Confessions Of An Exercise Hater

I have a confession.

I have written about this before, but every time I write it -- let alone every time I say it -- it falls on deaf or disbelieving ears. But here goes, because, you know, you guys haven't yelled at me in a while:

I do not like walking.

I know, I know. WHO doesn't like walking? That's just crazy. It's just...walking. 

Not liking walking is akin to telling people in California that you don't like avocados, which I don't, so essentially if there's ever a basic-tenets-of-health conversation around these parts and people find out I like neither avocados nor walking, they think I should sent to a lab. Or at least banished from the Bay Area.

But I don't.  I don't like walking.  I find it incredibly boring.  I do not take pleasure in the simplicity of being outside and breathing outside air.  I do not enjoy the incredibly slow burn of walking, even though I know it can melt away fat because it elevates your heart-rate just so.  Even with music, even with books on tape (mp3), I still don't like it.

Now. You do not need to barrage me with all the reasons that walking is beneficial to one's health. I'm a millionteen hundred pounds overweight and yet I am surprisingly well versed in all the things I could do to not be so.

Last year, when I was super pregnant and eager to have Eve join us on the outside, a great many of you insisted I go for walks every day.  I recognized this suggestion to be a good one, and yet I did not partake. Because I already hated walking enough.  I have never really enjoyed "going for a walk" in my life; when you add my being overweight, I enjoy it even less. When you add my being overweight AND being pregnant AND Napa being 90+ degrees, "take a long walk each day" may as well be a suggestion to set myself on fire.

My first question is: am I the only one who hates going for walks? I can't be, and yet I have never found solidarity on this point. Everyone -- including my husband -- thinks I'm nuts.

Next, I want you to know that I bring this up because I need to get back into exercising.  And since I don't like walking, I have to find other things to do.

Or, let's say this another way, so you don't think I'm under any delusions:

I don't really like exercising. 

I don't know where my deep-seated dislike comes from, but it's there. Does that mean I'm lazy? No. I would never, ever, ever in a scrillion years cop to being lazy. I'm not lazy. I am incredibly busy and industrious. I just don't use my busy industriousness physically.

Except, I know. I have to.

So...what to do?

For one thing, I know that the less I weigh, the easier it is to work out. So that's sort of motivational. (It's also sort of really sucky, though, because working out is hard for me right now. Granted, it's loads easier than it was 10, 20, and 30 pounds ago, but still. Sucky.)

(Also? Let me just state for the record: if you've never really been overweight, you have NO idea how awful "exercise" can be. I'm not using this as an excuse, I'm just saying that it's an extra impediment to being motivated.)

Anyway. The truth of the matter is that something's gotta give. I have to find something I can and will do with regularity, which means finding something I don't hate.

Walking is out.

I like swimming. But, sad though this is, the "old people soup" classes were extremely time-consuming and not intense enough. Granted, any exercise is better than no exercise, but water aerobics are just not my long-term solution.

I am also not in good enough shape to take a regular master swim class. I have the technical ability to swim at the master level. I do not have the physical stamina to do it yet, though.

I have never taken spin. Should I try this?

I tried to take a Zumba class a couple weeks ago, except when I got there, the class had been changed at the last-minute to be HIP HOP.  (Yes. Hip hop. I took a hip hop class. OMG. You can imagine THAT blog post is in the works.)

Will I like Zumba? Should I bother trying it?

I mean, I guess I can just do what I did in college: my own thing. I would just stick to myself and show up at random times and do random cardio and random weights and occasionally swim a few laps and that worked fine. I didn't feel the pressure of being in a class. I didn't have a routine. And I didn't get bored. I just got in, got it done, got out.

There is something to be said for hopping on an elliptical machine where I can listen to my music, look at a magazine and watch tv on silent mode, all while being able to spy on Eve in the childcare room.

You just can't do that while walking. And yeah, to the many of you are all, "But walking clears my mind!" I say, "That's what showers are for!"

So for those of you who hate working out: what do YOU do?


  1. Bikram Yoga. Burns a ton (700-900) calories per class (90 minutes).

    I hate being hot and sweaty, but I have been doing Bikram for four months and I love it.

    I've lost almost 9% of my body weight without changing my eating habits, much. (personal results may vary)

    I totally recommend it!

  2. I'm with you, I hate regular exercise. I joined a soccer team for a while, that was fun. And it was a great motivator to run on my own time (which I hate) for the simple fact that I wanted to stay in the game more.

