November 22, 2017 HOW DO I GET IN BETTER SHAPE? Dear Nikki, HELP! I feel like a weakling because I’m super skinny and don’t exercise. I’m horrible at sports, and my flexibility stinks so bad that I can’t even do the stretching poses right in PE. Any advice? Shameful Shape Hi Shameful Shape, I think it’s awesome that you want to get in better shape! I’m pretty skinny and unathletic myself, so I called my cousin Sydney, who’s on the track team for UCLA. She’s a HARD CORE athlete, so at first her suggestions were a little extreme. But once I convinced her that you weren’t trying to make the Olympics or anything, she had some awesome advice! BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF This was the biggest thing Sydney talked about. NOBODY gets in shape overnight! You don’t get flexible, fast, or strong overnight. You don’t learn how to play soccer well overnight. Or even in a week. In a month, you can probably make some serious progress if you’re working hard, but even then you’re still a beginner. This isn’t to discourage you from trying!! It’s so you don’t expect instant results, and so you don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to build skills and strength. But you have to start somewhere! DON’T BE AFRAID TO PUSH YOURSELF You won’t get anywhere if you don’t put in the work. Sydney suggests making some clear goals (like, “I want to be able to run a mile without stopping,” or “I want to be able to touch my toes”), and come up with a training schedule. Make sure the goals are realistic – like your first goal shouldn’t be to run a marathon or make the varsity soccer team. AND make sure your training schedule is realistic! If you try to do too much all at once, you’ll probably get frustrated and quit. (At least, I would, which is why I’d only do a little bit at a time.) JUST DO IT! Okay, that’s the Nike slogan, but it’s good advice. If you sit around worrying about not being good enough, you’ll never have the chance to GET good enough! So sometimes, you’ve just got to dive in. I mean, don’t go joining a competitive club soccer team full of kids who’ve been playing since they were toddlers. But find a pick-up game that’s more your speed and dive in. Or if you have some friends who play soccer, ask them if they’ll teach you some drills! HAVE FUN!! 🙂 This is really the MOST important part! If your goal has to do with how you LOOK, that can take a lot of the fun out of it. No matter how hard you work, you’ll probably never get your body to look like your version of “perfect.” So you’ll have a lot more fun if your goals are about being stronger and healthier, and being able to have fun playing a game with friends. And there are SO many options with exercise! Sydney’s on the track team, but I do NOT see the point in running around and around in circles. She thinks it’s great fun, though. If you don’t end up enjoying soccer, you might enjoy running. Or yoga. Or dance, basketball, ice skating, baseball, and the list goes on. But you’ll never know until you TRY! So get out there and see what your body can do! Sydney and I are rooting for you!! 🙂 What do the rest of you do for exercise? What’s the most FUN? What kind of fitness goals have you achieved? Tell us in the comments!