June 18, 2014

What Exercise Doesn't Suck as Much as You Think it Will?


By Crabby McSlacker

It may not come as a great shock to those of you who are regular readers, but...

I don't always enjoy my workouts. And I almost never look forward to them.

Yep, some days it's all about sighing and moaning and procrastinating and finally guilting or bribing myself into crossing exercise off the "to-do" list. Especially if strength training or high intensity intervals are involved.

But the totally moronic thing is: I often find myself feeling reluctant and whiny and foot-draggy about fitness activities that I almost always enjoy once I get off my ass and do them.

How screwed up is that?  Why can I not learn, after many repeated instances of non-suckitude, that just physical exertion is not always an odious chore?

Do any of you guys struggle with this?

So I just thought I'd remind myself that riding my bike can be quite lovely and fun.

Yes, dear bicycle: you are 20 years old
and heavy as f--ck, but I still love ya. 

If you, like me, ever suffer from Pleasant-Exercise-Amnesia brain disorder, (making you a fellow PEA-brain), feel free to join me and take this opportunity to remind yourself of the last time exercise didn't suck.

How about we try to drill it into our thick skulls that we won't regret it, even if it incidentally involves a little huffing and puffing and leg-burning and requires a tiny bit of planning or effort?

Why I Love My Bike Ride:

In Provincetown Massachusetts, there exists a lovely bike path that is pretty much perfect for a 50-75 minute workout, at least for my purposes.  I felt all full of appreciation for it yesterday morning even though I almost didn't venture out due to a feeble set of bullshit excuses. 

There are enough hills to get my legs pumping and my heart rate up a bit, especially since I don't have a fancy bike. But none of the hills are very long or tortuous.  There are various loops, and they seem totally different if I go in opposite directions, so I can customize each ride and mix things up and double back to repeat harder hills or avoid them entirely depending on whim and energy levels.

There are forests,



and sand dunes with little peeks at the ocean,




and beaches, 

and ponds,


And just generally a lot of pleasant naturey seashore-type shit to look at as you pedal.


But it also has amenities like restrooms, water fountains (including one that will totally douse your feet if you fail to notice there's no drainpipe under it),


and a new snack bar I haven't tried yet!


The bike path used to be full of cracks and bumps and roots and potholes, and you felt more like you were riding a jackhammer than a bicycle, but they repaved most of it up a couple years ago. Yay!

Now it's lovely and smooth and wide. Plus, there are no cars. And, especially important for someone like me with No Sense of Direction At All, it is well marked.


Of course there are a few hazards, like sand or water on the trail, sharp turns, clueless idiots who don't keep to their side of the line, low clearances,


And the occasional landshark.


However, all well worth it!





So why the hell do I have to DRAG my reluctant ass out the door to do this once or twice a week? Seriously?

What about you guys, any other PEA-brains who keep forgetting pleasant exercise experiences and need to force yourself to do things you know you will probably enjoy?

36 comments:

  1. truly the entire reason why Ive JETTISONED the workout and made it all all always about the PLAYout.
    Monkey bars never suck :-)

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  2. I look for excuses to not go for a bike ride even though I enjoy the hell out of it when I do go. Weather is my most common reason. If there's the slightest breeze I figure it'll be too hard riding into it. I often find I am completely wrong.

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  3. Neighbors. Now that I'm living where I can just walk out the door and walk, I put off going out because of all the people who will speak to me or wave. They're all very nice (at least the ones who interact with me are!) but when I walk I just want to walk, not be alert for social interactions looming up ahead. And no, they do not add to the exercise experience; they improve the neighborhood experience, but they detract from the walk.
    Also there's the ever-present book or screen in front of me. Just one more page, or sentence, or….

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Its not just me! I have neighbor phobia! It makes it really hard to work in my garden as we are all out gardening on the weekend. I only have 2 days to get an entire weeks worth of stuff done. Often I don't even have half a day with other responsibilities. I don't have time to chat but, I'm too polite. I really think I may have to garden at night wearing a miner's helmet.

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    2. How funny about the neighbors you guys! I have two modes, stop & chat street clothes mode versus headphones on, workout clothes, and determined expression mode--when in the latter mode I just pretend I can't see or hear anyone and try to make up for it when in chat mode. But then I"m an antisocial freak. :)

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    3. Gee I guess my mode is bent over gardening big butt in the air mode. Talk to the bum neighbors!

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  4. I've been on that bike path! On a rental bike, in 1996, during one of the best vacations of my life. My then-boyfriend was a way faster biker than I was, however, and I could not keep up. I ended up lying on a patch of grass squirting water all over myself from my water bottle till he came back for me. Ah, memories!

