I've been telling myself for several weeks that it's time to start taking better care of myself and get back into a workout routine. I suppose my excuses dried up, and the reasons to get back into shape finally won out. So yesterday, I decided to make the time, and committed to joining a gym.This morning was the first time I've worked out since 2006.

I'm not overweight, and I don't have any medical problems that I know of (knock on wood).  I'm not interested in bulking up to a point that I look like a leather couch cushion, and I don't believe there will be any dramatic before/after photos, unless I shave my head or get a tattoo. But there are two key reasons that pushed me over the hump and motivated me to get back to the gym. First, a couple of my coworkers have recently joined gyms, and hearing them talk about their experiences has been inspiring. Also, my dad has had some health scares in the past few weeks that has me looking into the future, hoping that's not me 30 years from now. It's eye opening to have someone who is in the hospital, struggling with health issues tell you that you need to be sure to take care of yourself.

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As of the moment I'm typing this, I am one hour removed from my first visit to the gym in 7 years. After running (okay, and walking at times) for a mile on the treadmill and doing a very basic upper body workout, my legs are burning and my arms feel very weak. In fact, all I want to do is move my keyboard somewhere so I can continue typing while I rest my arms on my desk. I'm praying that no one asks me to lift anything today. I'm thinking ahead to later today, hoping I will recoup enough use of my arms to pick up my 18 month old daughter - a feat that seems all but impossible at this moment.

I've been through this part before. The first two weeks of beginning a workout routine is the most difficult as you try to retrain muscles that have gone unused for so long. While my aches and pains remind me what I did to myself this morning, I know that when I get through this stage and stick to a routine, I will begin feeling better than I have in years.

Like many people, sticking to the game plan is not the easiest thing for me when it comes to working out. Priorities like family and work will get in the way of my routine. Temptations like deep fried food and stout beers will challenge my motivation. But the plan is to keep focused on the goals of feeling better, staying healthy and being a positive influence on my kids.