What doesn’t kill you…..

Let’s face it, when you are out of shape, it really, REALLY sucks to get back in to shape. Every thing hurts, from the top or your head to the bottom of your feet. It takes a strong commitment and will power to continue to do things that physically hurt you to do. I can remember having to run for football before fall camp started. I can still feel that nagging pain in your side you get when you run for a while. It was like a piercing knife that got worse and worse. You had to be in a certain condition by the time fall camp started or you were punished. Our test was a mile and a half run. To make it fair, backs and receivers had to a certain time they had to do it in and lineman had another. If you failed to reach that time, you had to do extra running after every practice in August. Back when I played football, we had two-a-days in August. You had a practice that started at 7:00 AM and went to 10:00 AM, then you came back that afternoon at 3:30 PM and went till around 6:30 PM. This happened 5 days a week for the first two weeks in August. We did not start school until mid to late August so this did not interfere with classes. As you probably know, August is one of the hottest months of the year so extra running after practice was brutal. I really enjoyed playing the game of football but I truly hated practice. It was hot, miserable and painful, especially if you were out of shape. My football coach said something that has stuck with me all my life, “It takes 3 weeks to get into shape, it takes 3 days to get out of shape.” I have found that to be one of the truest statements I have ever come across in relation to physical fitness.

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When you decide to change to a healthier lifestyle, you have to commit to the physical end of it. Eating habits will get you so far but to truly become healthy, you have to incorporate exercise. When you start your activities, whether that be weight training, cardio training or simply walking, your body will go into what I like to call the “What the Hell??” phase.  You have gotten used to doing nothing most days. You get up, go to work, come home, do nothing, go to bed and repeat the next day. That first day of exercise, your muscles are tight and not used to activity. Once you start, your body will be sore, there is no doubt about it. The most soreness occurs the 2nd day after working out. I can remember starting football on Monday and the Wednesday of the same week being so, so sore that it would take 15 minutes of warm up just to get some of the soreness out. But why are we sore? This is what I read off the NHS Choices Live Well fitness page. “Sore muscles after physical activity, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can occur when you start a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or increase the duration or intensity of your regular workout.When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to or in a different way, it’s believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness.” In short, your muscles are screaming, “WHAT THE HELL”!!! You need to work your way thru the soreness to get to the other side. Once you get used to that physical activity, you have to keep challenging yourself by changing up either the amount of weight you lift, the distance you walk/run or change the exercise entirely. You want to keep changing the intensity of your exercise to keep your body engaged. Just like it gets used to doing nothing, the body will get used to the exercise you are doing and adjust. That is what is called a plateau or you have hit a wall. Change it up and change results.

Going back to the good ole days, when I was an athlete, I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. My dad said it would be nothing for me to eat a loaf of bread, a pound of bologna and a gallon of milk a day. especially during football season. I used to eat a bag of Doritos and a tub of french onion dip everyday lunch or it was nothing for me to put away 2-3 hamburgers and a plate of fries. You could not fill me up. Unfortunately I was learning very bad eating habits at that time. So when the physical activity stopped, my bad eating did not and I exploded. I did play intramurals in college and softball during the week and some weekends but, was still eating badly. It took me a long time to realize you really are what you eat. My cousin, Dr Joe Olmi said it best one day, “No amount of exercise will make up for a bad diet.” Exercising is great but you must change your eating habits if you truly want to change your life. There are many, many books and articles on proper diet to help you lose and maintain a healthy way of life. You just need to pick one that works for you. I had the most success with “The Abs Diet.” by David Zinczenko. This book and plan made sense to me. You have to find what works for you though. I will go out on a limb here and say I don’t think there is one out there that includes pizza and beer. If you find that one, please forward to me immediately!!

Go make a plan, commit to that plan and execute it! I promise, this change won’t kill you, it just feels like it will haha!! It will make you stronger and healthier however and in the end, all that pain will be worth it!

 

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