Let’s Get Physical

The truly great thing about this planet is that it’s full of all kinds of people, some of them horrible, some of them charming, and all of them occasionally smelly.

Jersey Shore (TV series)

Of course, some are smellier than others.

There’s a certain kind of person who gets up early and drinks shakes with herbal ingredients no one has ever heard of. They wear shirts made out of futuristic fabrics that sound like electronic bands, like “luxtreme” and “luon”. They drown what sorrows they have in turkey bacon and fiber cereals and they love working out. They LOVE it. If exercise was a person, these are the people who take it on a hike to a moonlit meadow to propose, marry it in an understated and gluten-free outdoor wedding, and have its slender, tan babies.

There’s another kind of person in this world who sits around writing a blog post at midnight, eating potato chips and staring longingly at the Taco Bell sign in the distance. This kind of person doesn’t like to move, ever. They’re incredibly creative about it, and will spend long hours planning clever ways to avoid any kind of physical exertion. I am this kind of person, and you know what? I’m not ashamed.

I am, however, a little bit worried about a future filled with heart disease, obesity, and those weird scooter things at the end of Wall-E. There’s a difference between being one of the people in Group 1 and being a little less steadfastly sedentary, and I understand that, so at the beginning of last week, my friend Adrienne and I decided to do something about it.

For Adrienne and me, working out is really hard. It’s not that we’re physically incapable of it. If something with large teeth was chasing us, there’s no doubt in my mind that we would be able to run and at least climb a tree or something. I’m not saying we’d survive, I’m just saying we could do it. We’re not fat, we’re just seriously out of shape. The real trouble is a mental block that occurs somewhere between the thought, “I should go to the gym” and the actual act of tying our running shoes and leaving the house.

In my defense, shoe-tying gets tricky.

Possible Explanations for My Gym Hatred

– Somewhere in my brain, there is a whiny six-year-old who hates exercise because it’s haaaaarrrd and I wanna be a princess when I grow up and everyone knows princesses don’t have to move and can we have mac and cheese for lunch?

– There’s a scene in Ghostbusters where Rick Moranis is running from a demonic minion and he slams into the window of a fancy restaurant. At first the diners ignore him but as he runs around outside, falling over chairs and into bushes, they all turn to stare at him until he slides squeakily down the window to his doom. The most neurotic part of my brain fervently believes that’s how my gym experience will go. The regular gym-goers with their yoga pants and their swishy ponytails will ignore me until my floundering becomes so obvious that they’ll all stare at me while I’m crushed to death by a barbell, then immediately go back to their ponytail swishing and yoga pantsing.

– My calendar says I don’t have time for the gym. Even if I can squeeze in half an hour, I’m just going to get tired and then the rest of my to-do list suffers. And what if I went out with my friends?! (Ha.) Or had a hot date?! (Haha.) Going to the gym would seriously cramp my social life! (Hahaha.)

With months of excuses under our elastic waistbands, we tried to think of things that would actually inspire us, and finally we came across the answer.

Things That Are Inspiring

– Rocky montages

– That poster of the cat hanging from the tree branch with his little hopeful paws

– Cologne slogans

– Lifetime original movies

– Shame

I’m afraid of two things in this world (well, besides this entire list): the idea that Future Stephanie will have to order a pair of XXL Forever Lazy pajamas that match the scooter she needs after diabetes takes her foot, and the thought that people will learn about the most embarrassing moments of my sweet, short life.  Luckily for me, Adrienne feels the same way and that’s how we stumbled on what is either the greatest workout plan of all time or the worst idea anyone has ever had.

We both sat down and listed the most embarrassing things we could think of. When we finished, we traded lists, sealed them and made a pact that goes something like this: Say I miss two workout sessions in a row, using a lame excuse like “I have a headache” or “I was just hit by a bus.” Adrienne now has to log onto my Facebook page and post one of my deepest, darkest secrets for all my friends to read. If she misses two sessions in a row, I get to do it to her. As Adrienne says, it takes a special kind of friend to be mean enough to post something like that but nice enough not to abuse the power.

So far it’s working well. We’ve been to the gym a lot this week. We’re too afraid to skip it.

The most important part of any workout is the Rocky stance at the end.


  1. Lorna's Voice

    I’ve been told that if you do something for 17 days in a row, it becomes a habit, I can attest to that I started jogging and after 17 days, I was hooked. I had to stop due to health problems. After 17 days of not jogging, I’ve never gone back (but my health problem is still with me, too.

    Good luck at the gym. If nothing else, get you’re money’s worth out of!

  2. Arden

    If you’re anything like me you’re going to have dark secrets splashed around all over the place. Millions of eyes will be on your FB. May the Force be with you.

  3. Barbara

    Love your blog, you are hilarious! What makes it so good is that it’s hilarity we an all relate to, great job! When no time for the gym, WALK… It’s a great destresser and especially fun with someone else! Try different routes, go fast in spurts, you burn more calories… I highly recommend Cooking Light magazine, great recipes to try (see my blog for a few of m a favorites) I look forward to hearing about your journey!

  4. Troy Harris

    it’s the thought that counts, which is why i constantly think about going to the gym. But I know I’d get there and be to proud to ask for any help on any of the machines, and would hurt myself. And knowing is half the battle!

  5. Joshua

    Working out is the bane of my artsy existence. I used many of the same excuses and yes even have made plans to not make plans. However I have beaten the system by listening to audio books while ridding my bike. It’s as if I have tricked my brain into thinking I’m not really doing work! Very deceptive but it works!