    Tennis is fun too but it sucks to have to rely on having a partner, not fun for a mom on a schedule I'm sure.

    Since I stopped playing soccer, I've been thinking about something interesting/functional like martial arts or kickboxing. I like the idea of toughening up, not making calorie-burn the focus, working out while learning to defend myself. You'd certainly be a kick-ass role model for little Eve if she knew you could break a brick with your face. She, also, would be more inclined to stick to her curfew- just a thought.

  3. "I'm a millionteen hundred pounds overweight and yet I am surprisingly well versed in all the things I could do to not be so."

    Oh, the peculiar oxymorons of being overweight. We so totally know exactly how to get and be thin, it's just the actual doing so that seems so frustratingly perplexing.

    I hate walking, too. Except that, with the right music (which I have in abundance), I really enjoy it. But there's just that aura of hate around it that makes it hard for me to get started. The funny thing? I want to run. I know, right?

    My suggestion? Yoga. Find a beginner's class until you feel like comfortable with it and then take mixed levels classes. You're not all jumping around like a loon, but it's a good workout, it's great for your body, in general, and you will sweat and feel it later. Of course, I just love it, so I may be a bit biased.

    Also? I totally feel you on the EWF (exercising while fat) thing. So. Awful. And those teeny little personal trainers? No. Clue.


  4. The only exercise I actually do enjoy is yoga.

    However, I am planning on starting the Couch to 5k program and I think I can actually do it thanks to a conversation I had with Bossy. She said that she runs every day for about a half hour and hates every minute of it. Then she goes home, showers, and by the time she's ready to start her day, she feels good that she exercised.

    The idea that you might never stop hating running was a revelation for me. I always thought I would eventually enjoy it, but once someone told me that I might hate it forever, it actually made me more inclined to want to do it.

  5. I can't really relate to not liking walking but I get the aversion to certain forms of exercise so I have two (non-judgmental) thoughts: 1) I second yoga though it doesn't have to be Bikram - just find one where you like the instructor and it goes through continuous movements for about 90 minutes; 2) all my life I totally hated running. HATED it. About a year ago I inexplicably decided to try it with the couch to 5k program (google it if interested). A year later I have done 3 5ks and a 10k and am doing a crazy relay race in 4 weeks. It isn't for everyone and I'm not sharing this to say you should run, I'm just saying that I get the absolute hatred and I learned to like it (although I always hate the first 5-10 minutes and sometimes the entire time I am running, I just like the feeling when it is over). It helped me to have goals and a gadget - the nikeplus thing that tracks all your mileage and everything is oddly motivating for me.
    Okay, one more comment even though this is already long. Try the spin class but be forewarned that it is HARD and your butt will hurt in ways you never thought possible. The seat is ridiculous.
    Good luck finding something that works for you!

  6. I've done periods of "my own thing" before too, and I like it because if something is annoying or boring, I just move on. If I want to try something new, I try something new.
    I don't like walking to nowhere, but I do like walking when it's functional and I'm walking to a place I want to go. This is probably not going to work for you, with the baby and stuff, but I wouldn't mind for example walking around a zoo once a week with the baby. If there's a zoo near where you live.

  7. I would recommend swimming laps on your own. It can be as intense or as leisurely as you need it to be, or you can alternate laps between swimming and using a kickboard (the kickboard allowing you to catch your breath again).

  8. I've done the Couch to 5K thing that's mentioned above with a good amount of success (and I still hate running too! Mostly because of my asthma).

    Right now I'm doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, which I like because you push it for 20 minutes and done. I do it every day and her longer videos (40 mins) on the weekends. I feel like I can do anything for 20 mins and by the time I'm ready to whine, I'm done. I also like that it's cardio, weights, and abs so it's hitting more than one area/need.

  9. There are always long lines of people at my gym waiting to get into the zumba classes. I have no idea if they're good though. I think you'd like it if you like dancing.

    My preference is for the kickboxing/tae bo classes. They're really fast-paced, but the instructors encourage beginners to go at their own speed until they are comfortable with the moves. Really good workout though. And definitely my way of releasing any aggression I have from a tough day.

    Spin is *hard*. I'm in relatively good shape and the few times I've gone, I've been sore for days. It's worth a try -- some people find it really fun -- but don't be discouraged if it's not your thing.

