Getting in shape is hard. It takes determination, a LOT of it. I have been fortunate because my parents instilled an active lifestyle in me since I was young. That meant that as long as I continued to stay active and do sports, I would technically never become “out of shape”.
This all changed a few years ago, when I first graduated from college. I was fortunate to run cross country and track in college, but after 4 years of high intensity competitive running I was sick of it. I chose to take off that winter – who wants to run in the cold, ice and snow? Not me! I volunteered with my local track team that Spring as a coach, which is what re-ignited my running passion. Getting back in shape was very difficult, and I swore I would never allow myself to take such a long hiatus again.
Unfortunately I have since dealt with two foot injuries that required surgery. My total injury/recovery process for both was about a year and a half. Coming back to my chosen sport, running, after this long hiatus was way more difficult than my elective hiatus during those winter months. For the first time in my life that I can vividly remember, I was absolutely “out of shape”. Running up hills HURT. I had to walk, a lot. My breathing was so heavy I swore people a mile down the road could hear me. I prayed for red lights to actually be red when I got to them. To be honest, I never had one thought of not wanting to pursue this running passion I had. It was absolutely torture, but I had an end goal of getting back into the shape I remembered I used to be in, going for my favorite type of run – a long run – without dying every step of the way.
I have experienced this terrible out of shape feeling a few times. I can truly relate to why people don’t desire to ever get in shape, because it is truly hard. The thing that drove me was that I had a goal in mind. I desired to be able to go for a run and not struggle. I desired to run fast. I desired to run long distance races. All of these things kept driving me to get out there each day and face that out of shape struggle.
It took me a good year to get back into the shape I used to be in pre-injury. As one continues to exercise, your muscles build these muscle memories. These memories help you to get back in shape faster than average. This second foot injury I came back from, I can already see the progress I made to get back in shape is faster than with the first foot injury.
My advice to you for sticking to your goal and getting in shape is to write down your goals. Put those goals on your refrigerator so that you are reminded each day why you are getting out the door to exercise. It takes time, and patience is a hard virtue to have, but be patient. It WILL come. I reminded myself each day I felt like I was on the struggle bus (ahem every day), and told myself why I was out there, and what I wanted to achieve.
I challenge you to chose an exercise activity (fitness video, walk, swim, run, hike, etc) and for the next month get out there 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
What goals do you have or are you trying to achieve?