On Monday I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to go to the gym.
If you had told me a few years ago that I would be doing this I would have laughed right in your face. My mom gets up at 4:45 to go to some crack of dawn yoga class and I still think she’s crazy. I guess it kind of helps that I share a car so my gym time is limited by my car time and willingness to spend extra gas, and the fact that I’m a person who actually does okay when I MAKE myself wake up early, but I did it and that’s what ultimately matters.
My problem with most fitness “inspo” (ugh isn’t that such a gross word) is that a lot of programs, guides, and so on like to throw you in cold turkey and say “you can do it!” but if you’ve never done things like this before it actually kind of Sucks. My roommate recently shared this article of a blogger who decided to eat like Bella Hadid for a week, but she went into it knowing she hated vegetables and tried to go all at once to raw, unsalted veggies and, man, that’s just hard. And it Sucks. You gotta have time to adjust.
Here’s the thing: I am, for someone who likes to be On The Go a lot, kind of a lazy ass. And you’re probably a lazy ass too. It’s fine. We’re human. We like pizza and loafing. That’s completely normal.
I am not here to tell you I lost a gazillion pounds or some secret to how to be motivated!!!! To do the thing!!! But I did want to share on this, the nineteenth day of the year, how I started getting my lazy ass to the gym and how to make it easy. Really easy. Not like “run a mile on your first day!!” easy, but actual “you won’t die from this” easy. Because I am completely astonished at what my body is capable of and I think you can be too.
Also, don’t feel like you need to wait until the first of the year to start something new. You didn’t miss your chance, and you can start whenever. You can read this and then start in a month. It’s cool. I support your choices.
1. Find a cheap ass gym for your broke ass self (or get familiar with your surroundings.)
I go to Planet Fitness. A lot of People Who Know About Working Out will tell you this is a shitty gym. Ignore these people. Planet Fitness is real damn cheap, it has a yearly fee of somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 but is otherwise just $10 a month. That is the cost of a little less than two combo meals at McDonald’s, or half a meal with no drink at Panera. By paying for this instead of going to McDonald’s twice, you are already helping yourself. If you can’t get to a cheap ass gym, find a friend with a treadmill or just find a nice path in your neighborhood to walk around in. That path might be from your bedroom to the kitchen. It’s fine. You’ll make it work. You’re going to make a plan and fail to stick to it anyway. This is also fine. You’ll also wanna get an app for your phone that tracks steps, I use Samsung and love their SHealth app. You don’t need a $50 fitbit to get started (though they are very cool, and you might want one later.)
2. Get some clothes that make you feel and look like a bad ass.
Popular fitness bloggers will tell you that you can work out in whatever you damn well please. They are wrong. Listen, just like putting on your favorite outfit gives you confidence for the day, putting on clothes you WANT to work out in can change your entire attitude about it. This might be your favorite lazy sweatpants and a t-shirt. This might be a $200 matchy-matchy Victoria’s Secret ensemble. That is up to you. If you don’t like how you look now, you aren’t gonna feel good about going in front of people to improve yourself. That’s just a fact. Find something that makes you feel like you’re a bad ass Olympian training for Tokyo and/or Milan fashion week and get out there and look good and feel good.
3. Start out as slow as you damn well please.
Look, if you can’t walk even a half mile in your first try, that’s okay. Whatever you do, you’ll have done it. Walking 500 steps with the intent of “working out” is still 500 steps more than you would have done yesterday. Tomorrow try to do better than the day before, or do less and try to push yourself only on the alternating days. A year ago I couldn’t walk a mile in a half hour if my life depended on it and a few days ago I did a mile on the elliptical in twelve freakin minutes. That was awesome. I also would have never gotten there without that first day where I did less than a quarter mile on the elliptical in five minutes and decided it was the worst thing ever and that I would sooner die than continue to exercise. You have to start. It doesn’t matter how slow you start, you just have to start. Do a lap around your coffee table. Do two laps tomorrow. Count your steps while you clean the house and try to match that the next day while you have nothing to do. I believe in you. Really! This isn’t just bullshit blogger talk. I really believe in you. If you don’t or can’t walk, find a thing that makes you feel like you’re exercising a little more than usual. Lifting a can of beans a little bit like a weight. Do that 10 times today and 15 times tomorrow. Progress is progress and your progress is awesome.
4. Eat some stuff that isn’t junk.
Please note that I said SOME stuff. If you order pizza four times a week please don’t stop on my account. Part of this whole thing is giving your body food that helps you work out, so if you only give it pizza it’s gonna both freak out and make this harder for you. Swap out a soda for water one day a week, keep some fruit cups in your fridge, buy some goldfish crackers (did you know you can eat like a thousand of these before you even hit 100 calories?) and eat a banana once in awhile. It’s also important to find food that YOU want to eat. Not all non-crap food was created equal and some of it you are going to hate, so don’t discount everything green because you had two bites of broccoli when you were a kid and it made you barf. Remember that article I linked before? If you can’t tolerate unseasoned veggies, throw some salt on there. It won’t kill you. (I mean, unless you’re a snail, or something. I guess you could be. I don’t judge.) If you like the non-junk food you’re eating, you’ll wanna eat more of it and less of the other crap.
5. Keep exploring and keep shaking things up.
While I enjoy the occasional monotonous task, I understand that working out can be boring. Especially if you do it at home and the only thing you have to do is that coffee table lap we talked about earlier. I think it’s important to keep looking for new ways to work out and keep yourself entertained. Don’t feel like you need to pay $50 for some app or video service, either; there’s a ton of really great YouTube videos out there that have amazing tutorials and ideas for keeping things fresh and challenging yourself. You can also find household objects you have around (I love 1 gallon water jugs) and google “workout with [object]” and there will be tons of stuff you can do. The important thing is to find a way to make it fun. As someone who has taken up fencing, I really liked watching this video for new ideas to train at the gym as a fencer. I also like watching the folks at Build Yourself since I’m trying to learn Romanian, because their instructions are easy to follow and I get a chance to practice my linguistic listening skills.
Obviously working out and getting “fit” is a personal journey for everyone, and some of these things might not work for you. There are many reasons why, but I hope at nothing else you’ll feel hope in the fact that someone as lazy as me can get up and start doing this stuff and that maybe you can too. If you want to feel better about your physical activity or, like me, just wanted to be less winded while climbing the stairs from the kitchen to your bedroom, these are some easy places to start and I hope you find them useful too.
If you have any further suggestions or ideas I’d love to hear them, feel free to pop into the comments to let us know how you got started and how you find the motivation to keep going! I’d genuinely love to find out more about how other people are doing, because my streak of enthusiasm has got to wear out sometime and I’d love to know how to keep it rolling.
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