    What works for me is scheduling days/time to go to the gym, but I don't hold myself to a set routine. So, I go for an hour on Wednesdays, but if I'm not up for a class, I can do cardio on my own or something. Or if a yoga class doesn't wear me out, I'll do some weight training after.

    Ditto to everyone recommending yoga. And I also did the couch to 5k program and trained for a half marathon. The program's good, but I still hate running. There are so many other things you can do that you might find fun, so do that instead! :)

  10. I hate exercising, too. So don't exercise, just be more active.

    I love taking a STROLL every week with a is a VISIT, not exercise. I also like riding my bike to the's not exercising, it's saving gas. I also like jogging, it's not exercising, it's getting me around the park and walking the dog. Jogging is MUCH easier than walking and you get the non-exercise out of the way faster. Jog a mile a day (15 minute mile, a little faster than walking). That's only 20 minutes tops, you can not exercise for 20 minutes a day, right? And this is so slow you can use a regular stroller and not get the fancy dancy one, but fast enough to get your heart rate up. I've done yoga to death and never enjoyed it (I can't quiet my mind, sorry folks). I don't really like any kind of scheduled exercise class, ugh. See, that's too much like...exercise!

    Don't exercise, just be more active. I weigh 220 pounds and am 5'7"...believe me, you can jog.

    LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!!

  11. You will think I'm crazy but I'm just going to say it because I totally relate to everything you're saying so maybe what has worked for me will work for you. I finally jumped on the Jillian Michaels bandwagon. You can get her videos free on on most cable providers. If not, they're pretty cheap DVD's at Target. I like her because they're short in lenght and nothing too fancy. Her 30 day shred has good old fashioned jumping jacks and Yoga Meltdown is yoga that gives quick results and doesn't leave enough time for my mind to wander and get bored like regular yoga. I have seen results quickly which is motivtion to keep doing it and they are quick and short so I can fit them in anytime during the day. The best-I can do them at home so no one sees the fat jiggle and bounce. Good luck.

  12. I hate "exercising". It just seems pointless. I'm the type who would rather play a game of soccer than go to a gym. (and I would rather shoot myself in the eye than play soccer). But more than all of that, I HATEhateHATE being fat in the gym and working out. (The only reason I walk daily is to walk my dogs. Without them, I wouldn't wander around in my neighborhood.)

    So, here's what I do:

    I bought some minor equipment - yoga balls, weights, stepper - and once or twice a day I turn on the free(!!) OnDemand fitness things, pick the silliest one and go to town. Sometimes it's regular cardio, sometimes it's dance, buns, yoga, whatever. Whatever I feel like doing. I'm not embarrassed. I can work out in whatever I want to wear. There's no walls full of depressing mirrors. 30 minutes and I'm done.

    (PS - if she hates to walk, why do you people think she's going to jog???)

  13. Sigh. Yes. Exercise can just suck it.

    Yah yah yah, yoga can be goodly, but I do find that there can be some significant fatness impediments. Like if you've got big blobs of boobage and tum-tum. It's like trying to slow dance with a balloon in between you. I don't know about that analogy, because who does that? But anyway, with the yoga, you're supposed to get your legs all tucked up and close to your torso and other silly business, which is hard to do when you've got these blobs in between you and the other bits.

    I've found spinning to be good, because you control the resistance and nobody really knows what you're up to. If you're just not feeling it, you can turn down the resistance, but carry on tra-la-laing just like everyone else. It does make the undercarriage quite sore for the first few times and that kinda sucks. I don't know what happens after those first few times.... like you get callouses on your goodies? I don't know.

    As for couch to 5K... I've been doing that for 3 weeks now. And I don't love running. I hates it! And yet. I am hating and doing it all the same. It's structured to be gradually work you into it and I honestly think that anyone could do it. You may hate it the entire time, but I bet you wouldn't hate knowing, after 2 or 3 months, that you can properly jog or run a whole 5K.

    Good luck.
    Be brave.
    Be magnificent.

  14. Jogging sucks more than walking. I've done both. Full-out running is even worse. From what I've heard of spin, it's insanely difficult right at first. If you are easily discouraged, I would work on riding stationary bikes by yourself first until you feel like you can up the ante without either severe pain or a feeling of failure if you can't keep up with the insano pace they set.

    I AM one of these easily discouraged people, so I tend to avoid classes like they have tertiary syphilis.

