I've been obsessed with fitness ever since I can remember. Maybe it was because I grew up in the '80s, and activities for girls revolved around a pink-haired dog that pimped nail accessories and showing the world what we could do through the fine art of ribbon dancing. I took ballet, tap dance, ice-skating lessons and all of that shit. If I wasn't so busy in high school trying to be cool and discovering that people who liked the same music I did hung out on the smoker's corner, I might have been a cheerleader, too. (My mom attempted to make me try out for the Metro State cheerleading squad, because she didn't want me to be a loser in college. I declined and spent the next eight years getting a bachelor's degree in the dead art of journalism.)
Though I no longer participate in any sort of dance or aerobics class -- for the record, I tried Jazzersize for a month because Groupon made it extra-appealing, but I sucked at following the lady with the tiny headset's instruction because I was too busy staring at her tiny headset -- I still love the gym. Seriously, I'm one of those jerks who say they just "love going to the gym!" But now that I'm getting close to week three of the Colorado Get Movin' Challenge, I'm realizing that even for someone like me, making sure I work out every single day is tough.
The idea behind Colorado Get Movin' Challenge is simple: Do some sort of physical activity every day from August 1 to August 30 for just thirty minutes a day, log your progress and win all sorts of cool prizes.
Getting rewarded for working out? I figured I had this competition in the bag. I mean, what's thirty minutes every day? I spend at least that amount of time tweeting, just while I'm sitting on the toilet, not counting the six other cumulative hours I'm spewing running commentary onto the Internet. I probably devote at least thirty minutes a day to curating my Instagram, too, to make the three days a week when I do leave the house with pants on look extra X-Pro II filter amazing.
But here I am, at day fourteen of the challenge, and I've already missed two days. Not that it means I've lost out or should quit, but it has been a big ego check: Committing to working out isn't always as easy as I pretend it is.
I'm not going to get all high and mighty and say I have the definitive answer that will make you love working out and get you into doing something you probably fucking hate doing. But there are a few things I do to make working out not suck, and I thought I would share. Here goes:
1. Make time to work out Often, I hear people say that they feel like they don't have time to work out. While I generally scoff at this notion -- especially when I know how much time it can take an individual to binge-watch every season of Breaking Bad -- it is harsh and judgmental of me to underestimate how busy people with regularly scheduled lives are.Just one episode of Three's Company equals 25 minutes of mini-tramp action!
But what if you took 25 minutes of the six hours of DVD-watching you do and added some exercise? Seriously, pencil it in. Even if that time is spent jumping up and down on a mini-trampoline while watching YouTube-pirated episodes of Three's Company, it's a workout. And making time to get your heart rate up, even if it's just for Jack Tripper's still-adorable antics, is way worth it.
2. Find a kind of exercise you actually like to do If you think those people who go all the way to Red Rocks to torture themselves in public -- by working out on the stairs that no one likes to climb drunk during a concert, let alone sober when the stage is empty and the amphitheatre is just full of huffing and puffing weirdos in spandex -- are not doing the kind of exercise you want to do, don't do it.
What about rollerblading? Who cares if your friends think your fruit-booting ways are embarrassing. Screw them. Go for a blade on your own, or start a rollerblading club. There are plenty of people at Wash Park who would love to inline skate with you. (And PS: You should ask that guy who hangs out on the northwest corner of the walking loop, standing outside of his car wearing roller skates while his parked Corolla blasts Sheila E., to join you. He looks like fun.) 3. Pick the right workout clothes I'm always surprised when I see people at the gym wearing their pajamas on the recumbent bicycle. They always looked pissed off, and I'm guessing part of the reason is that they might as well have worn their duvet and pillow shams to the gym.
I'm not recommending you go out and get brand-new clothes just for pumping iron, but at least wear something that says, "Fuck yeah! I'm working out today and I feel great about it!" If that means donning a "Sun's out, guns out" muscle tee, then dudette, just do it. My boyfriend thinks it's super dumb that I've heavily invested in Nike's brand of motivational T-shirts that say things like "Women like it better on top" and "Every damn day," but whatever. At least I know when I look in the mirror that nobody can do the Stairmaster like I do.
(Note: if you're the guy who thinks 24Hour Fitness is his dojo, then your Judo uniform is totally fine. Just know that everyone is staring at you, and it's not just because you've decided to turn the stretching area into an appropriate place to stand at an angle while waving your hands around in slow motion. It's because your outfit is weird.)
2. Talk nicely to yourself Bad Brains called it PMA -- Positive Mental Attitude. Having a pep talk with yourself every day makes more of a difference than you might think. You don't have to get all mushy and say that you love yourself and that you're the best human who has ever walked the earth (but if that's your mantra, by all means, go for it), just know that your mind gives up long before your body does when you're exerting energy. So, if you think you can do it before you even get to the gym, chances are you're going to kill it on that bicep machine!
1. Make a kick-ass playlist to work out to If you happen to be a solo gym frequenter like myself, a great playlist is essential to a good workout. Think of it as a soundtrack to your bad-assery. I take the IDGAF (Mom, if you're reading this, that means I Don't Give A Fuck) Approach to my workout mix, meaning, Britney Spears' "Womanizer" goes up next to Mudhoney's "In 'N' Out of Grace" alongside VengaBoys' "Up & Down" followed by Real Magic's cover of "Dancing on My Own."One of my favorite workout songs of all time. Because I have no taste.
More into taking group fitness classes and having someone else tell you what to do? Find an instructor who plays music you like. Though I'm not a big fan of Zumba myself, Pitbull makes tracks for the dance-aerobics craze. Nothing makes a Zumba workout quite like Lil' Chico Mr. 305 barking at you while you're shaking your butt.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some live tweeting to do from the elliptical -- I need to update my twitter feed with incessant observations about everyone else at the gym's weird behavior. Including the girl who wears false eyelashes to work out. How do those things stay on?
It's not too late to join the LiveWell Colorado Get Movin' challenge -- learn more or sign up online by visiting the organization's website.