One of the things I’ve come to realize by being overweight is that I was very lazy about exercise. You always here things like “Get 45 minutes of exercise 3 times a week!” That might be good advice for those that are already in shape but I personally think it’s poor advice for those that are significantly overweight.
The reason I say that is because fat people have to get into the habit of exercising. Every day. There’s no such thing as a “rest day.” All a rest day does is give you an easy excuse to stop exercising. If you run a marathon, yea you need a rest day. You don’t need a rest day if your exercise is walking around the block. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve exercised 5 or 6 days in a row, taken a “rest day” and then not exercised for another 2 months. It NEEDS to be a daily habit like taking a shower or eating breakfast. You want to get to the point where you do it without even thinking about it.
So how do we do it? We reward ourselves for exercising. That in turn will get us to want to exercise so that we can be rewarded again. It’s a nice little cycle that people don’t take advantage of enough. It can apply to anything, not just exercise.
Now the key is to pick the right award. Don’t reward yourself by eating a bucket of movie theater popcorn covered in butter (mmm!). In fact, never reward yourself with food. You can however reward yourself by going to the movies (Just don’t eat junk food!). Each day can be a different reward. You need to find something that will motivate you to exercise. For me, I don’t go on the internet unless I exercise. I started doing this 6 weeks ago and it’s been working great. It actually motivates me to exercise first thing in the morning because I like to go online and check out sports scores from the night before.
How much to exercise depends on you. By exercising, I mean walking. Don’t do anything else until you can walk for an hour straight each night for a week. For some, walking to the mailbox will be hard at first. My general rule of thumb is “put in the effort.” If you can walk around the block, do it every night for a week. Then add 10% the following week. So if you can walk 10 minutes, do that for a week. Then walk 11 minutes the second week. After a month, you can be walking 15 minutes a night. Believe it or not, after about 2-3 months, it will be up to 30 minutes a night. The reason is your skeleton, muscles (heart included), and tendons need to get used to exercise and that takes time.But do it every day and make it your routine. It can be before breakfast, after dinner, before going to bed. Whatever. Just make it easy enough for you to stick to and give yourself a reward in the process.
My next post will about heart rate while exercising. It needs to be tracked and something to keep in mind because once you understand heart rate, you can become more efficient while exercising. After that, I’ll have a post about weight lifting for fat guys. Stay tuned!