    Honestly, after a bunch of thought about this, I don't even know. I hate exercise in pretty much all its forms too. /shrugs I dropped some weight a while back by exercising like a crazy person and eating this horrible diet and it worked but it SUCKED. I hated my life. And a little weight is not worth it to me.

    I guess this isn't very motivational, but it's at least true. Exercise does suck and you're right. I suppose we all just have to find something we can tolerate, if not enjoy.

  15. SO funny that you bring up swimming. I'm only 24 now, but the days in which I was a middle school swim team competitor are far behind me. If I tried to take a master swim class, I would be gasping for air and choking on chlorine, screaming "F-YOU MICHAEL PHELPS!" In fact, as I found last week when I ventured down to the basement of my gym where the pool is located, I can no longer swim the WARM-UP I used to as a teenager without wanting to die.

    BUT. I've been in the pool almost every day this week during the adult/open swim times. It takes a little more self-discipline than I would normally claim to have, especially lacking the iPod and little TV's I'm used to having during a workout. I don't pay attention to the time it takes me to swim a 50yd freestyle, but set small goals...for example, 4 laps freestyle, 4 laps breastroke, then a break. The only rigid rule I put into place when I began when I started was to remain in the pool, in motion, for 30 minutes. It doesn't matter if you're swimming you're ass off, kicking with a board, or bouncing up and down like the old people. I was surprised how quickly my endurance has started to increase. I started out taking frequent breaks on the wall, etc, but now find myself doing consistent laps (with one or two brief water breaks) for 40 minutes.

    Truthfully, I have no idea how many calories it burns, but I do know I can absolutely feel the results. Working out sucks, any way you slice it. Like you, I will never be one of those people who's like "God, I really wish I was working out instead of relaxing on my couch watching Las Vegas reruns". But, I'm finding the benefits of it (if only slightly) outweigh the suckiness.

  16. I hate working out too. Actually, when I am really into working out (you know, losing weight and being obssessed with it) I find that I actually only hate working out for the first 10 minutes or so, then I kind of like it for the next 30 to 40 minutes, and then I suddenly hate it again and am about to die.

    But right now I cannot get myself to endure those initial 10 minutes, so nothing is happening.

    When I do work out, I don't take classes. I do about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (my preference is for the treadmill, brisk walk speed, steep incline) then some weight machines. And then if I can force myself, some mat work on abs and stretching.

    I established this routine via a free one-time appointment with a trainer at the gym I joined. I found this most helpful in learning how to use the weight machines correctly, and really recommend taking advantage of this service, as most gyms offer it.

    The only thing I can say I actually LOVE is the weight machine where you recline and push a heavy thing with your feet. It works out all your major leg muscle groups and the butt at the same time and if I had room for one giant machine in my house, this would be the one. However, despite my love for this machine, I am not motivated enough to do the stupid 30 minutes on the treadmill to get my alone time with the butt machine.

  17. Oh how I DESPISE walking. Hated it as a kid, hated it when I was a young adult, and hate it now. You can call it a "stroll" or you can call it a walk, and I will still loathe it.

    I too have begun doing goofy little exercise things in the privacy of my own home -- I got an exercise ball, and a mini-trampoline. That mini-trampoline makes for a suprisingly decent cardio workout -- especially early on in the weight loss process.

    And? I just signed up for karate. My son goes, and I remembered how I always wanted to do it as a kid but my parents said no because it was "for boys." So now I'm going to learn how to kick someone's ass, ninja-style.

    Or not. I'll let you know how it goes.

  18. I hate working out, and now I have baby weight to lose. I love to swim, so I spend as much time in my parents' pool as possible. I used to do synchronized swimming, but was never really good at it. Still, I spend a lot of time treading in the deep end and dive down to the bottom. It's fun and burns calories.

  19. I absolutely hate aimless walking - but I can do it if some kind of "project" or goal is involved. Like walking to the store to get something or bringing my camera and looking for something to take pictures of, etc. I have to invent reasons to go for walks.
    Other than that I like pilates and yoga, but eventually I always turn to running because it's the fastest way to burn the most calories and I'd rather just get out there and get it over with. 25 minutes of running and you're done and you never have to wonder "How effective was that really?"

  20. I love swimming but the chlorine really hates my skin. But it is a great great workout. Just swimming laps. A lot of pools have an adult refresher course for swimming. Like, you know how to swim but maybe need a little instruction on getting comfortable in the pool for lap swims..

