The First Lap

Friday, March 23 2018 2:08 PM
By Genesis Genesis

I am not a trainer. I did not study exercise science or kinesiology. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a writer. I did not study marketing or advertising. I am just a Genesis member trying to get healthy one pound at a time.

Growing up, I always knew I was extra-large. I have been for more than half my life. Every time I went to the doctor, I made the same ol’ promises to lose weight. It was like promising the dentist you’ll floss twice a day, every day *wink wink*, but I just didn’t want to do it. Exercising is challenging and requires effort. I liked doing what I wanted, when I wanted. Besides, no matter which form of exercise I would do, I would be remarkably bad and slow at it. I came up with a thousand excuses why I shouldn’t go to the gym. But when it really came down to it, I just didn’t want to do it. You would think the mirror would be reason enough for me to get off my derriere and do something. But when I looked at myself in the mirror, I was in denial. I saw what I wanted to see, a girl who looked good enough not to go to the gym.

Before I started my exercise journey, I would get partially out of breath after I climbed a single flight of stairs. I am a 28-year-old woman and stand at almost 5’4”, but weighed the same as an average 6’0” man. Let that sink in for a minute. That number was glaring and disheartening. I pretended it didn’t exist, or pretended it didn’t affect me. As soon as I stepped off the scale, I went on with my life and continued to shop at “big girl” stores. Let’s be real though, nobody really wants to shop at those places.

One day, it all clicked. I looked at my 1-year-old son and realized I needed to do better for myself and to show my son what healthy is supposed to look like. Was this really the example I wanted to set for him? I want better for him in his life. I want him to get more out of life than waiting on the next episode of whatever (which is how I was living). My actions were telling my son “this is a fine way to live”, but that’s not what I want for him at all! I want him to be active and I want him to be attentive to his health and get more out of life. I want him to really live, and that needs to start with me!

I’m still in mid-journey, and if you were to see me in the grocery store browsing the aisles at Target or in line at the DMV, you would never know that I run three times a week or decided to turn my life around. It’s a journey, and if I take this journey one step at a time, on my terms, then I know I can be successful and reach my goal.

 

How did I do it you ask? It’s simple, I started walking. I put together a playlist of 10 songs or so, dusted off my running shoes, put on my maternity yoga pants (Yes, at the time, that’s what fit. No, I wasn’t pregnant when I started this journey.), and hit the track for 30 minutes. I chose to walk the track because it was easy, no equipment needed and no machine to mess up on. In terms of how stupid I would look or feel, it was the safest option. Plus, I appreciated the different views every now and then.

My pace wasn’t fast. It wasn’t even an exercise pace. It was slow and steady. Depending on the song, sometimes a little bouncy. It doesn’t matter what the pace is, the important part is that I did it. And the next day, I did it again! Eventually, I walked three times a week, adding time to my walks each week. When I started walking a full hour, I thought to myself, “I bet I can go faster.” So, I picked up my pace to a light run. Well, more like an unimpressive jog. I quickly realized that when I picked up my pace, I cut my time in half. That felt good! I don’t really know what I’m doing. This is all guess work. But as I mastered each level and accomplished new goals, I added a new challenge to my runs. My next challenge, add 3 minutes. That’s it! That’s how I got started.

You know those people who are passionate about running and do it because they love it? I used to look at them like they were from another planet. Now, four months in, I still don’t love running, but I do love what it does for me, and I love accomplishing my goals. Adding time to my runs every week or two and hitting my target feels amazing. It’s exciting to be fitting into my clothes better too. When I look in the mirror and see that my face and stomach are visibly thinner, the overwhelming emotion I get is unreal. I set a goal for myself to enter and finish a 5K this year. I know it’s possible. The opportunities that this journey has given me are amazing and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.

 

- Inny Salgado

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