green tank Gracie asks "why you wearing your zumma shirt mommy?" and when Jacob puts his arms around my middle he says "look how tight I can hug you now."

Me and the kids. Disney 2009.

Zumba Corner
This post is already way too long so I'll just post a photo from last nights class. I'm standing on the far left in my pink Zumba tank.

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