Perhaps my story is not all that uncommon, but it still feels pretty unbelievable (and by that I mean: terrifyingly unhealthy) to admit that I didn’t exercise for 10 straight years. I lived my life, woke up, ate food, went to work, and carried on without so much as breaking a sweat. No cardio, no conditioning, no heart-pumping movement or muscle-toning repetitions. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch.
While others around me went to the gym post-work, and walked around on weekends in their envy-inducing active wear, I existed as though exercise was not a thing. Not for lack of wanting it to be, and not for lack of trying, at least at first. It just never stuck (more on that later). I had other things to do with my time. I wasn’t “’bout that life," I told myself. I guess you could say I was in denial.
This extended lack of exercises was all the more surprising since I had been a very regular exerciser in high school. I went to the gym for at least an hour, five days a week, and I was in a dance ensemble, which meant ballet and tap classes in addition to regular practice. Exercise was a consistent part of my life. And then I went to college.
The decline began with the complete free-for-all that is college: being without any adult supervision for the first time and without the same daily schedule. I proceeded to make it through all four years of school—plus an additional post-graduation six—without ever exercising regularly.
Which brings us to present day. Just shy over 10 years after I stopped exercising, I got myself back on a regular workout regimen—something I thought might evade me forever, or until I had a kid one day and was forced to get into post-baby shape, or something like that.
Here’s how I did it, and how you can too.