Naturally a lot of people ask me what I do.  And very often when I tell them, they say, “Oh I hate to exercise.”  And if they seem happy with the idea that they hate exercise, I leave it at that.  People are allowed to love exercise or hate exercise or do exercise despite the fact they hate it or start a small hat shop.  It’s not my job to tell them what to do.  But sometimes people ask me how they can stop hating exercise, and that’s what this blog post is about.

Because as the graphic says above, exercise is like sex, if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.  And if you flipped that slide over, you would come to the second part of that statement which is, “sometimes you’ve got to kiss a few exercise toads before you find your exercise prince or princess.”

Cuteness aside, I think a lot of people try one kind of exercise one or two times and decide that they hate exercise altogether.  And I’d like to gently suggest that maybe you need to try “dating” a few other kinds of exercise in a few other places with a few different people before you decide to give up on exercise forever.  That’s not to say that some people don’t simply hate all forms of exercise.  I’m sure that’s true for some people, and that’s totally okay.  But if you haven’t tried any form of exercise since elementary school dodge ball tournaments or Jane Fonda leg warmer exercise videos, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to try something new.

We started out this week with a day dedicated to discovery (at least in the United States).  And whether you choose to call it Columbus Day or Bartolome Day or just that extra day off in October, we can choose to let that day encourage us to be adventurers.   Let’s choose to be exercise explorers together.

One way to begin is to evaluate your last dreadful exercise experience.  What did you hate about it?  Was it the sweating?  Was it being outside?  Was it in a class where you felt you couldn’t keep up?  Was it somewhere that made you feel embarrassed or inadequate?  Did the exercise hurt?  Were you too hot or too cold?  Did you get injured?  See if you can pinpoint the specific thing or things you hated most about your experience.

Once we’ve got that figured out, we can work to expand our exercise minds.  ANY kind of movement can be considered exercise of one sort or another.  Even if it seems too “easy”.  Even if it doesn’t seem like exercise at all.  It could be gardening or playing racquetball.  It could be walking around the mall or roller skating or having magnificent tantric sex with movie stars.

Next, we can work to evaluate a the items on our expanded exercise list based on a few criteria:

1.  Does it help us avoid the stuff we hated about exercise last time?  If we hated walking outside was it the walking part we hated or the outside part we hated or both?  If it was the outside part, will walking on a treadmill or walking inside at the mall be better?  If we hated walking will cycling or roller skating outside be better?  You get the idea.

2.  Is this form of exercise something I have a reasonable chance of actually getting to try?  I imagine that wild, frantic, fabulous sex with James Bond would be high on my list of exercises I’d like to try.  There are just a few problems with that: A) I’m married, B) I don’t know where to find James Bond, and C) James Bond doesn’t exist.  I don’t want to pee in your pool here, but if you live in Iowa, maybe surfing is not the sport for you.  If you want to go to California on your next trip and try it out, by all means please do.  But in the meantime, maybe you’d like to try something a little closer to home.

3.  Does it seem like fun?  Surfing and secret movie star sex aside, there is probably some sort of activity that will sound at least a little bit fun to you.  Maybe it’s salsa dancing or hula dancing lessons.  Maybe it’s Japanese drumming.  Maybe it’s running around with a DV camera and recording stuff or swimming or scuba diving or canoeing.  There are so many activities out there that can increase your strength, flexibility or stamina.  Get some magazines!  Surf the net!  Roll some different kinds of exercise around in your mouth until something tastes delicious and you are eager to try it.

4.  Accept that you will have to kiss some more exercise toads.  In our search for Mr. or Ms. right, I think most of us understand that we won’t necessarily find our perfect match on the first date.  Or the twentieth date.  Or even the one hundredth date.  But you know what?  There’s a lot of fish in that exercise sea.  And sometimes, ya just gotta pick yourself up, dust that spandex off and try again.

5.  Evaluate, rate and keep trying.  Each exercise “date” deserves a little post mortem.  Ask yourself, what did I love about this?  What did I hate?  What parts were just okay?  Is there a way to make this exercise more fun or am I just dressing up a toad here?  Is it possible for the Fat Chick to even get one more silly mixed metaphor into a single blog post?  After you’ve done your evaluation, you can decide if you’d like to try another date with that exercise, if you’re done dating that exercise or if you never want to see another exercise remotely like that EVER AGAIN.  It’s up to you.

