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Monday, November 4, 2013

Exercise Routine

I've had lots of people ask me what I do for exercise.  Especially people I've met recently at my new job who didn't know me when I weighed 281 pounds.  So, I'll try to describe what I have done and what I currently do to the best of my ability.  One piece of advice I can offer is to make sure you don't do too much too fast.  As you'll see below, it took me a long time to work up to where I am now and I'm still working towards a lot of different things with regards to fitness.  For example, I'm still not allowed to do much (if any) jumping.  It can still do a lot of damage to my knees and joints because I still have a lot of extra weight that I am carrying around.

When I first started working with Renee', she definitely had me start slow but she also made sure I was doing something I liked and would keep doing each day.  I've always enjoyed walking but, since it was the middle of winter, and I hate the cold, that wasn't an option.  Also, with how heavy I was, I probably wouldn't get much out of walking on the treadmill.  Plus, too much pounding could damage my knees and joints. By the way, this is all stuff I learned - I am not that smart!

So, I was mostly on the elliptical for the first couple of months.  The difference was, she came up with different things for me to do on the elliptical.  Renee' kept telling me we needed to "shock my body" which meant I couldn't get comfortable doing the same thing.  One day I would do a sprint/jog routine, another day maybe a hill climb then I would try a course on the elliptical or do some longer sprints and then do weights in between each set.  I was amazed at how many different things I could do on the elliptical.  I always had to write everything down because I knew I would forget something.  In addition to these elliptical routines, Renee' had me doing body weight squats, stupid push-ups (on my knees), planks (also on my knees) and some side and front raises.  I struggled to find the right form.  Even with the squats, I don't think I ever got the form completely right until she told me to put a physioball behind my back.  Never would have thought to do that on my own...

So, as you can see, I wasn't really lifting much weight for the first couple of months.  I needed to be moving my body safely, I learned.  She started to throw a few weight machines in here and there (took me awhile to find them at the gym sometimes...) but I was lifting pretty minimal weight.  And I was sore!  I was pretty much using 5lb dumbbells for the majority of my exercises.  Renee' added resistance bands as well.  I used those mostly when I went to boot camp at her facility.  Now, those things made my arms sore!  But, when I'm sore, it's a good thing.  At least, that's what Renee' tells me while she smiles at the fact that I'm sore.

As the months went on, I was doing longer sprints and other things on the elliptical but I still was trying to not put much pressure on my joints.  By mid-June, I had lost 50 pounds and Renee' wanted me to try to walk/jog, every minute on the minute.  I was willing to try.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be but I made it an entire hour in that rhythm.  Even with all the exercise I had been doing, it was going to take me awhile to build up my lung capacity and my ability to breathe while trying to do more intense exercising.  I slowly worked my way up to longer bouts of jogging and continued to lift more weight when I felt like I was ready.

The big key for me has been mixing up my workouts.  I do strength training, circuit training, intervals, cardio, etc.  My body never knows what is coming next.  I do give my body a break with a couple of days where I just go for walks.  It's important to let your body recover.  So, walking is the way I can still be active but not put too much strain on my body.

Slowly build up your workouts.  If you have questions, ask someone trained in fitness so you can be sure you are getting the correct answers.  I feel like I've come so far but I still have a long ways to go.  The crazy thing is - all you have to do is start.  Once you do, your entire life will change, for the better.  Mine did.  And it's so worth it.