Exercise Beginnings – Week One

How did the exercise start?

So it all started on a challenge with a friend. I told him that it would be a nice challenge to myself. He told me that maybe I want to take it further and do it like the ice bucket challenge. When I complete the 30 weeks, I have to challenge some friends. Now mind you, I’m no exercise buff.

Like many Americans out there, I’m struggling with weight. Over time, I’ve deposited more fat than I’d care to admit, and it’s starting to make me feel sluggish and uncomfortable. And no one likes to exercise.

A picture of a fat guy before an exercise.
The obligatory before shot. Butt and gut and everything. Yes, I’m upset. Look at me! I used to run 6 miles at a time in my youth.

There are plenty of blogs out there dealing with slow starts to exercising. Here’s a neat one I found.

What does the exercise mean?

It means that we start out with 5 minutes on a treadmill, or in a park, around the block, or anywhere that you can run. Every week (7 days), you increase your running my one minute. Eventually, in approximately 25-30 weeks, you should be able to run 30 minutes. That’s a lot of calories, and it’s not even considered exercise, or a full workout.

Day One – A Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts with One Step

Don’t force yourself to do more than you can. If all you can do is 1 minute, walk the other 4. Remember, you have 30 weeks. Technically, if you start at one minute, you have 29 weeks. Give yourself time. If you can’t even run half a minute, walk for a minute. Then, next week, walk two, and so on. Make it a 35 week challenge. It’s only another 5 weeks. That’s nothing compared to the results you will have. Or, start at one minute day one and work your way to 5 minutes within 7 days. But only do it if you feel comfortable.

* From now on, I will refer to the starting point as the 5 minute mark. Yours may differ. You might feel comfortable (that’s the key word right there) running 10 minutes. Make that your mark.

My 5 minute run was ok. Remember, I haven’t ran in over 2 years. I gained a lot of extra weight. I’m 6’1″ and weigh close to 290 lbs. I’m ashamed of it, but I know that in 30 weeks, it will be different. I used to run 3-6 miles at a time when I was younger. Now, my back hurts if I sleep in a bed. That’s right, I have to sleep on the sofa chair in the living room because my back hurts when I sleep on my stomach. I’m weak. Very weak. I need more exercise.

Is it possible?

You bet! Anything’s possible if you put your mind to it. Start slow, and gain a little at a time. At first you will feel like crap. I did. I’m only on day two when I write this, and I already feel like my lungs are going to come out of my back. I cough when I want to laugh after I run, my feet are sore, my breathing seems like it wants to quit at the two minute mark, but after I’m done, I feel much better. The torture is better.

Here’s why it will work.

It will work because it won’t kill you. Most work out coaches and instructors will force you to go the full 30 minutes on day 1. Or a full hour of weight lifting on day 1. That will be the best way to not work out again the next day. It will be the biggest deterrent. And when they tell you to do what you can, and they run the full 30 minutes, you definitely feel like crap and don’t ever want to run again.

Now, for some math

Take it easy. Very easy. Yes, on week one you will feel horrible. Like me, you’ve probably not run in years, or ever. Running 5 minutes from zero is a big strain. But, hang in there. Run for a week. I guarantee you that by day 3 you will start to run more, automatically. Don’t force yourself. Don’t push yourself over the 5 minute mark. Stay at the 5 minute mark for the whole week. The next week, moving your time to the 6 minute mark will feel like nothing. First week, you went from zero to 5 minutes right off the bat. That’s a 100% increase in time. Week two, you’re increasing only by 20% (one extra minute out of 5, which make it 6). Next week, it will be 1 out of 6, or 17%. By the end, when you go from 29 minutes to 30, it will be only a 3% increase in your time.

Day Two – Still going strong

So today, I had some motivating music on my Galaxy S5. Some nice epic sounding music by Thomas Bergersen. The two tracks that I recommend are “To Glory” and “Protectors of the Earth”. I turn on my Spotify, and put those two on loop.

I kind of cheated a little. I actually ran a couple of extra minutes. I liked the music. It gave me a jolt of adrenaline. Tomorrow I know I will continue with 5 minutes only… or at least, I’ll try not to go over.

Fat guy running on treadmill, not used to exercise.
This does not look pretty.

As you can see, at the 4 minute mark, I’m dying. I could barely muster up a smile. It’s not pretty. Man boobs bouncing everywhere, and arms flailing around like I just don’t care. It was hard to hold the camera and run at the same time. I was mostly breathing out of my mouth which you shouldn’t do. Let’s see how day 3 will fare.

Some tips so you don’t overwhelm yourself

Don’t bring water with you. No towels are necessary. Leave your gym bag at home. This is supposed to be casual, and you won’t die from 5 minutes of running without water. Use the available paper towels at the gym to wipe down the machines. Most of them have them.

Do bring your favorite music along. Don’t just bring a boom box with you. Be courteous. Bring some headphones or ear buds. Cheap ones run you about 10 bucks if you don’t have any.

Day 3 – I don’t feel like it, but…

I know that I have to. The way I look at it is like this… “It’s only 5 minutes”. No preparations, not even stretches are necessary for a 5 minute jog. All I have to do is put on my sweats and grab my phone. Oh, and ear buds. That does not sound that hard. I think the hardest part is bending down to put on my workout sneakers.

A running I will go…

Back from another 5 minutes… ish. I can’t help it. That music is really good for running apparently. I did my 5 minutes, walked, and then when the music came in, I started running again. I must have done 3 one minute sprints. I call them sprints because I was going 6-7 mph. That’s more than my usual 5-5.5 mph. It felt great, though.

I’m all sweaty, and can barely type on the keyboard. I look back on day 1 and realize how weak I was to barely run 5 minutes. I suppose running 6 minutes next week won’t be a problem. Heck, I’m already kind of doing 7-8 minutes now. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

The Bad

I think I need to drink more water. My left shin muscle hurt a bit while running. It’s fine now, but while running, I felt a sting when I would use the muscle. I know my muscles are barely developing, and I can’t force myself too much, but I definitely think that pain was due to low water intake throughout the day.

This is what’s so great about running only 5 minutes at a time. I can adjust without feeling like I committed to a full 30 minutes yet. I know that I need more water, but I still ran my full committed 5 minutes, and then some. Good exercise, I’d say.

Speaking of water. See you in a few seconds.

Caloric record

Tonight, I did over 100 calories in running combined with walking. It’s not much of an exercise, but it’s the start. And that matters now more than anything else.

A photo of a treadmill display before an exercise.
A photo of the machine during cooldown.

It was good. The good thing about it is that if I need to take it easier tomorrow, I won’t be running 8 minutes. I’ll just run my dedicated 5 minutes.

Drink your water

Every athlete out there tells you to stay hydrated. I’ve seen people faint due to lack of water in my days. They just kind of stumble to the side of the road and fall like a cow pie. Of course, the medic on the field has to pull out his silver bullet (thermometer) and has to take your core temperature. That’s right… your core is best reached through the back door. Ow. No thanks. I’d rather drink my water.

You can live without water for 3 days, sure, but when you run, and the more you run, the more water you will need. Don’t push you luck. Don’t go running your 30 minutes without having any water for two days. That’s just not smart.

Anyway, on to the rest of my day. See you tomorrow!

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