    Umm. what about a bike? Riding a bike always seems so much more fun to me than running. And even in the summer when it is hot you are generally creating a breeze going past.

    I play soccer 2 times a week, 90minute co-ed games. I find a team waiting for me to be really motivational. Lots of running in soccer. And I still can't finish the couch to 5k program. Might just be a mental block, but ugh... running... Also end up with shin splints anytime I try.

    I loved Jazzercise, which as I understand it is similar to the Zumba. I liked that you get lost in trying to remember the move and dance to the music. But it was a good workout.

  21. There are so many things out there that "count" as exercise; the challenge is finding something you enjoy enough to DO it, and to do it regularly enough that you get some benefit -- because even if you didn't need to lose weight, you'd still need to exercise to be healthy.

    I like yoga. I like swimming. I hate running, but I like walking. I know you've said you don't like walking, and I understand your reasoning so I'm not going to try to talk you into walking -- although I like the ideas the others have mentioned about walking with a purpose (i.e., to get somewhere) or walking with a girlfriend (something I used to do a lot of, and it was as much a mental refresher as it was exercise). I also like taking my camera out on walks, getting pictures of what I see. If you like taking pictures you could plan outings to parks, gardens, or even odd places where you could get pictures. For me it's as much about getting outside in the sunlight and fresh air. We have hot days here in Colorado ("but it's a dry heat"), but if walking in the heat isn't your thing, perhaps it's tolerable in the early(ish) morning or evening. Or maybe walking with Ish.

    I said I wasn't going to try to talk you into walking, so enough about walking. My point was only that perhaps there were some other variations you haven't tried that might be more tolerable. Because it's good for you and all that. :p

    I know nothing about Zumba. I've heard of it, but that's it. Will you like it? You won't know until you've tried. I think you need to keep trying things until you find something you like (or maybe a couple things so you don't get bored with just one). And when you're trying things, don't just do them once and base your judgment on that; give it at least 3 tries. Because sometimes part of the "I don't like it" is because you feel self-conscious or feel like you aren't good at it, don't know what you're doing or don't have the hang of it.

    There are so many kinds of dancing. Is there any kind you enjoy? Belly dancing? Salsa? Disco? Country line? I know you enjoy singing, so you must love music. You could play music in the privacy of your home and boogie down in whatever silly, awkward way you want. As long as you're moving, it counts as exercise.

    When you exercise in the privacy of your home you don't have to worry about how you look, what you're wearing, or whether or not you're doing it right or if others are judging you.

    Libraries are full of exercise videos you can check out, try, and return for free! I've only been to a few yoga classes, but I have a couple yoga videos I do regularly. Plus I can pause them to check on the laundry, go potty, etc. Hard to do that in a class. :)

    One final idea nobody has mentioned that's very effective and doesn't take long at all: T-Tapp! (you can google to find their website). They have some excellent 15-minute workouts, and while I wouldn't necessarily describe them as "fun," they go by so fast and are so effective. When you can see and feel results in just 15 minutes a day a few days a week, it makes you want to stick with it.

  22. Kristy - I like aqua jogging - yes it is as insane as it sounds. My gym's pool has a shallow end and sloped to a deep end so when I had a shoulder Injury I was all, uhh WTF, I can't swim now. So with the help of one of the "special" looking vests I took off and was "running" and not sweating and not damaging joints.

    I worked my way up to the point of "aggressively" walking through the shallow water (harder than you might think) then swimming the half length ot the end, pausing, swimming back to half-way then walking along the bottom back. It was really good for me. Good luck finding your thing!

    I have done spin classes too, they are not for the faint of heart but good b/c you really do move at your own pace.

  23. Do you like to dance, you will like Zumba. Even if you dont like to dance, you wil like Zumba.
    Go with a friend - if you dont manage the steps - are really easy - you will pee on your pants lauhghin!
    I laugh before, but now l love it (and l am not good at all!)

  24. I have a disability that makes walking difficult (I use a cane), and running and biking impossible. I had a bunch of weight to lose a few years ago and started out slowly on the treadmill -- UGH! walking to nowhere is worse than walking somewhere -- but what got me through was reading a book (or trashy tabloids) that I reserved only for the gym. I kept a log to see how the miles added up over time and that helped, but I got bored pretty quickly and needed something less monotonous to keep me moving.

