I learned to love working out and it helped me lose 100 pounds. Here's how I did it.

Skydive Erick/FlickrI found a real love for exercise.
  • When I decided to lose weight, I knew it couldn’t just be diet based.
  • I lost 100 pounds after deciding to work out.
  • I did the Couch to 5K program.
  • I am sad when I have to miss an exercise day.

When I made a commitment to lose weight a little over a year ago, I knew that changing my diet wasn’t going to be enough. I needed to improve my fitness as well, and that meant adding in exercise to my daily routine. I wasn’t thrilled at the thought, but I can honestly say that more than 100 pounds lighter and a year later, I can’t imagine a day without exercise.

Here’s how I learned to truly love it.

I found the activities I loved

This seems obvious but it really is the most important element of starting and maintaining a fitness regimen. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you won’t want to do it and eventually, you’ll stop.

The first workout I discovered that I really enjoyed was indoor cycling. It was challenging while not feeling totally impossible and I could adjust the difficulty level as my fitness improved. This kept me inspired to get to the gym every day and my confidence and enjoyment grew from there.

These days, I love running, lifting weights, and doing a weekly spin class and it totally bums me out if I have to take a day off for any reason.

I set challenges for myself and tracked my progress

RunRyan Pierse/Getty ImagesThe program trains you to run a 5k in eight weeks.

This was a total game-changer for me. Once I got a moderate level of fitness built up, I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to do Couch to 5K, a program that claims to help a total couch potato be able to run 5k (3.1 miles) without stopping throughout the course of eight weeks.

The program was incredibly difficult and I found myself both dreading and feeling excited about the next day’s challenge. When I completed it successfully, I’ve never been prouder. I discovered a true love of running and now it’s something I do multiple times a week. Seeing how much progress I was making and how my fitness was improving really motivated me to get off my butt and into the gym or out to the park every day.

I loved the endorphin high that follows a good workout

I used to think it sounded like a bunch of bologna when fitness freaks would say that they experienced a high after a tough workout, but I’m here to tell you that it’s totally true. I tend to get this rush of endorphins the most on the days when I really have to drag myself to the gym – there’s something about the feeling of accomplishment that comes with knowing your willpower won out that really elevates that exercise-induced euphoria. It’s enough to keep me going back for more every day.

I saw my body change and become stronger

SubwayDavid Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty ImagesWalking up the subway didn’t leave me winded anymore.

Is there any bigger inspiration than actually seeing your hard work come to fruition? When I looked in the mirror, I could see the little changes taking place in my body. My muscles were getting bigger, my silhouette was slimming down, and I realised I could run harder and longer and push myself further than I ever thought I could be.

It wasn’t just about appearance but rather the difference in how I felt that truly made me realise how important and rewarding exercise can be. I no longer got winded walking up the subway stairs, I didn’t get tired in the middle of the afternoon (a good diet helped with that), and I could actually run around with my hyperactive dog. That was good enough for me.

I joined classes at my local gym

By joining classes at the gym, I was able to exercise in a group setting where we could all cheer each other on, inspire each other to push harder, and basically share the pain of a difficult workout. At the end of every spin class, we all breathe a collective sigh of relief and share an accomplished smile and it feels good.

That hard work pays off, and the more you realise that the easier it is to love exercise.

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