Move it! Working out to take off the weight

I'm getting myself into the habit of exercising several times a week, but it's tough for someone as lazy as I am.  Credit: Chris Magdalenski
I’m getting myself into the habit of exercising several times a week, but it’s tough for someone as lazy as I am.
Credit: Chris Magdalenski

After decades of being sedentary, working out three or more times a week is a big adjustment. I’m getting used to being sore almost all the time, but I already feel healthier.

I’ve received amazing support from my fiancé, family, friends, and readers — but I’m the one who has to do the hard work. And it is hard.

I’ve always been lazy. Why take the stairs if there’s an elevator? Why walk when I can drive, even if I’m only going a few blocks? But those little things add up. And now that I’m in New York, I don’t have a car and walking is unavoidable.

In order to lose weight and feel better, I had to get moving. Nothing was going to change if I didn’t.

So I called in an expert. Matt Sauerhoff, the personal training manager of New York Health & Racquet Club’s Whitehall location, is helping me not only get active but to go further than I thought I could — and then beyond that.

Matt and I work together at least once a week for about an hour. He has me doing both strength training and cardio on alternate days. The goal is to not only lose pounds, but to increase my endurance.

The workouts mostly focus on my legs, chest, and back — the “prime movers”. Making them stronger will help my overall results. This isn’t to say that smaller muscles like my biceps and triceps are getting ignored (trust me, I’m working them plenty), but they’re mostly coming along for the ride.

We rotate between lots of different exercises, everything from planks and deep stretches to pushups, leg presses, and lat pull downs to the rowing machine. (Who thought I could row 4,500 meters in a half hour? I certainly didn’t — but now I have.)

Matt doesn’t take it easy on me — I’m switching between three to four moves or machines for 12-15 reps each, without a break. He says there’s a difference between resting (stopping altogether) and recovery (catching your breath enough to keep going). He wants me to find the recovery within the workout — inhaling and exhaling steadily (instead of holding my breath, which I have a tendency to do) and paying attention to my form. What’s an exercise count for if I’m not doing it properly?

The idea is to get to the failure point — where the last few reps are the very hardest, but I do them anyway. I’m exhausted by the time we’re through, but also feel that I’ve accomplished something, and that makes coming back the next time a little bit easier.

After this project — and my wedding — are over, Matt’s talking about having me run a 5K… but he’s promised to be right there next to me, encouraging me not to quit on either the race or myself.

Progress Report

It’s frustrating when the scale moves backwards, but I’m trying not to get discouraged.

Starting Stats (as of Jan. 29)
Weight: 209.5 pounds
Body Mass Index (BMI): 36
Chest: 48 inches
Waist: 41 inches
Hips: 48.5 inches

Current Stats (as of Feb. 18)
Weight: 201.5 pounds (higher than last week, but still an eight-pound loss overall.)
BMI: 34.5
Chest: 44.25 inches (3.75 inches smaller)
Waist 40.5 inches (about the same, which is annoying)
Hips: 45.25 inches (3.25 inches smaller)

The bright side: My mood has improved, I’m sleeping a bit better, and have more energy most of the time.

However, I know from past experience that around this time — a few weeks after starting a program — I get discouraged, start making excuses, and quit. This time, I need to convince myself to stick with it.

Amanda Art is Metro’s social media manager. Over the next few months, track her weight loss progress as she readies for her May 3 wedding. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @NYNewsgirl.



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