Beginner’s Fitness 101

I feel like I should inform you that the title of this particular blog post is rather ironic. I am one of the last people who should be teaching you anything about fitness – I am a total layabout. Except for recently.

I don’t know if any of you have heard of the “Freshman Fifteen,” so I’ll explain it briefly; freshmen, in their first year of university or college will, on average, gain about fifteen pounds in the first year. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is “Hey! I can eat whatever the heck I want! Screw veggies, I’m having pizza and beer for the tenth consecutive meal!” And so the weight piles on. Some people see it coming and try to prevent it with vegetables and exercise. Others, like me, soldier on through, devouring every bit of junk food in sight with the ravenous appetite of a child raised by health-loving parents (which I can assure you is most ravenous indeed).

The result of this is a mild asthma attack whenever the offending freshman reaches the top of a flight of stairs, and an aversion to tight clothing. Attractive, no?

The point of all this lovely imagery is to give some context to the extreme enthusiasm with which I purchased a membership to the school’s gym. Since then, I’ve actually been to the gym every other day. I got with friends or with an ipod, and I just sit on the cycling machines and bike for an hour or two. And I have to say, I have never felt so good. I sleep better, I’m less hungry, and I can make it up the stairs to class without having to catch my breath at the top.

After a few sessions at the gym though, it became apparent to me that I wasn’t really making the most of my workouts if all I’m doing is cycling. So I signed up for a personal trainer. It’s hard to get motivated at first, so setting goals and having someone to help you get there is important. I just got the minimum amount, which is four sessions. That way, once I’m done, I can just copy what I did in those sessions, and I’ll be able to work out more effectively. Also, trainers consult on dietary habits as well. It’s a bit pricey, of course, but it’s worth it for good health. And a lot of school gyms have good deals on memberships and classes for their full-time students.

So if you find yourself a victim of the freshman fifteen, don’t fret – go to your school’s gym and see about getting a membership. There’s a lot of really cool stuff – dance classes, fencing clubs, swimming pools, weight rooms – I have discovered the joys of working out.

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