I like a good quote.
One I have been thinking about for a while now is –
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”
Arthur Ashe was a tennis player, 3-time grand slam winner (including Wimbledon), civil rights advocate and Apartheid activist, founder of the ATP and educator.
There are many parts to Ashe’s story – growing up in segregated Virginia, a black man growing up playing a majority white sport, nearly drafted into the US Army and posted to Vietnam. There is a great short documentary about how his brother signed up for a 2nd tour of Vietnam so Arthur could focus on his tennis. He won the US Open while his brother Johnnie was stationed in Vietnam.
He was also an inspiration. The Williams Sisters recognise him as a person that motivated them as they grew up playing tennis on the public courts in Compton, South Central Los Angeles with shopping trolleys full of tennis balls
When you think about the quote above. Once you know a little more of his story, the quote seems all the more poignant.
In regards to starting to exercise …..
Start where you are
This will likely to be home. Gyms are nice and sexy spin studios are lovely but you don’t need to start there. Hopefully, there is a park or recreation ground near you that you can run around or even walk around. There’s a street just outside your door.
With a bit of luck, there is a little bit of space in your flat, house or garden where you can put down a mat or blanket which you can exercise on.
You can find a bit of time. You just need 5 minutes to start, be it in the first thing in the morning, during lunchtime at work or the evening just before bed. If you really want to do it, you can find the time.
Use what you have
If you want to run or even walk, you have a pair of trainers, a pair of tracky bottoms and a t-shirt. You do not need new gear to start. If you’re working out at home, no one can see you!
Got an old bike in the garage or shed? Does your friend have one you can borrow or even happy to give you? A second-hand bike doesn’t have to break the bank.
Want to do some resistance training (the new name for weight training)? Start with a tin of beans or a couple of bottles filled with water. Try a heavy book or a make your own sandbag.
Do body weight exercises. Press ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, planks, wall sits, step ups, calf raises, donkey kicks, superman’s, tricep dips, crunches, half sits ups, bridges.
Do what you can
Start slow. Start running by walking then running for 30 seconds to a minute. Run between lampposts. Run the length of a football pitch and then walk back and try it again.
Start with press ups on your knees and do 5. Work your way up to 10 and keep going. Move to full press ups. Do one exercise on your first day, then try and do one more the next time.
Want to do a chin up or pull up? You are probably going to start by not being able to do even one. Make completing one quality chin up or pull up (it depends on which way your hands are facing) your aim.
It’s not about the shoes, the watch, the leggings, the mat, the weights or the Nike dri-fit top. It’s about getting started and the rest will follow!