{ Winter Term Fitness }

Winter Term has been quite the adventure for me so far. It took a little while for me to get settled, but once I got in the swing of things, it became a delightful experience. My Winter Term is a project geared around fitness and nutritional wellness. I have a lot of issues stemming from my bad self-image. I gained 50 pounds during my senior year of high school, and that's really done a number on my self-esteem.

Now, let me be quite clear: I am no athlete. I'm 4'9", a pretty slow runner, and I've always been several steps away from the "naturally fit" body type. I get winded way too fast, I have terrible hand-eye coordination, and I'm just generally not cut out for sports. So, naturally, the only route for me is personal exercise. I would have gladly joined a sports team if I would have been any sort of help on one, but trust me, it's for the best that I turned to personal workouts instead.

Now, this Winter Term isn't just a month-long exercise kick. It's a lifestyle overhaul. I'm watching what I eat, keeping a food journal to keep myself accountable, working out every day for at least 45 minutes, and also making sure to not stay sedentary for too long. For most of the time I'm not actively working out, I'm doing low-energy activities like writing, going on Facebook, reading, or playing video games. Being active isn't just about setting aside time to exercise, it's about staying in motion for a large portion of the day. Every hour, I get up and take a walk around the house or around the block for about 10-15 minutes, just to make sure my body's staying awake.

Now, I started Winter Term out on campus, but the odd hours of the gym (especially on weekends, when the gym can be open for as little as three hours) drove me to want to come home. I'm lucky enough to have exercise equipment in my house, so I flew back home and got to work. My mom is a fitness person, and her best friend is a personal trainer, so I met with her and got to work on all sorts of workout plans.

Cardio is the key to weight loss, but never underestimate the value of a good strength workout routine. Women don't bulk up the way men do, but boosting your muscle strength increases the rate at which calories are burned at rest. Also, it's just good to be strong enough to carry heavy things. I do cardio four to seven times a week, and strength three times a week. I never go a day without putting in some exercise, but sometimes I'm too tired after a strength workout to do supplemental cardio.

I'm really not an active person. I never have been. I'm a couch potato. Well, I was. I'm really committed to turning my life around and adopting an active, healthy lifestyle. Sure, I want to shed all the weight I gained and get back to the body I feel is the real me, but it's not about how I look. It's about how I feel. I already feel less irritable and more healthy after just a couple weeks of starting to regularly exercise.

Again, this Winter Term is a symbol for me, not just a project. My end goal is to basically become Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation. I'm tiny and curvy, but that doesn't mean I can't be healthy and strong. I'm going to be a power gal, and I'm going to work hard at this not just to lose weight, but to be a healthier, happier person overall.


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