Personal Essay, 4 pages (1000 words)

My fitness journey

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My Personal Fitness Journey About three months ago, I woke up to get ready for work and pulled on my khakis. When I tried to button them, though, they simply wouldn’t fasten. I had been breathing in sharply when putting them on for a while, but on this particular morning there just wasn’t a way to get them to button. I ran to my closet and found a couple of other pairs of pants. Luckily, there was a very forgiving pair of pleated slacks in the back of the closet that I was able to wear after running an iron over them. The night before, I had thrown an entire Di Giorno meat lover’s pizza into the oven and then eaten it, piece after piece, while sitting in front of the television. Then I had moved over to the computer to get some work done online, chatting with some friends at the same time. I had not sat very much during the day, but that night, I sat for four or five hours straight, working and chatting online. This was the lifestyle that I had developed since heading off to college. My classes would be in the morning, and then I would go to work, from lunch until dinnertime. Then I would eat in front of the television and get online. On the weekends I would hang out with my friends, but with my studies, I just didn’t have a lot of time for socializing during the week. While this work ethic meant that I had high grades, it also meant that I was gaining a lot of weight. It was easier to cook frozen pizzas and other unhealthy meals than it was to prepare fresh meals that would be good choices, and I was not making any time in my schedule for working out. The morning that I could not squeeze into my pants was embarrassing; that night, when I stepped onto my scale, I realized that I had gained 42 pounds since my high school graduation – which had only been 8 months earlier. The first step I took in my fitness journey was to go and talk to a trainer at the gym at our university. We have a student fitness center, filled with workout machines and weight benches, and our student fees entitle us to one free visit with a trainer each semester. I went in and talked to Greg the next night, after I’d finished work. He did some body measurements with a set of calipers, to identify my body fat level. My BMI (body mass index) had gotten out of control over the past 8 months, and so it was time for me to make several changes. Greg made me a simple workout plan for me to start, and he gave me some links to some websites with information about the best way to make nutritional choices. He told me that it is common for college students to gain a good bit of weight during their first year or two away from home, as they often struggle coming up with a personal routine that is healthy – after all, their moms are not around anymore to make them eat their vegetables. Greg started me out on what is called a “ Couch to 5K” plan. The idea was that, 9 weeks later, I would be able to run for 30-40 minutes without stopping – long enough to complete a 5K race, which is approximately 3. 1 miles. The first week involved just walking for 30-45 minutes at a time, three days a week. He also gave me some basic weight exercises to do one or two days a week. To be honest, the first two weeks were the very hardest for me. The best time for me to work out was either at 6: 00 in the morning or about 8: 00 at night. At 6: 00 in the morning, though, all I wanted to be doing was sleeping – and at 8: 00, I didn’t have the energy to make myself go outside and do anything. But then I had an “ ah-ha” moment when I visited my aunt and uncle that weekend. My cousin is 12 and is on his seventh-grade football team. He wanted to go outside and throw the football with me, and I just felt too tired to do it. He got frustrated with me and said, “ You used to play catch with me all the time. You used to drag ME outside to play catch with you. What’s the matter?” This was a real wake-up call for me. I didn’t play football in high school, but I did play on the Ultimate Frisbee team and also played baseball. It occurred to me that I used to have a lot more energy than I had these days – and it hit me that all of the extra weight really was taking a toll – not just on my pants, but on my entire life. I got up off the couch and said, “ OK, I’ll play with you, if you’ll get up at 6 tomorrow morning and take Duke (their dog) for a long walk with me.” I knew he hated getting up that early, but I wanted to get in a routine. Then I said, “ We’ll even go for Slurpees tomorrow afternoon.” That did it. Ever since then, I have found time in my day to work out at least four days a week. The walking turned to running, a little at a time, and I finished my first 5K 10 weeks after the day I met with Greg, in a little over 33 minutes. That was about a month ago. Now, I’ve lost 20 of the 42 pounds I’ve gained, and my pants fit easily. In fact, I want to go outside and play catch all the time. If it hadn’t been for my cousin – and the fact that I didn’t want to go and buy new pants – I don’t know what I would have done. This fitness journey is still ongoing, but I really like where I’m going so far.

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