Health & Fitness.

I Truly Despise Exercise

During any of my periods of fitness in my life – whether it be training for a distance race or getting thin for my wedding –  I’ve never been able to fully embrace exercise.

(SIDENOTE: Exercise is one of those words I never EVER spell correctly. I always have to see the red squiggly line and correct it. But just then? In that paragraph above? ALL ME, BABY. I didn’t type exc- like I normally do. Next up? TUESDAY. Which I always type teu- on instinct.)

You always read all of these articles from people who are fit – especially people newly fit – who talk about how much better they feel when they exercise. More energy! Better moods! They get cranky on days they skip! But me? I never really felt any of that. I never had that extra energy. I usually was too busy dreading the next run/workout to enjoy any mood benefit. And on the days I skipped? PURE JOY.

This is what I refer to when I say I really DO hate exercise.

Now – on the other hand – when I did long runs? I did at least enjoy the weird quiet that occurred in my mind and allowed me to think about things I never had time to think about otherwise. The blog entries I’d write in my head on a run – always brilliant, of course.

But the other stuff? I just never felt that. I’ve been thinking about that this week as I’m back in a program. I’ve joined a 4-week boot camp for women that meets every day at 5:30am, M-F. It’s a little pricey for our budget, but since Donnie spent a chunk on his training/gear for the triathlon; we decided it was fair I could take a class or two to try to get back in shape.

I’ve done it for two days now and I remember why I hate working out: It makes me feel like ass. I mean – don’t get me wrong – I’m glad I’m doing it. I need some tone and some strength in areas long forgotten. But do I feel better in general? No. I’m hurting and I’m tired and I’m grumpy because I have to do it again tomorrow. This is why I tell people I’m inherently lazy – I think my body is actually happier when I’m sitting on my ass.

Therefore – this becomes all about the mental to me. I have to force myself to go because I know I should go. But in reality? No matter how long I’ve ever stuck to a workout program? I never feel better. I might be happy I lose weight or look better and that gives me motivation to stick with it.  But the boost of energy people talk about when they exercise? I never get it. That dependence on exercise that develops? Well – I’ve stuck to programs for almost an entire year and never ever got to the point where I would be cranky to skip a day. Deep down? I just hate exercise.

So. I’m doing it. I don’t want to be. I hate it. But I’m doing it. I feel like crap. I’m worn out. I am craving Saturday when I finally get a day off. But I’m doing it. And I know even 4 weeks from now, I’ll still feel like crap. I’ll still have to force myself grumpily out of bed for class and if I find something else to do in 4-weeks I’ll have to grumpily do that, too. Because my body never seems to be happy when I’m fit. My body and mind prefer me to sit on my butt watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Well, that’s enough moaning. I have to leave for another class in 15 minutes. I KNOW THIS IS GOOD FOR ME. I just have to keep telling myself that over and over again. Because deep down inside? I always hate it. No matter what form the exercise takes (I’ve done them all) I hate it. I hate being stiff or sore or tired. I hate spending an hour doing something that makes me grumpy when I could be sitting on the couch watching last night’s NCIS: LA. (What?) But I do it. HORRIBLY GRUDGINGLY AND BITTERLY. Because I have weight to lose. I need to be stronger. It’s what everyone says a healthy person should do: Exercise. I want to be a good example for my kids. I want them not to hate it. So I go. And maybe feel a tiny bit proud when it’s all done.


28 thoughts on “I Truly Despise Exercise”

  1. We got a trampoline at the weekend and I’ve been wanting one for ages – I went outside on Sunday and was out there for ages and Monday I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I dragged my butt out there on Monday had a bounce around and felt a little better (I had had a 3 hour nap in the afternoon so that may have helped too!) Yesterday the day just didn’t work for me and it was dark by the time someone was home to supervise (long story in itself lol). Today might be the same issue.

  2. I despise exercise too. I only go to the gym to justify the expense of the gym — while I hate exercise, I hate paying the gym $100/month for nothing even more.

