Walking into a gym for the first time in years is intimidating. Working out is even harder -- Where do you even start? But hard or not, I had to do it.
February in New York is starting out to be brutal, which is just one of the reasons I'm grateful to have help from the New York Health and Racquet Club.
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There are lots of exercise classes that I've wanted to try, and NYHRC group fitness director Maryann Donner helped me plan a balanced schedule that incorporates cardio, strength and flexibility (all needed to drop pounds). Then she suggested the Saturday morning cycling class.
Spin class? ME?!? The clumsiest woman in America?
Luckily, I pulled myself onto an exercise bike and the treadmill Friday, and had my first meeting with personal trainer Matt Sauerhoff. He has a sign in his office that says, "My future depends on me," a mantra worth adopting as I start this effort to get healthy. No more excuses.
After taking my measurements (see below), he guided me through some deep stretches that targeted my hip flexors. Since I sit all day at work, the muscles in my hips are constantly compressed -- which can lead to pain and stiffness. The solution is to essentially do the opposite and stretch the muscles the opposite way. I definitely felt the burn, but surprisingly wasn't sore the next morning.
Not that I had a lot of time to enjoy that not-sore feeling. I was on my way back to the gym the next morning, thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" With my bicycle-riding fiance was by my side, I climbed aboard the bike for 45 minutes of non-stop intensity.
Amazingly, I survived.
I'm not going to lie: It was hard. The instructor, Leo, pushed us and pushed us again. There were things I couldn't do (like riding while standing up), but I stayed on the bike and kept pedaling. Afterwards, I was exhausted, but really proud of myself and excited to keep going.
That night, I got food poisoning.
But I'm heading back to the gym, with the goal of going at least three times a week -- mixing things up between classes and solo workouts. Already, the fact that I've been there and can prove to myself that I can do this is motivating.
And I'm already seeing results! As scary as it is for me to share them, at least the numbers are moving in the right direction!
Weight (Jan. 29): 209.5 pounds
Body Mass Index (BMI): 36
Chest (Dec. 28): 48 inches
Waist: 41 inches
Current Stats (as of Feb. 3)
Weight: 201 pounds
Chest: 46 inches
Waist 41 inches
Almost all of that progress -- 8.5 pounds! -- is from eating better, since I just started working out this week. I know you tend to lose a lot at first and that muscle weighs more than fat, but it feels like I'm building momentum.
Next up: A detailed food plan from NYHRC nutritionist Alanna Cabrero, including what to drink instead of my morning Coke Zero and ways to tame my sweet tooth.
Amanda Art is Metro’s social media manager. Over the next 14 weeks, track her weight loss progress as she readies for her May 3 wedding. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @NYNewsgirl.