By the way, I’d like to add one more tip.  Given the fact that we’re “dating” exercise forms here, can I humbly suggest that you don’t offer to marry that exercise before you’ve even gone out on your first date?  Please, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t sign up for $8,000 worth of courses or sign up for an 18-year non-refundable gym contract before you know if you even like a form of exercise or a place to do it?  I myself have subscribed to the, “If I pay $3,000 for it, I know I’ll do it, because I don’t want to waste the money” school of thought.  And I’ve spent many years hanging my lingerie on the treadmill while I learned the folly of that thinking, hopefully for good.

So my dear readers, I hope you feel encouraged to go out there and try something new.  And once you find your exercise bliss, I’d love to encourage you to take photos and share them with Ragen and I on the Fit Fatties Forum.  And don’t forget to have fun!


Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)

13 Comments. Leave new

  • This is the BEST message I have seen in a long time. How truly inspiring, thoughtful and entertaining! Thanks, Fat Chick!

  • I absolutely agree that this is a great post. I need to date some exercise. But it seems harder to find than a mate!

  • I got my bike back in working order and I’m feeling like “why did I wait this damn long?” Talk about reviving really happy memories of childhood…just flying along on my bike, watching Valley landscapes whizz by. I ended up riding 6 miles and feeling like I could do more. However, the day after I was sore. Gotta pace myself. Going to go down to the Sherman Oaks Street Fair tomorrow and bring the bike. Ride around in the old neighborhood. As people who grew up around here would say, I’m stoked.

  • Reblogged this on lessfatchick and commented:
    Yes, exercise can be fun. Getting my bike back in working order and riding around has been a learning experience. Why did I wait so long? I missed this.

    • W00t! More cycling happiness! I’m not a big cycler (I SO wish I was) but it’s my hubby’s favorite. AND we have fantastic trails nearby. And with the weather reaching the totally fantastic point, I’m sure we’ll be pulling out our wheels for a spin…

  • Oddly enough, I found that doing the exercise that I liked the most inspired me to do the “less fun” exercises — and actually learn to enjoy them! I always felt like I should be jogging instead of riding a bike, because it’s more intense. Thing was, I loved to bike and I really didn’t enjoy jogging. Once I gave myself permission, I found myself going to the gym on the days when the weather was too lousy for bicycle… and jogging on the treadmill. Why? Because it would increase my aerobic capacity on the bike, and THAT was important to me. Now, I’m really beginning to enjoy jogging, which I never thought would happen, and working to increase my speed and endurance. Exercise begets exercise if you start with what you enjoy.

  • This is great stuff! Having experienced the whole frog/prince thing many times, I can relate to the idea of dating exercise plans. There are things I do enjoy, like yoga, but for various reasons — some physical, some mental — I’m still having trouble with being motivated to do it. So what if you find something you like, but are having trouble actually doing it. The whole “just do it” thing does nothing for me. Unless it’s that James Bond sex thing…. Sign me up for that…..

    • There are lots of things that can get in the way of us doing exercise that we genuinely enjoy. I talk about a lot of those exercise obstacles in my book, The Fat Chick Works Out! If exercise is both something that you want to do and something that you feel is important to you (and there’s no law that says either of these things must be true) there are some steps you can take. One thing is to actually schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment and faithfully make time for it. It can be hard when you’re really, really busy. But I find that exercise actually gives me more energy to do the other stuff in my day so that helps me make time for it. Another tip that I’ve learned is to set up everything I need the night before. Pull out my yoga mat and yoga clothes and stuff and put it out before I go to sleep. It’s silly, but it does seem to help me. Maybe the most helpful tip for me is to do my exercise first thing in the morning, even though I get up REALLY early. I don’t bother taking a bath or doing my hair or makeup first. I just put on my exercise gear and GO. It helps me get to my exercise before too much other life stuff interferes and it ensures that I only have to get clean and duded up one time per day. Anyways that’s what helps me. Your mileage may vary! 🙂 Jeanette

  • […] 3.  If you hate your exercise program so much that you would rather experience torture than do it, I humbly suggest that you need to find a new program STAT!  Exercise should be fun. […]

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