  6. racheljay89

    I know exactly how you feel. Gyms are intimidating, and while I’m not overweight either, I’m terrified of ending up upside down or trapped inside one of those weight machines. And it’s been so long since I’ve actually gone to the gym that any workout makes my muscles vibrate out of control. I thought having a job that makes me work outdoors and keeping physical would keep me in shape but apparently that doesn’t cancel out my horrible eating habits. I like your blog, I feel like we’d be friends in real life.

  7. amyblake

    This. Is. Awesome. Wanna know a secret? All of the ponytails and muscle shirts are far too busy checking themselves out in the mirror to notice you. It’s true- I’m a pony tail and I know! Keep it up, it’ll be an addiction soon enough…

  8. gojulesgo

    That is a BRILLIANT idea! If this backfires, you must take screen shots of your Facebook walls and post them here.

    But I’m sure it won’t backfire.

    …No way.

  9. Ian Burgess Photography

    Those Rocky stances are FAR too mellow – reshoot them after your first workout and post a before and after… ;-)

    Thanks for the great (and inspring) read!

  10. abradbury413

    As silly as it is, I think your way to keep yourself going to gym, is really smart! I find myself in the same boat all too often and I think committing with a friend to go to the gym regularly-even with a sort of potential punishment involved-is the best way to stick to working out.

  11. Dana

    Pantsing?? Best fake word ever! Just stumbled on your blog through FP and absolutely love it. You’re a great writer and I’m looking forward to reading more! :)

  12. Antara

    I just tried to imagine what would happen if I did something like this and then failed to work out and my best friend posted one of my dark secrets on Facebook……..
    *gasp* *GASP*

    you are brave my dear friend. Very very brave.

    All the best with you workouts!


    • Antara

      I canNOT believe I said ‘you’ instead of ‘your’.
      Please know that I am using my mobile phone to type this and this usually does not happen. :-P

  13. SMH92

    I would never write down a bunch of embarrassing things about myself for a friend to keep. You really don’t know what they might do with it. But if your friend is really trustworthy then it’s fine, I suppose.

  14. Jen

    HAHA Love this, I’m exactly the same – I would genuinely be happy to starve to death if it meant I dind’t have to think about the word exercise. Shame is defo the best motivation… that and the bitch who sits next to me in work on one of those exercise balls with the tiny ass x

  15. gabrielgarbowota

    Keep up the good work. Just don’t get so fit that you end up spending all your time jogging, thus leaving no time to bestow new, hilarious blog entries upon your friends and fans.

    I fear the day when my own work out regimen muscles out the already meager amount of time I devote to making art (even though that day will never, ever come).

  16. realityisalovelyplace

    no matter how much i didnt wanna like this post.. i loved it.. i guess you can take that as either a comment or an insult??
    but i do understand the rocky stance.. before i broke my ankle i was jogging at my aunts house (outside i mean) and i felt like rocky or mark wallberg in the fighter with my adidas sweater with the hood on and headphones in my ears… so go to realityisalovelyplace.
    ps. i hope you actually read these comments

  17. menonramakrishnan

    I guess i should try out something like this too… but the porblem is i dont have a “special kind of friend to be mean enough to post something like that but nice enough not to abuse the power.”
    All my friends are definitely mean enough to post something like that but not nice enough not to abuse the power

  18. Devina

    I think I can relate, I think I’m just lazy and I too make lots of excuses even though I now working out’s good for me. One day on the treadmill, then another, on the third day I just forget all about it until I go at it again a month or two later. By the way I’ve awarded you with the Versatile Blogger award, I dunno if you’ve got one already but one more couldn’t hurt! Here’s the link http://hotchocolateandbooks.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/versatile-blog-award/
    Good luck with everything!
    Cheers :D

  19. kdevries

    So funny! I love your line about it taking a “special kind of friend to be mean enough to post something like that but nice enough not to abuse the power.” Ha!
    Good luck! If nothing else, one or both of you will have an interesting Facebook page soon! :)

  20. Jordan & Noelle

    My wife and I are in China right now, and tonight we just had the “Join a gym” talk. It’s really windy and cold in the winter here, so the gym is the best option….we go to an OK one a few blocks away already, but it’s nothing more than two rows of equipment. She wants the whole sha-bang in her gym experience; the extra classes, the flashy club-lights, and working treadmills (go figure). Really, I don’t like gyms. She does. As I scarfed down a tube of Oreos and read your entry (while simultaneously thinking of the Rocky montage) the little movie of my life I have going on in my head began to fast-forward twenty years and I too am hovering around in one of those WALL-E scooter things. Gym time.

  21. claire

    God, you make me laugh! Going to the gym is sheer hell for the first few weeks and then those endorphin-thingys jump in and make it feel nicer but still horrible. All those fitness freaks showing off – ugh! I now walk the dog in a wood by myself, plugged into my ipod and it’s sooo much better. Good luck but wish I was a FB friend so I can read your secrets as no doubt a missed gym is looming!! (Not to be negative or anything …)

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  23. Kim

    Reblogged this on the rest of the story… and commented:
    My husband tells his supervisor, “You can have it fast, good, or cheap: pick two, you can’t have all three.” My version is “grad school, work, or exercise.” Somehow I can’t manage all three. Well… to be perfectly honest, exercise fell off the wagon and stayed off even after I lost my job recently. Today I started over even though my body felt like I was sleeping. Then I indulged in some dark chocolate. See? I’m not on the health nerd end of the spectrum after all. Maybe I should try a FB challenge with a friend, like Listful Thinking. Can you relate?

  24. createhabitsthatcreatehappiness

    I used to walk the deserted mall with all the old people in the mornings before work when I still worked in an actual city (I now live in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin) to avoid all the yoga-pantsing…but I wore my yoga pants and shape-ups and strutted my stuff knowing my legs were probably better looking than most of the people around me!

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