    My feeble set of bullshit excuses are usually weather-related too and involve how odious it's gonna be to *get* to the gym. I don't wanna wait for the bus in the rain. I don't wanna have to shovel out the driveway just to go. It's too cold out and my house is warm. It's so hot out, I'll be sweaty before I even get there... If teleportation is invented *or* I move to, like, San Diego, all my bullshit excuses would be null.

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    1. I vote for San Diego MA! Really does solve a crapload of weather problems, though you find yourself getting supersensitive to wimpy weather conditions like a little drizzle or a "heatwave" when it hits the 80's.

      And you gotta come back to Ptown, I bet you'd be flying up those bike trail hills now with your strong legs!

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  5. My problem is that I know the first 15 minutes of whatever I do will involve the snap, crackle and pop of my broken down joints before they get lubricated. There is also that getting out of the comfy bed or chair where you could spend the entire day reading a trashy novel problem.

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    1. I know, this joint stuff sucks Cindy--and rice crispies makes such a more pleasant snap crackle pop! But good for you for exercising anyway!

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  6. I would say the 80% of the time on the day of a scheduled workout with my trainer at the gym, I think about how I just don't know how I am going to churn up the energy to get through it. Many evenings I don't want to go, but I have to because I have an appointment, and I've paid for it. But, then I get there and I power through it, feel great and have fun. I really love my trainer, which really helps. I need these kinds of impetus in the early stages I'm in – working to develop good habits for life.

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    1. I really should try the Trainer option Amy-- So glad it works for you!

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  7. Death Ride GrandmaJune 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Oh, I wish I could head out and ride that path again! But if I am honest with myself, I know that 9 times out of 10 I would feel exactly the way you describe, even if I had flown across the country to ride that beautiful trail. Well, ok, on a perfect day, with plenty of ice cream in sight, that might be an exception.

    I put 6000 miles a year on my bike - presumably because I really, really love it, but heading out is almost always - not quite a struggle, but I am definitely not the dog at the door, wagging away and begging to be let out!

    What helps me is a schedule. I work with a trainer at the gym, and I have an online schedule of bike & running workouts, and I meet the guy who gives them to me fairly frequently. Not a cheap option, but at this point in my life it is a top priority. Anyway, I was always a little goody-two-shoes who did her homework, so if someone tells me to do it, I do it. If I write something in my own calendar, it is also reasonably effective, but it's gotta be written down. Generally, within a few seconds of feeling the wind on my face, I am wondering why on earth I wasn't the doggie at the door.

    Inertia is amazingly powerful.

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    1. Wow DRG, I had no idea that you weren't all dog-waggie excited about your rides, I just assumed that with your amazing bicycle feats that you must just love the hell out of being on a bike. It is kind of reassuring that even super athletes need a push sometimes!

      And sounds like another vote for trainers in terms of motivation!

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  8. Oh - I love the view and area you have while riding!! Maybe it's not so much that you don't want to ride, just finding the time to fit it in!!
    BTW - I might be really late in noticing but I love the new look over here - so clean!!

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  9. Crabby scores again! I read this post and pondered…then it came to me. I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. I love to swim, but hate to get water in my ears as it usually leads to an infection blah, blah, blah. I have tried different types of plugs, but none have done the job in a way that makes me want to jump straight into the pool. So what I have been doing a lot is just running back and forth in the pool, not actually swimming.

    When I went to Miami Beach, there was no way I wasn't going in the ocean or the pool, so I bought yet another couple of sets of plugs and they were just okay. I used them the other night at home and they did not make me a happy swimmer. I whined about this (finally some whining!) to The Boss and he said, "Why don't you just get some custom-made plugs?" I assured him that no such thing existed.

    Since your post got me pondering I used the Google and found out that such things do exist. Not only do they exist, there is an audiology clinic a ten-minute walk down the road where I will be going next Tuesday! I am getting custom-made earplugs!

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    1. Kimberly, this totally made my day! Hope the custom plugs let you swim again and way to go in revisiting the problem and finding a possible great solution.

      Makes me wonder how many times I've said "I wish..." then sighed and never followed through to see if that wish could be granted with just a little more perseverance.

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  10. We have nice bike paths like that near us, too, that I run on. Sometimes I just don't want to do it, but I know I always feel better after I do. I really didn't want to go yesterday evening, so I brought all my stuff to work with me and ran in the neighborhood across from where I work for a change of scenery. It's amazing how much better it can make it.

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    1. Courtney, that was really smart--it really is amazing the power that mixing things up a little has. Wish I'd remember to do that more often!

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  11. Zumba and dance as exercise made exercise fun for the first time in my life a few years back, but i can't afford the gym any more, and it's difficult. There's really nothing else i like, which is a shame.