  3. I swear to God, the next person that tells me I just have to keep at it, I am going to… I don’t know, sit on. I have worked out regularly for about 9 months at a time off and on and I NEVER feel better. I always feel worse and more tired and FATIGUED – yes, in all caps. Muscle fatigue and general fatigue and please just let me nap and watch tv and knit or read. Also, exercise makes me binge eat. Even yoga. No, I can’t figure out why. But I find it impossible to control my eating when I exercise. So for now, I only do things like go for walks with the dog when I feel like it (almost never). I honestly thought I was the only one that didn’t get the exercise “high” and energy.

  4. I’ll join the “I hate it too” club. I despise everything about exercise. Most of all, I hate to sweat. I know, it’s good and removes toxins – blah, blah blah. But I can sweat at the sight of the sun, then my face turns bright red and I look horrid. Hate. it. Maybe if I felt I looked better when working out, I’d do it more often. LOL!

  5. You don’t know how relieved I am that there are other people out there who HAAAATE it. I sweat easily (which I hate), that exercise shit hurts, dammit, and I’m beginning to suspect that I don’t actually have any of these so-called endorphins in my body. My mom claims exercise will “give me energy,” but that’s just crazy talk.,

  6. Damn, girl! You have class at 5:30 in the morning, and you are a) writing a blog entry, and b) still have 15 minutes before you have to leave?! That’s impressive. Especially being up that early to EXERCISE. Especially since you HATE IT. I need to take a page from your book.
    ps. i always have trouble spelling exercise. i’ve got tuesday down, but niece gives me headaches. i before e never came easy for me.

  7. Sign me up for hate it. The only thing I feel on days I don’t do it is guilt for not doing it. I get no happy feelings when I do it except maybe a little smug feeling because it is done for the day.

  8. When I was in high school, I did track (which I LOVED) and cross-country (which I HATED, but loved that it got me into shape for track season) I learned years ago that I do not enjoy running and think training and running a marathon would be the most boring use of my time EVER. I can handle a 5k, but anything longer would kill me from the boredom.

    After years of hating exercise, I finally realized that I have to do what I LIKE or I will not do it. What works for me is the elliptical, with my iPod and in front of a news program. It is the only way that I don’t self-combust from the boredom. I combine walking/jogging/wogging around the track to mix things up so I don’t get burned out. I also enjoy power yoga/pilates and weights.

    Also, I LOVE my gym – I love the people, the environment – we try to make it an activity and usually take some time to enjoy a snack (healthy!) in the cafe area. My kids like the gym, too.

    Now, I am at that weird point you described – I get cranky if I don’t work out, some days I have been desperate to work out. This has only been for the past year and frankly, I am still amazed that *I* of all people crave exercise – it took me a long, long time to get to this point.

    But here is the key point of my long-winded hijack of your comments:
    What worked and what ONLY worked, was finding something I ENJOYED. Damn, Kim – life is too short to not LIKE it.

    I don’t say all these things assuming that anyone else should do these things, too. I say that everyone needs to find out what works for them, find what they ENJOY. For example, you really seem to enjoy walking and hiking around in nature. I have never, ever heard you complain about that.

    I am going to stop here, before I get all lecture-like. But really, I just don’t think you have found what you enjoy.

  9. Also hate it. I recently started again because my doctor swore it would make me less tired, etc. Wrong. I’m more tired than ever. The only reason I go is because there is free childcare and sometimes exercising requires less energy than caring for my rambunctious three year old.

  10. I don’t look forward to it. I don’t enjoy it while I’m doing it (save for the dancing around to Glee in my living room). I do feel better when I’m done and back on the couch but that’s mostly because I love laying on the couch 🙂

    Joining the well done you camp for going at 530 every morning. Hats off.

  11. Do you like roller skating? You should try roller derby. I joined a roller derby league last year and lost 10 lbs very quickly. It helps that our coach is a cop with the derby name Phil the Pain. It’s a lot of fun!

