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Step one to better fitness -- no excuses

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

This is the first of a new Sunday column series in SouthView that will focus on exercising, good nutrition and generally becoming healthier and more fit. Today's column is by Michele Moulton with PT Gym. If you have a question for one of our fitness columnists, you can submit it to southview@albanyherald.com.

I was blindsided by a deer on our local training ride last week. Yes, you read that correctly. And, yes, I was on a bicycle. She came out of nowhere at a full gallop and took my bike right out from under me.

The deer fared much better than I did. She never missed a stride. I was left on the side of the road with a nice case of road rash on my back, a bloody gash in the back of my head and a really sore left hip. I just thought I was sore that night as I eased into bed. Little did I know that was the best I would feel for five days.

As my alarm went off the next morning and I went to jump out of the bed, it hit me. The soreness from the night before was a joke compared to the way my body ached. Lots of thoughts ran through my mind at that point. How am I going to get dressed? How am I going to brush my hair? How am I going to ride tonight? I know what you are thinking as you read this: Certainly she wasn't crazy enough to get back on that bike after she had been hit by a deer the day before?

I rode my bike that day.

Everyone wants to feel good. Looking good is a bonus. It's getting there that is the tough part. And the worst part is getting started.

There are millions of reasons that we can find every day to keep us from exercising. Work, kids, soccer, baseball, dance, elderly parents, time or the lack thereof, getting hit by a deer ... and the list goes on. I could have easily skipped our group bike ride the day after I got hit by that deer. It was a legitimate excuse, and nobody would have given me a hard time about it. But one day off turns into two days off which turn into three days off.

See where I'm going with this?

Now what happens when you do find the time to fit in a work out? Getting an exercise program started can be a simple walk around the block, a new membership at a local gym or a new exercise video. Sounds easy enough, but making that first move isn't always a simple task.

I know so many people who complain about wanting to lose weight or getting into better shape, but that's where it stops. You have to be motivated. Motivation comes in different packages for different people.

I have been asked numerous times how I stay motivated. For me, the answer is accountability. I teach four aerobics classes a week at PT Gym, and the members of the gym expect me to be there with my "A" game week after week. Are there weeks when I don't feel like teaching? Absolutely. But I have made a commitment, and I don't want to let my students down.

My good friend, Neely, and I have come up with another great way to keep each other on track. Every day I send Neely a text listing out everything that I've eaten and what my I plan to do at the gym. And I get the same from her.

Every single day.

So, as you are sitting in your favorite chair reading the paper or sitting at your desk checking out this article online, think about your fitness goals. Ask your spouse if he or she would like to start walking with you. Stop by one of the local gyms. Most of the gyms have trainers on staff who will take you through a workout, teach you different exercises and show you proper form.

Find an aerobics class that appeals to you and try it out. Complimentary passes are often available.

Turn a weekly "night out with the girls (or guys)" into a bike ride or group exercise class.

The possibilities are endless. Don't be afraid to get off that couch and get excited about exercise. Enthusiasm is contagious. Make a plan, set a time, schedule an appointment, grab a buddy and get started.

I love exercise and, I love sharing my passion for it with others. I could have taken a few days off from my routine after my deer encounter, but I didn't want to. No excuses, get motivated, be accountable ... the keys to getting started.

And if you need an extra kick in the pants, contact me. There's a reason I've been doing this stuff for almost 22 years. I would love to help you get off that couch and get started.

Michele Moulton has been a fitness instructor for over 21 years and is a certified Spinning instructor. She teaches at PT Gym and is an avid cyclist. She is an accountant and a mother of two boys, Austin and Harrison.