This little rant on my exercise phobia is meant to be humoristic and should be taken with a grain of salt :). And I love all my fit friends to pieces, even if you actually own a Lullulemon outfit 🙂
Soooo, how often do you exercise? At risk of being to blunt, I will smack right into tomorrow the next person that asks me that question! Ok, that may be a bit harsh but you have no idea how painful exercise is for me and how much I do not want to do it consciously. Ever! Again! Seriously, why is that so important to know? Well if you must know, I absolutely hate exercise! There, I’ve said it!!! I hate exercise in the way exercise is actually interpreted… Not physical activity like the fun stuff (climbing the Eiffel Tower stairs for instance) but exercise a.k.a, THE GYM! Believe me, I have TRIED to like it. I have had many, many gym memberships, I have purchased many, many gym paraphernalia and I have started many, many routines, countless of time. It is not for moi… Nope, not one bit of my whole being is an exercise fan waiting to find her true calling. Sorry to disappoint. I find absolutely no joy whatsoever going to the gym. I actually feel my stress level soar the moment I take the plunge to pursue some kind of ideal of physical fitness depicted out there by sweat lovers and muscle seekers. Don’t take me wrong, I actually envy my Lullulemon clad, tight butt, Fit Bit owner friends who exchange precise charts on their progress. I wish I had that in me. But I do not, never have and never will enjoy anything remotely connected to exercise routines…
I remember gym days in grade school: those were the days I wished my mom would bend and write me a sick note. The dreaded Participe-Action fitness tests would just reinforce how inept I was in the art of pushing the body to its outer limits. I could never do it properly and my gym teachers would just shake their head in despair. Those darn sit-ups, push-ups and chin-ups evaluations made me the joke of the class. These early failed attempts at proving I could bend myself in a pretzel, run laps like a greyhound and catch a ball (any friggin ball) should have been a clear indicator that I did not have the athlete gene in me. But since it seems that physical fitness, as per the physical gurus of our world like to portray, is the key to the fountain of youth, I tried on many occasion to genetically modify my DNA to make myself become an athlete. Heck, I even managed to train myself to run 5k in less than 40 minutes on a treadmill one year. Until I got shin splints… How often did I declare war to my natural love of inertia? Way too often! I’ve joined too many gyms I care to count and I have spent way too much money in pursuit of an ideal that was soooo far from my reality, I was setting myself up for failure every time.
Now I don’t know about you but my gym experiences have not been awesome (except maybe for the gym that had a cute guy at the smoothie bar). First of all, whenever I have joined a gym, I have always felt out-of-place. I have yet to find a gym that offers an inviting and spacious locker room. It doesn’t matter what time of day and how secluded you think your locker is, the moment you spread your belongings on the bench, someone magically appears next to you and they have to get in the locker that is right on top of the one you have selected. And what about those lockers? What can you actually fit in one of those, especially in the winter time? Yup, I have never found a gym that was pleasant to attend… The showers are always to small, to sparse or not private enough. The equipment is never, ever user-friendly either. Seems the best machines are always taken or broken down. Whatever a “best machine” is for that matter? I have not quite figured that one yet… It didn’t matter which “Best Machine” I would select, it never seemed to work properly or be connected to the tv screens or have sound that worked in the earphones (yes, I checked my earphones). Well anyhow, as soon as you score that “Best Machine” and you start to train, someone starts ogling your “Bestie” and you now feel like you are taking someone’s time or place. OMG, that is so stressful!!! But I am not only equipment challenged: I have also yet to join a class where I had room to move and mess up the routines without smacking someone in the face or tripping over their feet. I can never follow the instructors, no matter how hard I tried. They speak a language that is so foreign to me it might as well be Mandarin… And the sweat… Oh my gosh how I hate to sweat. I am one of those people who sweat from 2 very unbecoming spots: my head and between my legs. Within minutes of jumping up and down like a Mexican bean on steroids, my face turns beet red like it is going to explode, my head pours rivers of salty yuckiness in my eyes and I look like I need pelvic wall restructuring. Which is very pleasant when we progress to the floor exercise and I leave wet marks all over the mats. Yes, oh so pleasant! Now another frustration of mine are the gym appointed personal training sessions. In most gyms, you do not choose who will show you the ropes and assess your pathetic out of shape body. Well for me, that has always been the case: I always end up with teeny, bubbly high school cheerleader or Juan the glistening pecks Mr. Universe wannabe. Great!!! They are always kind and helpful but the routines are sooo complicated and the weight training equipment is so friggin weird, my head goes into complete shut down after the 3rd machine. «Ok sweetie, adjust the seat here, change the weight there, add a half a pound using this, sit like so, grab the bar like this, keep your tummy tucked, stick your butt out and do 10 pulls. Very good, you got it! Now, repeat 3 times. Don’t forget to breath in and out at the exact right moment or the exercise won’t work so well. Perfect, you are doing awesome! Ok now onto machine number 12: this one will work your trapeze maximus smackimus which is so important for your core! (Really????, yes… really…) And this should take you only 35 minutes. After which, in order to really invest into your body, you have to complete the routine with bicep curls and triceps lifts and sit ups and push ups and stretching and ooops, don’t forget to do your aerobic exercises to pump up that cardio! And finally, your body will need a good stretch to avoid injury. (Injury? I thought I was trying to get into shape not break the body!!!) Ok, one more, two more, three more! You are doing so great!»
