On February 8th, 2011, I embarked on a committment to fitness, promising to stick with it for 16 weeks. My annual physical the day before was a high motivating factor since I could no longer ignore the few extra pounds and elevated bad cholesterol level. Nothing horrible, mind you, and I didn’t even get a reprimand from my doctor since compared to most women my age, I am actually very healthy. But I knew I didn’t like the direction things were heading and decided to make a change right then and there.
The Pro-form Elliptical that had been collecting dust in our spare room since November 2009 (yikes!) was as good a place as any to start. Over the years, I’ve pretty much had a hate-hate relationship with that machine. (For anyone who has ever had the pleasure, you know exactly what I am talking about ). Since elliptical machines work the upper body and the lower body at the same time, workouts are more intense and you tire more quickly than doing the same amount of time at X-level on say, a stationary bicycle or a treadmill.
I started off slooowly, knowing full well if I did too much too soon my enthusiasm would quickly wane and I’d be right back to doing nothing (sound familiar?). Over time, I increased minutes and then, intensity levels, even adding in weight training and abdominal/core workouts on my non-cardio days. About six weeks in, I started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on the machine and began to notice changes in muscle tone and my clothing started to fit better. I still wasn’t in love with exercise but I was in a routine that actually seemed to be working.
Then, ten weeks in, my committment was seriously challenged. While out and about, doing routine errands, I rolled my left foot on an uneven sidewalk, breaking the 5th metatarsal bone. Ouch. I was devastated. All I could think about was, I had come so far, put in so much time and sweat and what was I going to do now?? Luckily, I was able to get in to see an orthopedist the next morning and was sporting a (removable) walking air-cast and crutches when I left their office. Yes, I did break the bone but I was given full permission to continue working out, as long as I could endure the pain.
Are you kidding me??
At the time, I thought the orthopedist was insane. I couldn’t even put weight on that foot so just HOW was I going to exercise?? He assured me that after a few days of rest, elevation and icing, I would begin to feel better. Riiiiight.
Needless to say, I was not convinced but sure enough, time proved he knew what he was talking about. Four days after the ‘incident’, I was back on the elliptical. I did 25 minutes that day (albeit on Level 1 and at a reduced pace than what I had been doing) but I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest. Was I shaky and scared to death? You bet. Did my foot feel like it no longer knew what to do? Oh, hell yeah. None of that mattered. The important thing was, I was back and from that point on, I knew I was going to be okay.
In the days and weeks to follow, I did what I could, had good days as well as some setbacks, but I kept at it, determined not to quit. And here I am, six months since I started (that’s two months more than what I originally committed to), a new woman. Sure, there are days where it isn’t easy and my conviction is thoroughly tested, but I’ve made friends with that ‘machine’ as I am convinced that it not only saved my sanity, it acted as the perfect rehab for my injury.
Without it, I certainly would not have healed as quickly as I did and when faced with the possibility that I couldn’t work out, I realized I actually wanted to. (Funny how that happens, huh?) I have a completely new outlook on fitness and exercise these days…it is simply now part of the routine.
If you are looking for a run-down of pounds/inches lost, sorry to disappoint. I do not own a scale and I never took measurements. My goals were to lose the love handles and the ’jigglies’, improve core strength and overall muscle strength, develop muscle tone, be able to take the stairs and not lose my breath, make my heart strong, and in general, no longer shudder when I look in the mirror.