I joined the gym last week after more than a year of not working out, well, maybe two years. My goal is more energy and lose the belly. I even pay attention to my diet now- salads over burgers, water over Pepsi, fat-free pudding over regular good-tasting pudding.

So far, so good. My only problem: Cardio.

I curl dumbbells, bench press, do push ups or use the crunch machine all day, but once I step on the treadmill... After about a minute into my jog, I hit the cool down button. Even that makes me tired and dead inside.

Friends have given me their opinions:

"Just go for ten minutes to start." I can't even go two minutes to start.

"Increase by a minute and 0.1 miles per hour each time you use it." Maybe that will work, but it will take a while to actually reach 2 miles per hour. "Work out in the gym, but do the cardio at home. That way you can take your time with the machine, and nobody will steal it from you during your water break." I don't have a StairMaster at home... but I do know a good exercise bike machine in Layton (pictured below).

"Get a personal trainer to keep you motivated." I can barely afford the healthy stuff I'm eating now at Whole Foods. No way I can afford $120 each time I hit the gym.

"Do a five-minute warm up before you increase your speed." As long as the warm up is just walking... it is walking, right?

"Take your cardio outdoors, and run the neighborhood instead." Maybe, just maybe.

Of course... I have been saving the cardio for the end of my prior 40 minutes workout. Could that be the problem? I could do the bike and treadmill first, and then start my lunges, squats, leg curls and tricep extensions.

Fitness gurus, help me out. What's the best way for me to last more than two minutes on a treadmill or exercise bike? Should I take a piece of advice above, or is there another solution.

The photo is me dressed for a costume party, not what I really wear to the gym, but maybe I should if you think it will help.