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your look ● fitness Let’s Get it Started! Beginning an exercise routine can be the hardest part, so it’s important to remember the benefits that you’ll reap from becoming fit A ny time that you’ve set foot in a gym or a class with a trainer or instructor, you’ve probably had that terrible thought in the back of your head: “I just can’t do this.” If you haven’t and you’ve managed to slay that mental dragon, congratu- lations, you’re in the one percent. For so many other people, gathering the confidence to spend even 10 minutes in a room full of other people fighting their own fitness demons is considerably harder than completing 10 pushups. The fact is that most of us are hung up on the minutea, the fears that we face in not being able to complete an ex- ercise or embarrassing ourselves in front of other people. To combat this fear, our fitness experts often provide us simple steps and exercises that we can use to get our per- sonal routines started, and before we know it, we’re sup- posed to be on the road to those perfect bodies that we’ve craved for so long. Well, forget those tips for now. It’s time that we talk a little more about the initial motivation and finding the wherewithal to get off the couch, put our fears beneath us and use them as fuel in driving us to get past the inadequa- cies and on with the exercise. If you can’t bear to look in the mirror, even to tell yourself that this isn’t the body that you want, then look inside your heart and think about what matters most to you—your family, friends, health, happi- ness, success, etc.—and start understanding that the fol- lowing are just some of the aspects of your life that will improve with just 30 minutes of exercise each day. COME ON GET HAPPY Whether we accept it or not, our physical appearance af- fects the way that we interact with and treat other people. If you’re unhappy with yourself, you’re not going to be happy with others unless you’re the greatest actor in the world. But here’s the problem with that—everyone close to you can see right through your façade. By exercising and di- 78 PAGEANTRY eting and just working toward small weight goals and phys- ical improvements, you can kill two birds with one stone and simply become a happier person. And don’t worry about the birds, because if this works, you’ll be killing them with kindness instead of stones. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP A lot of doctors and health experts will tell you that the cornerstone of a healthy and happy life is a routine of a good night’s sleep. Some may tell you six hours, others may tell you eight. There might not ever be a number that the so-called experts agree on, so just do the smart thing and aim for seven hours of sleep per night. “But I don’t sleep well, I have insomnia,” you might complain to the barista at Starbucks. First of all, too many people throw that “I” word out there all the time, as if they really believe they have a clinical sleeping disorder. Chances are you’re not suffering from insomnia and you just have a brain that keeps you up at night because you haven’t properly used all of your body’s fuel. Do you know how to handle that and provide yourself with all the sleep you’ll ever need in one night? That’s right, by exercising. In case you can’t tell, there’s a theme here. Also, the key to sleep is to be consistent and have seven hours each night. Sure, some nights you might have six and others eight, but what you can’t do to your body is have