You’ve decided to improve your fitness, you’ve signed up for the class. CONGRATULATIONS. But now you are feeling really anxious. “What if I can’t keep up?” The answer - it is okay to work up to fitness goals at a slow pace! Slow and steady wins the race. Here are some things to remember:
Step One: EVERYONE has been just where you are. Really? All those fit and skinny women know what it’s like to be the slowest one in gym class? Well, maybe not the slowest, but they all know what it is like to be de-conditioned, coming off an injury or illness, or starting a new activity. You are not alone. In my experience (as often the slowest person in a class) the rest of the class will be on your side, supportive and sympathetic. (I always feel I am providing a special service by being the slowest person in the class.)
Step Two: DO NOT HURT YOURSELF. Be kind to your mind and body. I’m heavier and my knees twinge occasionally. So I never do the full jumping things—I always modify, and guess what, my knees are fine! But I can do the full abdominal exercises, arms exercises, and I can still get my heart rate as high as I want without jumping. Does anyone else care? Of course not.
Step Three: BE A TORTOISE not a hare. Slow and steady will definitely win. In fact, even high level athletes use the 10% rule: Increase your distance OR intensity NO MORE than 10% over the last workout. Never do both at once. So let’s say you are nicely doing 10 burpees. Next time you should do 11, not more. The time after that 12, etc. within two weeks you’ll probably be doing about 20—and that’s a lot of burpees! Or you are easily walking 2 blocks. The next day you do 2 blocks and 2 houses. The day after 2 blocks and 4 houses, etc. Within two weeks you are doing a quarter mile, and it will feel easy. Remember, there is no hurry. Those tortoises are really smart.
Step Four: CELEBRATE your success! You deserve it. This is the most important step, to congratulate yourself for making your life better. It’s the nicest thing you can do for the world.