One Month Challenge: Fun with Fitness, Week 1

Everyone’s got a vice, a bad habit, something they know they need to change. Unfortunately, everyone also has a million excuses why they just can’t do it. Not anymore. Every month we will be following a different CollegeCandy writer as she takes on a personal challenge. This month we’re following Norah on her quest to bring exercise into her life.

OK, so Week 1 wasn’t entirely unsuccessful. But that’s not saying much.

By the time Wednesday night rolled around, I realized I had yet to do any physical activity whatsoever. I hadn’t even walked to class all week. Sure, I had a busy week – it was midterms time, the week before spring break. And any other week, I would have brushed it off as just another week without exercise, no big deal–there’s always next week. But I knew that I had this post hanging over my head, and how the heck was I going to write a blog post if I had nothing to write about?

So off I trekked to our campus rec center with my friend Martha, a triathlete and former competitive swimmer. This girl is way more intense than I could ever be, so I knew she wouldn’t let me slack off. And for going, I offered myself the reward of a Shamrock Shake afterward.

Once we got there, Martha chose her treadmill right away and started running. I wandered around for a few minutes, trying to find the least daunting piece of exercise equipment to start with. I remembered that a reader named Ellen had recommended I start with a cross-trainer (thanks, Ellen!), so I climbed onto the machine and got ready to start. Except there were all these buttons, and that created a problem. Martha came to my rescue, starting the machine and upping the resistance to level 6 (which may or may not be a big deal, but believe me, I was just fine with no resistance).

I stalled a little bit longer, making a playlist on my iPod Touch and, of course, “checking in” to the rec center on Foursquare. To add insult to non-athletic injury, Foursquare proclaimed, “This is your 1st check-in here!” I know, I know. With nothing left to do, I reluctantly started the machine. And once I fell into a rhythm, it really wasn’t that bad. Listening to music was a good distraction, because it kept me energized (United State of Pop, anyone?) as I ellipticized (Can I make that a verb? Well, I just did). I challenged myself to make it to 5 minutes, then 10, and finally 15, and before I knew it I’d met my goal. And even though it was only 15 minutes, it felt GREAT.

When I stepped off the machine, my legs were shaky and clammy, and I was a little dizzy. Probably not a good thing, so I went over to the exercise bikes to sit down. I was going to start biking, but then this guy sat down next to me, and rather than allowing him the privilege of watching me in all my awkwardness, I decided it was time to stretch. (Meanwhile, Martha’s still running. I think she ran, like, 3 miles. This girl is ridiculous.) Martha joined me in a few minutes, suggesting we do a plank for 30 seconds–which was a success! I did it! My entire body was spasm-ing for the last, well, 25 seconds, but I did it!

So, Shamrock Shake in hand, I returned home slightly exhausted but mainly really proud of myself. Working out once may not seem like a huge accomplishment, but I’m taking this all in baby steps. And this next week provides an added challenge–I’ll be home, without access to free exercise facilities or fitness classes. Wish me luck–and keep sending the advice my way! I’m going to need it.

Ben Twitpic Photos
Ben Twitpic Photos
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