    I believe you live in Alabama, correct?

  12. I agree with Cagey, you have to find what you enjoy doing so you want to keep going back. I try to run 3 miles most every day and what I enjoy most is that mind clearing aspect you mentioned. Are you sure you couldn’t get to that point with a shorter run?

  13. Well, if it is M-F, now you can look forward to Fridays again, right? (Maybe? sort of?)

    I have a yoga dvd that came weeks ago and I haven’t even opened it yet. I keep using the “recovering from childbirth” excuse, but my baby is nearly three months old. I’ve GOT to do something soon though, I refuse to buy new jeans and there is no way I’m going to fit into the ones I have with these thighs and this belly.

  14. i love you so frickin much! i am of the opinion that you don’t feel energized and great after exercise b/c it’s nearly impossible to be more motivated than you are already. you’re like a dang hummingbird! it’s like your body produces as much caffeine as is in a pot of coffee every 6 hours. you have two speeds – stop and go. i remember a time when i was a tiny bit like that, so exercise would do the trick for me and give me that extra boost. but i’m too lazy to care. 😉 i’m going to have to force myself to do something now that i’m not smoking and eating everything in sight. another conversation for later though!

  15. I am in the “love” exercise camp, although I do go through periods where I feel very lazy and when I’m training for a big race (like right now) it’s sometimes like pulling teeth to get me out to run. Makes me tired~! Boo.
    I agree with others here–it sounds like you’re doing really intense stuff that you’re not enjoying. What about something else–walking while listening to Harry Potter–yoga while listening to books on tape, etc.–that you would really enjoy? Because I’m definitely not from the you-must-sweat-and-feel-like-puking camp for any benefit.

  16. God, I am EXACTLY the same way. I hate every minute of it. I’ve tried everything, too…I hide the clock on the treadmill so I can’t see how little time has elapsed. I alternate exercise activities to keep from being bored.

    When really, all it amounts to is that I HATE IT. Would rather be reading. Or facebooking. Or walking on a bed of fiery hot nails.

  17. Add me to the club. I get so SO tired of people telling me to just keep at it and eventually I’ll feel better. No. That doesn’t work for me. I feel miserable all the time. I tried doing the Couch to 5K program, and I felt like puking every single time. My body just hates exercise. I’ve decided I’m just going to eat better and if I lose weight, great! If not, than this is just the size I’m going to be. I’d rather be overweight and happy than skinny and miserable.

  18. Cagey said it so well! I like certain kinds of exercise (swimming, yoga, dancing, canoeing, aerobic step…) but despise others (like running). I’m a klutz, so anything that requires me to learn a new physical skill is HARD, and doing something you’re not good at is not much fun. So I can relate to hating SOME kinds of exercise, but I find it difficult to believe that you’ve actually tried and hate ALL forms of exercise. There are just so many different ways to work out. Like Cagey says, the key is to find something you enjoy (and listening to music can make a lot of marginal activities much more bearable if the things you like most are too expensive or inaccessible). When you find a form of exercise you enjoy — keep looking! — then it’s fun and you look forward to it, and it’s much easier to keep up the habit. 🙂 Hiking or walking the dog counts. So does frisbee golf, or shooting hoops with your kids, gardening, even housework (depending on what it is).

    Bravo for you for signing up for a class that early in the morning!

    One thing I’ve found that isn’t really fun while I’m doing it, but I like because it’s very effective and SHORT is T-Tapp. It’s kinda like isometrics (they call it “compound comprehensive muscle movement”), and can be done in 15-20 minutes (so if you “hate” exercise, at least it’s over with in less time!).

    And yeah, don’t be so hard on yourself. A lot of exercise haters wouldn’t do all the things you’ve done.

  19. I’m right there with you…mostly. I ran nearly every day for 4 years while in the air force. Luckily, I did experience 2 good runs where I felt great afterward…but that was it.
    The only exercise I’ve ever done that consistently makes me feel awesome is yoga.

