“Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe

We have to meet our body where it is, and improve from there. If you haven’t worked out in months or years, you can’t just pick up where you left off. Trust me, I wish we could. For me, it was the cold that lasted forever! Last November I did my first Spartan race. I was feeling amazing!

I had been running and training like mad and I was feeling so strong! Then December hit me with a cold. I thought “no big deal, lay on the couch for a day and I’ll be back at it.” Yet I kept getting hit one after the other. I would spend two days on the couch, start to feel better and just get back to life and then bam! Back on the couch for another few days. This went on for two months!

So I went from running and lifting heavy several days a week each, to couch days, gentle yoga, and some nice walks. Those of you who take my classes might remember me skipping quite a few cardio drills. I was beyond frustrated. I eat pretty good, I workout, I take my vitamins… what am I missing?! I finally met with an acupressure person who has helped me immensely. I am happy to report I haven’t had a sick day in 5 weeks.

In just the past week I have finally gotten back to most of the activities I had been doing, although still much lighter weight than where I had been. It has taken some time to regain my cardio strength too, I finally went for my first jog. I’m on the right track and it is feeling good. I suspect it will take several more weeks before I can really perform the way I did back in November.

So how does this relate to you and your workouts? Just like I had to scale way back, and start again, you too have to meet your body where it is. Why is that? Because that’s where you are! Starting at an appropriate level is going to give you much longer term success. Coming in and working out so hard you injure yourself on your first day isn’t going to get you where you want to go. Sometimes we have to take our time and get back to basics so that we can build ourselves up.

Try these basic core exercise moves to ease yourself back into a new routine:


Line thumbs up under your nose so your shoulders are locked in and strong, engage your belly and pull in towards your spine. Your first goal can be :30. Regress to plank on knees.

Glute bridges:

It’s called a glute bridge for a reason! Engage your booty! Did you know your butt is part of your core? It is! It helps with posture, walking, running and proper body mechanics. Try 10 to 15 repetitions.

Clam shells:

Engage that core, opening and closing the knees, using your glutes. If you can’t feel it in your butt, tilt hips forward, or line your back up with a wall for proper alignment. Try 10 to 15 repetitions.

Now you are on your way to a strong core and headed towards your health goals already!

This blog was written by Roberta Rogers, NASM Certified Personal Trainer at Body Kinetics Novato.

About the author

Not long after graduating from Sonoma State, Roberta was taking a seminar with Landmark Education, using the tools and structure of the seminar; she began a journey that lead her to losing 80 pounds! Having struggled with weight her whole life, Roberta’s life was completely altered by this. After losing the weight herself, she saw that empowering others is exactly how she wanted to spend her life. Helping people reach their health and fitness goals, and not be stopped by their physical state is exciting! Roberta participated in the Apprentice Personal Trainer Program here at Body Kinetics to become a Certified Personal Trainer. While working with clients she found herself focusing on rehabilitation and went on to earn her Corrective Exercise Certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Roberta loves hiking and exploring the world around her.