The Road to Fitness

North Austin YMCA, 1000 W. Rundberg

North Austin YMCA, 1000 W. Rundberg

Working out doesn’t come naturally to me. When I was a kid, instead of running around playing sports, I preferred to stay in my room and draw or read. Sometimes my mom and I would walk around Town Lake or the St. Ed’s track, which I enjoyed, but exercising on a regular basis never stuck. Even in college, when I had access to two on-campus gyms, I rarely went.

I thought working out was for “athletic type” people. In my head I distanced myself from people who prioritized physical fitness. I associated it with people who had positive self-esteem, which I’ve struggled with. All those years of thinking fitness was not for me really set me back. Now I’m trying to play catch up and experience the benefits.

In short, working out is great. It’s necessary! I thank Miranda for introducing that mindset to me. The idea that we should work out regularly, and stop making excuses for not working out. The idea that it’s a way of life, just as important as every other daily activity. I’m late to this revelation, but I’m glad to start the workout habit now, so that when I’m 50, or 70, that I don’t sit back and think, why didn’t I try harder when I was younger?

Let’s face it: I don’t like being fat. My goals are weight-loss and improving my health so that I live longer. Studies show that working out reduces your risk of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. And it’s an effective stress reliever. You might think, I’m not at risk for these things because I’m vegan. The truth is, just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you’re healthy. What I consider healthy is a diet consisting of mostly veggies, fruits, whole grains, proteins like beans and greens, water, and limited salt, sugar and oil. The biggest challenge is reducing my booze intake to only a few times a week (and only a few drinks max). It’s tough. I love beer and wine and celebrating! I think every day is a celebration and nothing hits the spot like a local IPA. But not only is booze unnecessary, it’s costly and plays with your emotions. It’s bad for your liver and increases the risk for breast cancer. Realizing what things do to your body is the first step in knowing what you need and what you don’t need.

So, as often as possible, I work out for 30-45 minutes on an elliptical at the North Austin YMCA. I sweat a little. My heart rate goes way up. I take in the late afternoon sun. I stare at the cars moving by down below. I overhear some people moan while they work out and it makes me laugh inside. I watch the minutes and seconds pass by on the screen. I clear my mind of work stress and life stress and tune out to home renovations on HGTV or get tired of it and switch to CNN so I get another dose of the world’s problems. I think how 45 minutes goes by so slow compared to same amount of time at work that flies by. I think about how I’ll feel when those extra pounds drop and I can feel better about my appearance. One day. Some day. Soon, please.

Working out. I’m starting to get the hang of it. It’s taking a while to see the change (i.e. lose 3 pant sizes) but it will be worth it to gain a healthier lifestyle.

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