I gained a bunch of weight this winter which doesn't really phase me but I can't afford a new set of clothes, and, more importantly, I am huffing and puffing just walking up the hill to the house.
Here's the problem - I LOVE food and HATE exercise. I thought I would try the couch-to-5k program that has been successful for a number of my lovely imaginary friends. Since I'm not really worried about the number on the scale I don't care if I really lose pounds as long as I get stronger, since I know that most of my old clothes will fit in the process and I'll splurge on some new stuff.
BUT, since I hate running most of all of the exercise I have been making my family crazy because I have 20 times as long complaining about the idea of running than I have actually going outside.
Tell me - how far do I have to walk to get the same goodness as 20 minutes of jog/walk + 3 hours of bitching?
I've been doing Weight Watchers, and according to their measurements, a 20 minute jog/walk combination and 20 minutes of brisk walking (3 mph or faster) are about the same. I hope that is helpful!
If you like crunching numbers, there are numerous calculators online to figure out your optimal heart rate. Get a heart rate monitor and hit the road. Start walking slowly, and then speed up to a comfortable pace. Once you hit your optimal heart rate, try to keep that pace for 30 minutes. It may only require a brisk walk. Then, you've done your cardio. Once you've gotten to the point where you've got that down, it's time to think about resistance/weight training. It's really good for your muscles and helps ramp up your metabolism.
Another tip - get an ipod and load it up with stuff that makes you want to dance...in this case it will help you keep walking. There's actually a website with playlists specifically for that called http://www.rockmyrun.com/
Also, exercise is worthless if you hate it. If you don't like to run, then don't. There is a lot of options out there for working out. If you don't have a gym near you, there's some very good videos out. I personally like Turbo Jam and Gillian Michaels. If you feel adventurous, try finding a gym near you that does CrossFit.
Do you have an iPhone? There's an app for the iPhone called Zombies, Run! Or something like that. It essentially puts you in a game and you never know when the zombies are going to attack and you're going to have to move quickly and evade them. So essentially it's intervals (which are good for you and a lot quicker than steady state running) but with zombies. Alas, it does n't come for Windows phones.
Speaking of: intervals are more effective than steady state exercise. Can you get yourself out there for 15 minutes and alternate sprinting (whatever that is for you) and walking? It will have the same effect.
But really, diet has much more impact than exercise on weight.
For toning, I've been very happy with the Muller system (reviewed here on Slate with the awesome title "Kafka's Calisthenics.") Full source here and digest here. You'll feel pretty silly doing some of the exercises but the series is really quick, can be done without leaving your home or putting on sneakers, and gives you awesome definition.
Brisk walking + diet will probably get you where you want to be. And I second mnm - don't beat yourself up for not exercising if you've chosen exercise you hate. Either find something you like or something that is quick (like walking up and down that hill you described a few extra times, or climbing the stairs at work, or doing a brisk walk on your lunch hour). Or find a walking buddy.
I will just say: I'm pretty athletic. I ride my bike 30-40 miles a week, up and down Seattle's giant hills, and I swim and I do yoga. I fucking HATE running. Because I'm doing a triathlon this summer and therefore have to be able to run a 5k, I've committed to running 3 miles once a week, just so I don't keel over during the race. But every step feels hard, I hate the stretching and the pounding on my joints and the slowness and everything. I'm a pretty solid person (used to play women's rugby defense) so it feels like every step running is a tiny bit harder than it is for lighter, fleeter people. So don't feel bad about not liking running, just find something that you do like. It's not, like, the best most magical exercise or anything, it's just one option.
Zombies Run just might make me get back into running. Seriously? That exists?
I really wish I could use it. Ugh. Stupid early adopter spouse. Why couldn't we get the smart phones everybody else has and there are apps for? :P #firstworldproblem
Hahahahaha! That looks awesome - I may have to get it for my treadmill days at the gym!
I hated all forms of exercise until I took up yoga and belly dancing. Somehow these things managed to gently get me to the point where I was somewhat in shape and I could do things like run without it being torture.