As a way to quote punish quote myself for skipping out on a few weeks. I decided to exercise once a day, every day as my Week Ten challenge. For those of you who don’t actually know me, know this: I hate to exercise. I am the girl who only runs when A) it’s raining and I need to get to/from my car or B) when I’m being chased by someone particularly unpleasant. My idea of exercise is bouncing on my heels and waving my arms at a My Chemical Romance concert. Anything beyond that is just a waste of my carefully-stored caloric energy. However, this week, I figured what the hell? Why not try to be a healthy person for once in my life?
So I did. Between walking with my mom and neighbor, taking two “professional” exericise classes, and having dance parties (one PS3/Zumba supervised, one not), I found that I could actually…gasp of disbelief…ENJOY exercise.
From this weird revelation, I have devised a few tips for all those who, like me, detest exercise. I’m sure that they have all been said before, but hey, it can’t hurt to drill something healthy into your head, can it?
1. Figure out why you don’t exercise.
I hate the gym. It is embarrassing and disgusting. It is the mating ground of the low IQ, thick-necked, and meaty-handed of my generation. In my honest opinion, the only people who go to the gym are those who want to be seen “working out,” as if anyone wants to see their sweaty bodies sliding against the padded backrests and metal bars of the exercise equipment. What are you trying to prove?Maybe I’m just a country girl, but I am not impressed by jocks playing with metal. Go exercise outside — run down your street, in the fresh air, and tone your muscles by doing some actual, physical labor. Don’t artificially construct your body with machines.
So, I hate the gym because it and its patrons are gross, and I have transferred that hatred onto all exercise. Why do you refuse to exercise? Figure it out, and then figure out a way to get over it.
2. Be unconventional.
Pardon my Jersey, but fuck running. Running sucks. It really does. Sure, it’s a great way to build muscle strength and improve your cardio-vascular health, but it hurts and it’s boring. So, instead of beating your ankles to death on a treadmill or a sidewalk, do something fun. Play Zumba, try Yoga, crank up your favorite song and dance like an idiot for half an hour, chase a frisbee with your dog. It doesn’t matter. Just do something fun. If you’re not in the best of shape, and you sacrifice yourself to the treadmill gods, they will kill you, and you will not want to exercise again. Trust me. Start slow. Have fun.
3. Find your motivation.
“Being healthy” may be enough motivation for some people, but for me, it’s not enough. I tell myself that I should be in better shape, that it will help me live longer and have more energy, but in the end, I’d rather sit on my couch and watch Tosh.0 than lift weights. So, in order to motivate myself, I decided to rely on my biggest personality defects: my overwhelming sense of obligation and my pride. I’m one of those sad, little people who feels obligation to the core and will see a task through to the end (mostly out of fear of failure and sheer vanity) no matter how miserable it makes me. Therefore, when I decided to exercise every day for this challenge, my twenty years of self-inflicted, insane goal reaching refused to let me fail. So, I did it because I had to. Because if I didn’t, I would have felt like a failure, and I can’t stand to fail.
So what motivates you? Are you insane like me? Or is it something more personal? Do you want to get back into that swimsuit, like every Jenny Craig ad demands? Or do you want to spend more time with your kids, or live to meet your great-grandchildren? Whatever it is, focus on it and exercise for that — not for the mere sake of conforming to society’s idea that being “in-shape” makes you a good person.
4. Focus on the positive.
A lot of “beginner’s” exercise articles I have read focus on keeping track of the positive effects of exercise. They say to write down how you feel before, during, or after your workout, relying on the idea that one will feel better when one is done exercising. While I think this tactic can be useful, I would also add being positive about yourself and your goals.
When you’re out of breath and sweating and your ass is on fire, don’t think: Oh, I’m so fat and out-of-shape. Instead, think: Damn, I must actually be accomplishing something. Instead of harping on your body for being weak, remind yourself of all the great things it does for you — your lungs take in oxygen, your heart pumps your blood, your brain controls everything. When you stop and think about your body and all the miraculous things it does for you, you realize just how insignificant the soreness in your arms really is.
Then, when your body is exhausted, go back to thinking about your motivation. Focus on the positive: this temporary discomfort is bringing you closer to your goal, and in the end, it will make you happy. I know that being positive is harder than it sounds, and I know that all of this happy stuff sounds like a load of crap, but try it. It worked for me.
5. Lie to yourself.
If all else fails, just lie to yourself. I mean, I don’t know what you saw…but you totally used ten pound weights, not five. And you definitely ran for a whole mile and not just 9/10 of one. And you absolutely made it through the entire sword-fighting tournament on your Wii Fit.
This sounds like a complete cop-out (which it is). But when you never exercise, doing something is better than doing nothing. As long as you are at least taking the steps, who cares if they are baby steps?
So that is my advice, for whatever it’s worth. Will I continue working out every day? No way. I’m busy and lazy. However, I am going to try to make it a somewhat-more-regular part of my week, starting with work-out class at my job on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even join a gym.
No, no I won’t. Those places are disgusting.