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Looking back at how I used to be….

I still remember the first time I wanted to start an exercise program- I mustered courage to show up to the gym, and the guy had me filled up some forms about my goals and stuff like that. He brought me around and I remembered feeling very intimidated by those active looking folks at the cardio, stretching and weight area. Everyone just look so fit- I never felt I could be like one of them. When the membership price was quoted to me, I felt it’s just too expensive for me because I was sure I will not be able to commit. He even mentioned that there was a special price for last day and just one place left, blah blah. The fee and the fact that I have to do RPM for 45min just to burn off a small packet of nasi lemak discouraged and turned me off.

So I continue my minimal exercise routine- I try to exercise in weekends by visiting parks- but sometimes, it gets hard to follow- especially when I am on the complete mercy of the elements (rain, sunshine, nightfall). But in my lack of stamina, the exercises seemed more like literally a scroll on the park rather than real workout. And it’s followed by a rich meal later…

Then, my weight seemed to be going up slowly but surely. Ok, I let that slide and just got myself bigger clothes. Some of my friends who go to the gym tried to convince me to join- I told them the membership is just not worth paying for. I also have lots of other excuses- that now, my friends are giving me when I try to convince them to make time for exercise (sigh).

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Things seemed to be going downhill- weight gain (up to 7kg within 5 years), constant food cravings, fatigue, tiredness, chronic pain (lower back & knee pain)— and mood swings. I could put up with tiredness or weight gain but I do not like to have bad temper because I always regret my outburst later. I had to literally dragged myself up from bed because I felt so tired in the mornings. Really, I felt so stressed and easily overwhelmed.

In May 06, I was assigned to teach a batch of newbies- and in the mornings, I was just so exhausted – they noticed it and I told them about my fatigue problem. Then, one girl told suggested I join a gym- she told me she used to be like me but joining the gym helps- and not only that, she had lost 5kg and a had her tummy very much reduced.

That was the turning point- I can’t take the fatigue anymore and so I made up my mind to join. There are those time in my life that once I make up my mind, I really mean business- that was one of them. I went back to the gym again- and this time was attended by another consultant. This guy is more patient- he keep offering solutions for every problem that I bring up.
—Lower back pain? No worries- ‘we have reclining exercise bikes that are for people with back problems’.
—Don’t know how to use the machines? No worries- ‘there’s a complimentary personal training session that come with the package’.
—Too expensive? – Oh, apparently there’s a corporate rate for my company. And since I went there end of May, he give me complimentary few days bonus before I officially start in June.

I took a deep breath, got my credit card charged and prepare myself for at least a year worth of commitment.

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When I first joined, things did not go well- the personal trainer was so lousy- she broke a few appointments last minute and when I finally got to train with her (only after more than 2 months from the time I joined), she just simply taught. Things really start off with a bump.

But I guess my mind was made up to give exercise a go. I learned how to use the cardio machines on my own. The first two months was hard- as I’ve spent years never challenging my body to really exercise. I felt pain all over below the flesh and muscles. But feeling more energy drove me on. Till one day, I hit what I termed as the exercise threshold– and then I really started to enjoy exercising. It became a good way for me to destress and relax. I don’t try to compete with anyone but work with my body to know what is its limitations and strengths. Over time, I was slowly able to built up my endurance and stamina. It feels great whenever I am able to increase the gradient or effort level.

I know a number of my friends start and later drop out from exercise programs. It’s easy to get discouraged when presented with challenge and hurdles. But overcoming that hurdle often will take us to greater levels. Sometimes, we just need to give ourselves a little time and be patient. That with a bit of sensible eating (cut down sugar and starch), it is guaranteed that you will see results. Law of Physics for Weight Loss never fails.

It’s been 19months since I joined the gym, I have become more energectic, optimistic, more productive (even when I am not exercising), not tired even during non-gym days, stronger & lost weight. Feeling better and regaining a better quality of life have prompted me to continue learning about health and fitness.

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That’s why, whatever you want to do in life, if you know in your heart is worthwhile, don’t give up halfway. The results may be more that you have envisioned and led you towards your journey of life to become a more whole, happier and fulfilled person.

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