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How I Went from No Exercise to a Daily Routine

Let me start by clarifying: I'm not a personal trainer, dietitian or any kind of expert. I'm a girl who hasn't had a serious exercise routine since college (over four years ago). Since then, I've had many excuses for why I either couldn't join a gym or stick to an exercise regime: I was busy, my work schedule was too demanding, driving to the gym takes away workout time so I spend less time working out--thus defeating the purpose of going to the gym. It's too hot to go for a run; it's too cold; now it's raining, etc. You know the drill.

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Recently, most of these excuses were thrown out the window when I began working remotely. I found myself in a sedentary routine most of the day. Sitting on the couch, at a desk, at Starbucks while sipping calorie-bomb frappuccinos. I found myself putting on a bit of weight and feeling sluggish.

When I went on vacation a couple of months ago, I was as bold as to announce to my family that I would get up early every morning and utilize the gym. That didn't happen. I vowed to join the local gym upon returning home. That didn't happen. I vowed to start going for a run every morning. That didn't happen. Why?

Because the idea of working out is intimidating.

The thought of dedicating 30 minutes of my morning to an exercise routine is overwhelming when I haven't done it in four years. Moreover, I'm worried I won't be able to stick to it and that my initial efforts will be in vain.

So I started slow.

Here's what happened: after feeling particularly sluggish, I tried something new: Instead of a full workout, I'd start with stretches. Then on to 10 sets of the following: Sit-ups, push-ups, squats, jumping jacks. If, after 10 sets I felt like doing more, I would. But I did not put pressure on myself to do more than 10. The goal was to increase my routine by another 10 sets whenever I felt comfortable.  

After a few days, I worked myself up to 20. Then 30. Each day, I not only met the 10-set goal I had set, but I slowly exceeded them and by the following morning, was prepared to challenge myself further. I did this until I reached a daily goal of 100. Sometimes I do more, but for now I've worked myself up to a manageable routine that also makes a difference. As a result, I found myself having more energy and motivation to keep it up, even incorporating a quick run after my basic routine.

Start with 10.

That's what I learned, and it may work for you. If you have trouble creating or sticking to a workout routine, try it: Start with 10. Ten sets of any moves that are manageable for you. Then increase it slowly until you're at a point where it is making a difference. Before you know it, that 30 minute exercise routine won't seem like such a chore, and getting into shape becomes a much more tangible goal.

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Ariana Arghandewal is the Managing Editor of Frugal Travel Guy, where she writes about points, miles, and free travel. You can follow Ariana on Twitter or connect with her on Google+.



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