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    1. You can sign out Zumba or belly dancing DVDs at the library if you have one nearby. Sometimes it is even easier to just stomp around like a goof when you are at home and only the cat can witness. Probably a lot of stuff on youtube as well.

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    2. Yeah Messymimi, Cindy has a great idea there... though in your house you'd have a LOT of cat-witnesses!

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  12. I like riding a bike! This past week I've been in Chicago. I borrowed a friend's bike and rode some places I never went before. A little scary because of the different bike and all, but I had a great time!

    I never look fun in a workout. I just do it. If there is fun, all the better.

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    1. That's great Dr. J, you are not one to shy away from adventures and glad the bike ride turned out to be fun!

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  13. Since our move, I have many more opportunities to walk, my favorite form of exercise and one that I get results from. Prior to this, though, I had to drive an hour to get to a gym or pool, or 25 minutes to get to a bike path. Walking out my door was not an option--dirt road with many, many large dogs running loose and not liking my crossing their part of the road. Hence, my exercise was mostly via videotapes or various machines. I would set a timer for 5 minutes and promise myself that if I was hating it when it went off, I could quit. I never quit--by that time I was into it.

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    1. Peggy, so glad you've got a great form of exercise convenient again! The dog situation at your old place sounds so frustrating--and love the timer idea!

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  14. Beautiful pics!!! The cardio - OMG, I never look forward to it but do it... it is gym stuff so no way to make it pretty like yours BUT it is always a challenge & I feel somewhat accomplished when I get it done. :)

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  15. I try to get creative with my exercise (really I just focus on movement). I love to walk at Target. I don't know why, but if I can't get myself to do something else I do that. I have to want to do this for life, so it can't be absolute drudgery. I don't mean that there are days I don't want to get out of the house, but I just keep trying. I try to mix it up. I probably don't do enough, but I do more than I use to.

    Leslie
    www.weight4baby.com

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  16. I took a BAD ASS fall off a bike back in high school, so now... I do not ride bikes at all! LOL! I do love walking though, and it's very under-rated!!! It's probably one of the easiest and best exercises out there :)

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  17. I definitely love biking! Especially if the view is as gorgeous as above! But sometimes, the lazy me just wants to crawl up in bed, watch tv or read a book. Oh well, I think I just need some motivation! Or a biking buddy perhaps?

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  18. Love the virtual bike ride - thanks! :) Totally with everyone on this and I am, in fact, the biggest/whiniest baby in the whole world about beginning a workout of any kind.

    And since I know beyond a doubt that I will feel better once I get going AND once it's over, I have to find a way to REMEMBER that it is worth all the agony of the first part to get over the hump. (Much like the turmoil and frustration involved in dealing with a hard to open bag of chips! Sweat and swear inducing - but, ultimately worth it.)

    Because your post and the replies provided inspiration, I now have a card by the door and one where I keep my work out togs that remind me!

    Another technique I have used before (and the cards will remind me to do again, so thanks!) is imagining myself as the gritty heroine (yeah - again....) - the Olympic athlete in training.... working out in relative obscurity; head down; gutting it out in bad weather, torn clothes, beat up shoes, etc...because that's what needs to happen. The worse the conditions and the more I don't wanna - the better this can work!
    So, thanks everyone for the inspiration! This is a tough thing. Happens to all of us (I think).

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  19. Cranky, your ride looks great to me! This is the sort of thing I can real get into. I love to go for long bush walks and walks up steep hills or even mountains. The thrill of going somewhere new and away from traffic and the busy ways of civilization distract me from the chore at hand !

    Going alone gives me "my time" to escape from reality somewhat and get into my thoughts and sometimes solve problems that I otherwise would not get the time to consider rationally.

    Exercise for me is a lot more than a physical thing, its a form of complete therapy, mind,body & sole! You don't need to go crazy just find something you enjoy or can do without a great deal of thought but you benefit from. Your exercise can be as simple as walking to the shops!

    So enjoy it! You will benefit from it. Mark.
    www.skinnydreamteam.info

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  20. I would love to try biking to lose weight, and i love dancing too. Nice share!

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  21. I actually enjoy bike riding for a nice exercise, although I don't get a chance to do it often. I forget about it most of the times. Lol, thanks for the pleasant reminder!

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  22. I love biking. I enjoy biking. Everyday biking is the substitute of boring exercise. Thanks for nice sharing.

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  23. Hi Cranky :) ,
    I actually look forward to my workouts. For me it is a highlight of my day. When I head out the door to the gym I tell myself I'm going to have a great workout and I do. It's the days I miss getting in my workout that I dread. I guess the main reason is that I pick forms that I really enjoy and don't do ones I dislike.

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