How my fitness routine has evolved

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Finding a fitness routine that fits into my lifestyle.

How my fitness routine has evolved

Posted by RACHEL MATHENGE on JANUARY 26, 2019

We are a few weeks into the new year. How are you doing with those new year goals? Are you still working to accomplish those goals? Have you ran into some challenges and have already given up or are you still pushing on? Research shows that most people give up on their new year goals or resolutions by the end of January. If you are still working towards your goal, kudos to you! You’ve come further than most people and your body will thank you for staying on and achieving your goals. For those people who have given up, it’s not too late to start over. In fact, you don’t have to wait until the first of the year or the first of the month to start. Any day is perfect for you to start over.


One of the main new year goals that people set is to exercise or start a fitness routine. I joined the gym for the first time in January 2016. I wanted to lose weight but I did not know how to incorporate effective exercise into my lifestyle. Prior to gaining weight, I had no interest in regular exercise. I used to say that I work too hard to find time to exercise. Looking back, I was approaching exercise the wrong way. I thought I had to devote a lot of time to it, but I later found out that was not the case. During pregnancy and after my daughter was born, I gained over 60 pounds and I knew I needed to exercise. I always heard that walking is good for your health and for weight loss. So I started walking, a little bit each day. It was a good way to start a fitness routine.


Joining the gym for me was a step of faith. I felt intimidated and like I didn’t belong there, but I was willing to give it a shot. Fortunately, I had a friend who agreed to come to the gym with me. She showed me how to use the treadmill and other simple machines at the gym. I hadn’t stepped on a treadmill prior to joining the gym. I remember the first time I did, the unsettling feeling of walking on a moving surface. I was holding on the side rails for my dear life! The whole 25 minutes I was on the treadmill I did not let go! Eventually, I got the hang of it and got more comfortable. I now use the treadmill to warm up before exercise and during some interval training.


I also started attending Zumba class at the gym. I must have had a pretty bad brain fog because looking back I don’t know I made it through the class. For one, I’m tone deaf, and I don’t have very good coordination. So I could not follow the dance moves. I was determined to keep moving, and somehow I made it through the one hour class. The Zumba instructor congratulated me for making it through the class despite it being challenging and encouraged me to come back. She promised me it was going to get easier. I kept going back to the class, my dance moves did not improve but at least I was moving in the same direction as the rest of the class, and I actually started to enjoy it.


As much as I walked on the treadmill and enjoyed Zumba classes, my weight loss process was very slow. I could have given up on my goals were it not for my accountability friend who came to the gym with me when I was new to the gym.


I still needed to lose over 40 pounds, so I decided to hire a trainer to help me maximize my workouts and get better results. This to me was one of the best decisions I made at the time.  The trainer introduced me to dumbbells, weights, and other gym equipment. It was not easy learning all the things I needed to do. I would take notes and refer to them when I worked out without him. I felt very awkward and intimidated at first. Several people would come to me during my workouts to help me make a few adjustments to improve my body posture or avoid injury. I went to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour. After a few sessions with my trainer, I was more confident and I learned life long skills.


Fast forward today, I no longer need to exercise exclusively in the gym to get an effective workout. I’ve learned to incorporate my workouts with my life. Having reached my weight goal, I no longer need to work out as hard as I used to for weight loss. My focus is more on strength building and muscle toning workouts. I enjoy taking cycling classes and lifting weights. I also do  conditioning exercises like squats, pushups, sit ups and lunges at home. I like to do this while watching a TV show or listening to a podcast.


If you are just beginning to work out intentionally and with a goal to lose weight, Brunilda Nazario, MD has reviewed an article on how to get started on an exercise program, which you may find valuable.

I’ve learned that its important to,

  1. Find a fitness program that is challenging yet enjoyable.
  2. Have an accountability partner to keep you accountable to your goals.
  3. Seek help if you don’t know how to use exercise equipment or how to use the right body posture to avoid injury.
  4. Find a convenient place to exercise. If the gym is not a good option for you, you may enjoy doing outdoor group workouts, running, swimming, at home workouts using DVDs or YouTube videos, Apps etc. You may also consider investing in an exercise machine like a treadmill to use at the comfort of your home. This may give you more control and flexibility in your exercise schedule, compared to going to the gym. editorial team has published an in-depth complete guide on some of the best treadmills for use at home as well as the gym.
  5. It’s better to exercise a few minutes several days a week than several hours one day a week. Consistency gets you better results.


Learning new and challenging ways to exercise has always been appealing to me. I’m taking TRX classes, which I find quite challenging. TRX is a workout that uses suspension ropes against gravity and your body weight. It helps build flexibility, coordination, and balance. I’m back to embarrassing myself, but you know what,  I’m learning and this too will become second nature.


Have you found a fitness program that works for you? 

Are you brave enough to share your embarrassing or awkward fitness stories? If you are, please feel free to share with us on the comment section below.

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