My Facebook and Twitter feeds are constantly flooded with updates about going to the gym. Part of me feels like being a smart-ass and asking, “If you don’t post about going to the gym, did it not happen?” Personally, while these people are advertising to the world that they’re sweating in a public place around dozens of people, I’m likely on my couch watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother and eating straight from a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. Nobody really needs to know that.
Sure, it’s great that people work on their fitness. Personally, I would rather go out and do something fun that boosts my heart rate than go to the gym. Oh, and the process!
Here’s how I imagine a trip to the gym:
1) Update my status to encourage positive remarks and an ego boost.
2) Check in on Foursquare to notify everyone I am being healthier than they are.
3) Change my clothes in front of strangers in the locker room.
4) Hope I remember my lock combination code.
5) Proceed to avoid socializing with that creepy guy in the weight room who is trying to critique my stance.
6) Realize I need more water half-way through my 30 minute run on the treadmill, hit pause, and hope nobody stakes claim on my machine while I refill my bottle.
It’s mentally exhausting.
I went to sign up for yoga a few months ago. It was just a stone’s throw away from my place of employment, and I was excited about the $40 a month offer for unlimited classes. Now here’s a place I may actually go to! I did worry a bit beforehand that I’d run into people I knew, but I shook it off and rationalized that yoga is a calming, serene place. Nobody talks to each other during a yoga class, right? As soon as I entered the building, I see a familiar face: an ex-boyfriend’s mother; a mother who never liked me to begin with. Perfect.
I got some information and jetted out the door. This is exactly why I never put myself in these dangerous situations of running into people I know when I am in a vulnerable state, such as in the downward dog or trying to finish the last five minutes on the elliptical.
So, if you’re like me and have a strong aversion to process of going to the gym, here are a few options that tide me over and prevent weight gain despite my mass consumption of popcorn and food truck grub.
• Park far away or get off the bus a few stops early. Draw out every day errands by using those legs to get from point A to point B. Don’t be that person who waits for 10 minutes in a parking lot for a spot closer to the store. Walk. I also used to have a bus stop right in front of my house, but I took the bus that was four blocks away simply for the morning stroll. I walked an average of 3 miles a day!
• Use your bike. Biking everywhere is an extremely quick way to get in shape. I’d much rather take a nice cruise than be surrounded by other people in a gym riding a bike that doesn’t go anywhere.
• Old Fashioned Running. I will never claim to be a good runner. I perfect the walk-jog and last for about a mile or two. I will say, though, that getting outside feels so much better than running on a treadmill and watching a television without being able to change the channel.
• Ice skating. A winter favorite! The last time I went ice skating I felt it in my legs for days… so I must have been doing it right. Something is so romantic about ice skating in the evening, and I am not even a romantic.
• Take the stairs. I’m continually shocked when I get into an elevator and someone uses it to get to the second or third floor. Really? Unless you’re hauling something large or bringing in groceries, does it really hurt you to walk up a couple of flights? No wonder America is struggling with obesity.
• Swimming. The beach, the pool; whatever your preference. Community civic centers have pools if you’re not afraid of swimming in pee water a la Ryan Lochte.
• Use weights. You know you love laying around like a slug watching sitcoms. Take the guilt out of being lazy by picking up the weights while you’re watching movies or TV. Hell, bring the hand weights to work. I know most of you probably sit at your desk doing nothing half of the day, anyway.
If you’re still not convinced there are alternatives to public sweating and calorie burning, I recommend a membership at a gym like Planet Fitness, which will put you out a mere $10 a month and feed you pizza. Yes, pizza. Talk about being counterproductive. Nevertheless, if you have a hard time committing to a work out facility like I do, try one that won’t break your bank account and will load you up with carbs. Just be sure you bike there or get off the bus a few stops early.