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How endurance training transforms your body and soul

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

Kaseedee Jermain is a personal trainer, nutrition specialist, Pilates instructor and marathon runner. Just a few years ago, though, she was 273 pounds and realized that something needed to change. Endurance training transformed her body and mind, and it can transform yours, too.

The lessons of weight loss and endurance training

"After my son was born, I was truly struggling with my body," says Jermain. "I was moody, didn't want to go out and had no energy." When she realized that something had to give, Jermain drove herself to the gym and walked through the double glass doors. "That's when the tears started and I was overcome with emotion," she says. "A sweet woman walked over to me and offered to help, and she became my trainer from that day forward."

Over the next few years, Jermain experienced an overhaul of both her body and her state of mind. She lost 128 pounds, and regained a sense of herself and her abilities as she went from barely walking 10 minutes to running a marathon. Through endurance training, she discovered perseverance, stress management and rugged self-confidence. "I faced my greatest fear," says Jermain, "and learned that I no longer have to feel afraid of a 'what if.'" She has applied these lessons to her business as a personal trainer and nutrition expert.

Kaseedee Jermain | Sheknows.com

Photo credit: Kaseedee Jermain

Endurance workouts for a body and soul overhaul

Jermain's choice of exercise is endurance running, but jogging long distances isn't the ideal choice for everyone. That doesn't mean, however, that other forms of endurance training are off the table. As long as you get your heart steadily pumping for an extended period of time, you'll experience cardiovascular benefits and mind-body resilience like Jermain. Consider adding a personal and enjoyable endurance workout to your routine to cultivate your own transformation.

Do you want muscles with your cardio? Jermain highly recommends the endurance training offered by Mother Pumper Fitness, like this Tabata workout. The routine offers cardiovascular endurance training, paired with some serious toning exercise for muscle strength.

Do you need to take it easy on your joints? Some women shy away from endurance training because it hurts in all the wrong ways. Take it easy on your knees and hips with an intense water training routine, like this full aerobic workout.

Do you miss riding a bike? Don't just mindlessly chug along on a stationary bike. Ramp up your routine — even if you can't make it to a notoriously killer spin class — by incorporating the routines from Global Cycling Network into your normal gym workout.

Do you feel rhythm in your soul? Seriously, check out either a Zumba class or a YouTube Zumba routine for an intense and high-endurance workout. If you really enjoy dancing, the 50-minute classes will pass by in no time.

As you're selecting the right endurance workout for you, remember to involve a community of people in your endeavors. According to Jermain, her soul transformation depended on learning that she didn't have to hide her fitness aspirations from others, even before she lost the weight. Although she was nervous at first, Jermain learned to wave and smile at people during her outings, rather than hide her body in shame. "I no longer hide myself," she said. "I run proud!" It was through accepting herself as she was that she learned how to pursue and attain her goals with great resilience.

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