    But props to you, Zoot- you’re doing something for your health and that’s something to be proud of!

  20. Hey Kim,

    Got any interest in ice hockey? Thursday nights 8-10. No prior experience necessary. We could probably borrow some equipment to get you started. I only ask because it’s fun and nothing at all like that evil, diffiult to spell E word…

  21. Sorry dude, I’m one of those freaks who LOVES exercise. Before I had kids going to the gym was recreation, and now it’s a luxury.

    For what it’s worth, before I discovered the gym I thought I hated exercise, because to me it was synonymous (did I spell that right?) with “taking part in sports”. Once I found out I could exercise without the sport aspect? LOVE IT!!! So maybe the key is finding out what kind of physical activity floats your boat? I have friends that adore volleyball, soccer, fencing, rowing, wall-climbing… maybe give some new activities a whirl?

  22. Haha I definitely feel ya, Kim! Right now I have a walking buddy, so that definitely makes it easier. But I just can’t conceive of a point where I actually ENJOY exercise. At least not something as h-core as boot camp. (I totally typed boob instead of boot the first time. My inner 12yo is giggling.)

  23. Oh my gosh, I absolutely hate working out. I hate it. ANYTIME if given the choice to walk around or watch TV/read a book? I’m sitting. But when I went on Weight Watchers the first time (before my recent pregnancy), I knew that I HAD to start exercising and I did it. I started doing Zumba classes, which are good for me because the time goes by fast and you don’t think about it. I’m back on WW now and forcing myself to do couch to 5k and also doing the 30 day shred video. It’s hard but it’s only 20 minutes and I can deal with that. If I have to…

  24. zumba! I also despise exercise but i bought the zumba dvds and do it in my loung room its so much fun especially with a group of the girls. It doesn’t even feel like exercise but i can defiantly see and feel the difference. Best part about it too? You don’t have to feel like the unfit clutz next to the extremely athletic girl on the treadmill in the gym while worrying people are staring at your wobbling backside and thighs!

  25. Hello there! I typed in the words “I despise working out” into google, and that’s how I ended up at your blog, haha. And let me tell you, I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE.

    I loathe, hate, despise, working out with the fiery passion of a billion raging suns. I’m 23, and I’ve always been a little thicker, but never overweight until recently. College parties have a way of helping you pack on those fun extra pounds. So I am desperately trying to find some method of working out that I can be consistent with.

    I completely relate with everything you said you feel when you work out. It doesn’t make me feel good, doesn’t really give me energy, and the only that gets me through it is repeatedly telling myself that I’ll get to eat a few tasty boiled eggs afterwards.

    Do you possibly have any advice for me? Something that’s kept you going despite the loathing you feel for exercise? Because the thought of having to exercise consistently for the rest of my life to keep from being fat makes me want to repeatedly bang my head against the wall, and then take a nap.

    Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic, haha. But seriously, any advice would be wonderful. Thank you, glad to know I have kindred spirits out there! 🙂


  26. Elisa –

    WOW. It’s so funny you found this entry now b/c I’m FINALLY in a good “fitness” place in my life. After gym memberships, running for races, DVDs and gimmicks from home, I finally found something I like! It’s a boot camp in my town. This guy is really funny and makes fun of himself, so he’s not at all intimidating, and every workout is different. It has actually made me learn to LIKE exercise a little bit, if you can believe it! I really do. I go five days a week and only miss if I feel like my body is telling me sleep is more important 🙂

    My best advice? Don’t give up! Try something new every week. If you hate it? Don’t try it again. If you think, “Eh…maybe?” then give it one or two more tries. I didn’t think I’d like group classes, but it turns out I do! Or at least, this group! It’s a huge variety of ages and sizes. I have a few friends that LOVE Zumba and I may give that a try next, but my boot camp will be my staple I think from now on! I love it.

    Just keep trying things and hopefully you’ll find something that you DO like. I feel like if I can do it? ANYONE can!

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