Don’t you dare click the back arrow.

Listen, I know you didn’t want to hear about this today, but I’m not spending hours writing about the world’s most hated subject so that you can go and ignore it.

Now that I have your attention, let me explain this post. This is the personal reason that I took a look at exercise today and decided that I am going to research how it works and post about it next.

Let me get excited! Just a little. Maybe a lot!

I started an exercise program a few weeks ago: Jillian Michael‘s 30-Day Shred. I’m not doing it to lose weight, because if I did I’d be sick. I’m doing it to build muscle and get into the habit of daily exercise.  For three weeks (minus the weekends), I’ve been dragging my weights to the TV every morning at 7:00 and doing jumping-jacks for 25 minutes. Well, not just jumping jacks; squat-and-presses, crunches, jumping-jacks, “static-lunge-with-a-bicep-curl”s, crunches, jumping-jacks, jump-rope, crunches, jumping-jacks, uh… jumping-jacks.

My childhood fear was that Mom would tell me to go in the backyard and do jumping-jacks. The first day Jillian said jumping-jacks, my stomach turned.


The first three days were the hardest. I could barely get through the workout. After the workout, I’d go for a 1-hour walk outside and felt like my legs were going to give out and I’d have to drag myself home. My arms, shoulders, and stomach burned, and I panted while going up a very small, gradual hill. But it was a good pain; it felt awesome! From the fourth day on, it got gradually easier – I could barely touch my toes (because of the pain in the muscle) but the burn wasn’t as much. During the first week, my arms, quads and hamstrings hurt the most; during the second, my arms and calves,  and this week nothing hurts except during the half hour right after the workout.

It’s a 20 minute workout, split into a warm up and three circuits. In each circuit, Jillian has two minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, and one minute of abs. As of this week, the warm up and first circuit are the hard parts. The second and third seem so short that they’re barely existent. Out of the circuits, the abs are my favorite. If I had to pick a favorite exercise out of each, it would be chest flyes, butt-kicks, and reverse crunches (this is probably because they’re the easiest).

If I had flexed my arm three weeks ago, you’d barely see the muscle move. This week, I can stand in front of the mirror and see that little bump pop up when I flex. I can press it and hit something solid. My legs aren’t made of jello, and I have two tiny little muscles right under my rib-cage that are promising to grow if I keep going.

I’m thrilled! I’ve done something huge! Something voluntary! And I’m going to keep doing it, because I feel fantastic!

You feel like you can do anything when you accomplish something.