How I Started Running (And Didn't Stop)
I must mention that I hate any sort of physical exercise.
Y'all get ready, because this is a long one. Hopefully, I made it entertaining to read with my sad life.
Picture this, alright? I'm eighteen years old. I started college. I went to the gym for the first week religiously, because I promised myself that in college I'd get 'That Body.' Y'all know what I'm talking about. I wanted abs, the lean legs, the perky butt. Before, you see, I looked like a saggy Kim K.
I lost a good amount of weight my junior year of high school. Before, I was chubby in all the wrong places and quite honestly not very proud of myself. I lost the weight, unhealthily, but, if you're interested, I can write about my ED another time, and you can't exactly lose bone structure. I couldn't shrink my hips nor my ribs.
Yet, I wasn't toned, or healthy. I didn't eat. How could I be healthy? I was miserable.
When I started college, I promised myself to get 'That Body,' but in a healthy way. So I could start to eat more and not feel completely guilty, and it worked. I ate and didn't hate myself, but then as classes got more annoying, and, since I'm not used to incorporating working out into my schedule, I stopped going to the gym.
I got the beautiful Freshman 15. I went in and out of that unhealthy eating pattern to manage it, but, of course, it didn't work well. I was bloated most times. I ate once a day. I was exhausted.
I was miserable.
Then I got tired of being miserable. I was going to do something about it.
How I Started
I told my roommate I'm going to the gym with her one morning. Let's call my beautiful and incredibly fit friend Samantha, and she knew of my aversion of the gym because of my negative experiences with weight lifting. I had nothing but a narrow view of exercise because my ex boyfriend was also a power lifter, and he, of course, spoke of lifting weights like its his Jesus or something ("Do you even lift, bro?") (I'm sorry. That's old. I know). Samantha lifts as well. I thought working out = lifting weights. So that's what I did. I didn't like it.
She told me to try cardio.
Okay, the last time I ran a mile was in eight grade. Is that pathetically sad? Maybe. I didn't do sports in high school, and I had a horrendous, and honestly racist, PE teacher in middle school. When I thought of that, it made me realize that I never had a proper relationship with physical activity. It made me develop a terrible relationship with eating, and in turn, my body was suffering.
I was at a low point in my life when I went to the gym that very next morning, April 24, 2019, and I wanted to feel good. When I ran, I didn't think about looking good or about how other people saw me. I just wanted to feel good.
Of course, no one feels good WHILE running. Samantha suggested I ran in intervals. For the ladies and gents and everyone inbetween, sprinting 30 sec and stopping 30 sec for ten minutes is equivalent to running 30 minutes.
According to the calories you lose, of course, not the endurance. I did that for a while. Then I would bike or use the elliptical, just basically lose as many calories as I could.
The catch: If you work out just to lose weight, you lose motivation pretty quickly. You need to eat to have the energy, but you don't see progress as quickly as you'd like (especially with my history), and that's what happened every single time I tried to hit the gym.
The solution: Don't work out to lose weight.
"What? Sreeja, you idiot, why else would I work out? To get stronger? To get faster? To be able to beat up anyone, or to feel powerful and ready to conquer the world with these guns?"
Listen. I don't know how I stopped thinking about working out for weight loss, but I ditched Samantha's interval running for weight loss and instead ran for distance. I thought: huh, could I run a 5k?
Everyone else thinks of speed before distance when it comes to running. I, obviously, am very aware of my body shape and how it's NOT built for speed. I'm large. I mentioned Kim K, right? I wasn't lying. I'm a chubby Kim K with with wide hips and thighs to match. Also, I hate running fast. So I thought: can I run for a while? I did the interval training for a bit, I mean, how hard can it be?
A 5k is basically three miles, and I ran a mile and a half before stopping because oh my God, I am so unfit.
Yet, after every failed work out, I just get unmotivated and give up. This time, after pushing my body as much as I could, I stepped off the treadmill and felt amazing.
Y'all don't understand just how good I felt.
So I decided I wanted to be able to run distance. I told Samantha about my plan, and she got happy for me. I set a physical goal for myself to push my body to perform better, not look better.
Running tip: They say to not running heavily every day, or you're more susceptible to running injuries. One hard day. One light day. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So every two days, I pushed my body to a new distance. Within a month, I could run four miles, easily. If I don't run four miles, I feel like I had a 'meh' work out. On my light days, I'd stretch or do an at home workout (hello, Blogilates, my God).
I know for some four miles isn't much. There are people who casually run 20, but this article is for beginners like myself. For people who had a tough time in the gym and therefore has a tough time with their food.
This is for you.
Fall in love with your body, my dude. Push it as much as you can, but leave the gym smiling. These days, when I'm running faster, I get hit with endorphins while running that help me last longer.
- I'm happier.
- I'm motivated throughout the entire day to DO SHIT.
- I'm happier.
- and I guess I dropped 5 pounds while not cutting too many calories, just eating in moderation. So, yeah, five pounds in a month.
BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT.
The weight loss just came with everything else. I don't even care much for it. My body is toned. I'm getting faster. I can run for longer. This means if an Apocalypse comes upon us, I'm fine. I can adapt. Can you?
Thank you all for reading about the first month of my fitness journey. If you like my work, please do support! If you don't like it, at least pity me because I'm in college.
I really hope this motivated you! Get out and conquer the world, baby, because if I can do it, you can too.