Wading into the Shallows

Winter is almost over, and Spring is almost here. Ten days from today, the 20th of March will hit, and the Vernal Equinox will arrive at 5:58PM. Might as well say 6:00PM. I’m not sure why two minutes makes much a difference, but I’m not the one who monitors that change in the world’s positioning and the way it impacts the seasons. All I know is that, for some reason, today I’m thinking about my ‘New Year Resolution’ while I’m resting at work.

At the start of January, I decided I wanted to lose weight and get healthy.

I lost around seven pounds (7lbs) in January and February. That’s around fifteen pounds (15lbs) in two months. For a New Year Resolution, I’m doing good with my promise. However, as I work to shed the weight, I’ve come to learn a bit about weight loss and nutrition that I hadn’t known last year or in any year before this. The idea that our weight is dependent on both the food we consume and our lifestyles is common knowledge, but it’s a fact of life I hadn’t thought about.

Eating healthy is a struggle for me. Food is my comfort, my friend, and, in a warped way, a lover which makes me feel good. Learning to replace the foods I like (fast food, for instance) with healthy alternatives that taste just as good is a learning curve that takes time to get used to.

Starting tomorrow, I plan on hitting the gym after I get done with school. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll tackle the gym, at this moment in time. It’s been years since I’ve last worked out in a gym and the machines are a bit of a mystery. I do know, however, that I need to tone up as I drop the weight. I also know that my approach will be a mixture of cardio and weight training.

It’ll hurt. It’ll be hard. But, in the end, I have to think about what I’m working towards.

There’s also a pool I can swim in, too, which helps. Swimming is a workout that targets all the muscles in the body and tends to be gentler on the body. My plan, on that front, is to work out in the gym after I get out of class and hit the pool as a ‘cool down’ afterward. I like swimming. It’s relaxing and therapeutic, in its own way, and it’s something I’m looking forward to.

This is important to me. As a Student Massage Therapist (SMT), being in a good physical condition is vital. My body has to be strong; I don’t want hurt myself by overexerting my muscles during a session, and getting into shape is a good way to help prepare myself for the career I’m studying and working towards.

Tomorrow, I’ll be hitting the gym. Which means that, for today, I need to know what I’m gonna do so I put my time to good use. Losing weight with exercise is a proven method of improving one’s health. I’ve already tackled my diet, I’ve made changes to how I eat (or, more accurately, I’ve been working on portion control and not overeating), and the weight I’ve lost is due to that.

Which Means it’s Time to Face the Music:

A Beginner’s Approach to the Gym

It’s easy to hurt yourself when you’re working out. Not knowing what you’re doing is the start of doing a lot of work that won’t have any positive results that are long-lasting. For a beginner who is losing weight, alternating between cardio and weight training is important. For me, I’m aiming for three days of Weight Training and two days of Cardio. That will put me in the gym, and in another town, five days a week; the weekends will be reserved for rest and recuperation.

Weight Training

Days: Monday, 1/2 Wednesday, Friday

Women don’t build muscle like men do. When we work towards Weight Training, the muscles we build are leaner. This sort of exercise increases a woman’s metabolism, which is what I need as my own metabolism is a bit on the slow side. There’s also the added bonus of of building bone density. A full-body routine can vary, and the workout itself will depend on what equipment the gym has on hand. It’s ideal to move through the gym, targeting each muscle group as we transfer from one machine to the next.

As a working Student Massage Therapist, my body is my greatest asset. It is the tool which my future job will depend on. This tool has to be fine-tuned, fluid, and healthy. And strong, without a doubt, but strong comes when I work to get it into an optimal state of operation. However, as a Student Massage Therapist, I can’t overdo my workouts because it would be counterproductive.

Weight Training, in that way, is a careful and deliberate process. The gym, and the workout, has to be approached with a clear mind and a clearer goal. For the workout itself, I’ll get some pointers from my teacher (a Massage Therapist who has been in the field for 10+ years) and report back what he says would be a good starting routine for someone who’s just starting out in the gym. Any, and all, advice is always welcome.

Cardio

Days: Tuesday, 1/2 Wednesday, Thursday

Some people say the quickest way to lose weight is through cardio. I’m sure that’s true, to an extent, but there’s more to dropping pounds that goes beyond an accelerated heart rate. Not to mention the various types of cardio available (and the fact that Yoga, in its own way, also fits into this category). Cardio helps the body burn fat, Yoga helps the body stay flexible and fluid.

Together, the health benefits are unlimited.

As mentioned, there are many different ways to approach cardio. One of ways mentioned to lose weight, and quickly, is walking. The truth about getting into shape starts with the simple fact that we have to get up and get moving. We won’t get stronger by sitting around all day and staring at a handheld screen. Exercise is, after all, the first line of defense between health and sickness. It’s something that should be utilized to the best of our ability.

In the end, however, getting healthy is a conscious battle where we have to be aware of all we put into ourselves and what we do with our bodies. Some people are content to sit on the couch and waste away. While I like being lazy, I’d rather get my body healthy and strong. Chances are, I’ll live a long and semi-healthy life that I can be proud of.

We have only the time we hold now. We aren’t promised tomorrow, and yesterday’s already over. So, for today, we must do all we can to live our lives the best way we can.

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