RE: Out of shape beginner....need help :-)
Hi Anthony, and welcome to the Starboard Windsurfing School Forum!
I suspect that the reason yoiu are "getting worked" has to do with how you are doing things, the gear your are using to learn, and perhaps the conditions you are trying to learn them in.
Have you taken some lessons, or are you "teaching yourself"?
Just like many other sports, there is an easy way to learn, or you can tough it out and try to teach yourself which takes 2 (or more) times as long and has a huge frustration factor.
Can you describe for us a few things, and perhaps we can suggest an easier way for you to learn the basics with provides a strong solid foundation for further progress.
How much wind are you sailing in (windspeed in knots if possible)?
What size board are you using? (brand/model/width and volume would be most helpful.
What brand/model sail are you learning on and what mast are you using (length/IMCS/weight or carbon percentage here please)?
Also,how many times do you fall in the water in each of your sailing sessions? A few, every time you need to turn around, lots of times between your turns?
The above questions are designed to determine your current skill levels, what gear you are on, what conditions you sail in so that we can give you solid advice that's going to work for you and give you some immediate solutions to problems you may be having.
Does your board have an EVA rubber deck pad, or are you learning on something with just non-skid?
My guess would be, having taught a ndred or more guys your size, that you are moving your feet around on the board and also trying to hold onto the deck with your feet. We will give you some techniques so that you place your feet in the correct positions and simply stnad there, not moving your feet at all.
Your feet do not need to be "attached to the board" and trying to hold onto the deck with your toenails is completely unnecessary, but most beginners (end especially larger guys) seem to think intuitively that they need to do this, rather than placing the feet comfortably, where they need to be to give the best fore and aft and side to side stability (i.e. over the centerline, both feet behind the mast foot BEFORE you apply any power)
When you learn to stay over the centerline, and do any "balancing" with your knees and hips, it all gets much easier and falling in the water happens a couple of times per session.
As far as exercises, anything that gives you a full body workout (rowing machines/ weights/ AB exerciers, etc) will help improve your overall stamina, but "time on the water" is the best conditioning.
Hope this helps,