So if I got here at 5pm and if I was lucky enough to dodge the machine huggers and the locker bullies, I may get out by 8pm. That is if I opt to shower at home because this beauty queen needs at least 40 minutes to airbrush fortysomething back on her face and hair! Well swell, sounds like a blast! Oh, and for optimum results, I should consider coming 3-4 times a week, otherwise, progress will not really happen. Hmmmm, sounds exactly like something I have time to do between working full-time, tending to domestic chores, raising a family, nurturing relationships, spending time with friends, visiting my parents, buying groceries and even squeeze in a hobby or two. Sure, I see no problem at all coming to the gym 3-4 times a week. Are you kidding me???? But my favourite of favourite gym lifestyle pitch is the investment I need to make in order to really transform my body. Yes, of course I would need to spend more money on top of the $600 plus a year I already spend to fight off other eager beavers away from the machines, find one that actually works, elbow Zumba aficionados and shower in tight corners. That is nearly not enough for the pursuit of optimal body health. So to the tune of $7K spread over a year, I could have my own personal trainer, gym appointed of course, to ensure I was keeping on the fitness path. Seven thousand dollars???? Well quite frankly, if I had $7K to invest in anything, I would ship my sorry flabby ass from here to Bora Bora and stay in one of those glass bottom huts complete with Egyptian cotton sheets, endless champagne while enjoying a personal massage overlooking the clear turquoise wawa! I mean really? Investing that much money in someone who doesn’t have the athlete gene (me) is like spending a fortune teaching a tone-deaf person how to play the violin. Personal trainers are for those who either are really good at exercise or want to become really good at exercise. They are for those who wan to push the physical outer limits of their bode, do it properly, do it well and without injury. They are not for people like me! Winter 2013 was my last attempt at organized physical activity: I went a few times and then I slowly but surely lost interest and let the membership go to waste.
So NO, I do not exercise! And I am really envious of my many dear friends who have the athlete gene, drive and ambition to pursue physical fitness! I think I use the word hate because really, I am totally jealous of those who actually like to rock climb, kayak or cycle for endless km on the weekend! That’s OK though because I am the friend who will wait for you with a glass of wine and a home cooked meal at the end of your »Just Do It» Nike moment LOL!!! But I am pretty active for my personality. I play and I live; I enjoy taking walks and I particularly enjoy winter activities such as skiing, skating, snow shoeing etc.. Do I engage in these activities regularly? Probably not enough and it doesn’t really matter. What if the goal was to keep my body healthy to the best of my abilities following a regiment that suits my personality type to a T? Wouldn’t that be good enough? Isn’t that what we all try to pursue: physical well-being free of illness and medication? As much as many believe that «exercise» is key to achieve optimum health, it is futile if you do not feed the body well first. I do not «exercise» regularly or with all my heart, but I «nutrition» every day and I play and I move. My cells are not deprived: they are happy-go-lucky little clusters of optimal joy that continue to make my life the best that it can be.