    That's when I found weight training, which I'm surprised no one else has mentioned. No Nautilus machines for me, but actual free weights. THAT was my golden ticket to keeping me interested in exercising. I didn't get bored, because I wasn't endlessly doing one particular motion; I did a circuit, moving through a series of exercises during a single session. I'm a list maker, so I recorded my weights and reps, and over the weeks and months (and now years) and it was amazingly motivating to see them increase from light to HEAVY. What was even better was that I could actually see the changes in my body (even though I was still carrying an extra 40lbs of fat on my 5'1 frame). My shoulders squared off, so my bra straps didn't slide down anymore (woo hoo!) and the area where my waist would have been had I not been such a pudge appeared slimmer, I could see muscles in my arms, etc.

    I started out using the weight training plan in a book written for men, but now I use the plans in the book New Rules of Lifting for Women. I like how the writers insist that women CAN and SHOULD lift like men -- you won't "bulk up" and you create more metabolic bang for the time you spend in the gym when you lift heavier and harder. And that's just it: I didn't want to spend hours and hours walking to nowhere; I wanted to do something interesting and with intensity that didn't take forever yet had good results. For me, that was weight training. YMMV.

    Swimming is my primary form of cardio these days, and I also love it. Try wearing a snorkel when you are getting started. Not having to gasp for air by lifting your face out of the water makes it easier to slowly build your stamina.

  25. Don't exercise... yet.

    Hear me out. Diet has a much larger, much quicker effect on weight than exercise does. Of course exercise is good for our health in a myriad of ways. And the most important thing is probably finding ways of exercising that we enjoy doing for life. Or, of course, always finding new ways.

    What seems to predict how much and how often a person will exercise is not how much time they have or how deeply they believe in its benefits but simply how much they enjoy doing it.

    So just do what makes you feel good during and after.

    If you are substantially overweight (only going by what you've said!) of COURSE most exercise is uncomfortable. So I suggest you stick to the diet until you go down another x pounds, say when you're within 20 pounds of your goal. At that point exercise will feel MUCH better, AND you will see the results of toning in a way you won't as much when you're overweight.

    I am certain that many of you will disagree, but let's look at the big picture. You want to slim down and you want a long healthy life. You are already speeding toward these goals by addressing your weight through diet. Um, you also have a new baby. I don't think you need to pressure yourself to do everything at once.

    If you start an exercise program when you're lighter it will be easier and feel better, and then you'll have a better chance of looking forward to it and continuing for longer.

    Instead of it being a punishing regime...

  26. 1. I don't like walking either. I'll never understand why people think hiking is such a fun activity -- walking around in nature? WHY?

    2. I lost my job back in like 2008 or whever that dark period was and I signed up for bootcamp on a whim. I figured I needed to do something that would get me out of the house at a specific time so I didn't have the black cloud of "YOU MUST EXERCISE TODAY" hanging over my head all day long. The first week damn near killed my morbidly obese ass but HOT SPIT, over the course of a month I saw marked improvement in my muscle tone, core strength and endurance and I was SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

    I'd long had "run a mile without stopping" on my life list but I figured I was so fat, this was a crazy stretch maybe-if-I-lost-100-pounds goal, but after one month of bootcamp (where there really isn't any "long distance" running), I went from not being able to run half a lap to being able to run the whole damn mile without stopping.

    And now, I swear, I refuse to ever not be able to run a mile again.

    So...long story not short, I love what bootcamp did for my body and for my attitude. I've since moved out of SF and the south bay boot camp sessions are annoying so I'm a drop out, but I run every 5k I can find.

  27. I love walking, but I don't love other exercise. The only type of exercise I actually enjoy is strength-training with weight machines. This shocked me, but apparently it's fairly common for us heavier folk to enjoy (and stick to) strength training when cardio just does us in. For one thing, we carry around a lot of weight to begin with, so we've got some muscle under there. You don't get out of breath, which is the part of exercise I hate the most. And improvements come really, really quickly. You can tell, too, because you can move the weights up. To me, that sort of quick feedback is the best thing in the world. But you might have the problem I have - no room for a home gym and no time with a baby to get to a real gym.

    Oh, and recent research has found that there may be genetic relationships involved in whether you enjoy working out, how difficult exercise feels, how rewarding it feels, and so on.

  28. I hate to exercise too. Yep, hate it. I can think of a million things I'd rather spend an hour doing than walking or jogging or riding my bike.

    When I fell and broke my ankle three years ago; a friend recommended her personal trainer to help me get in shape. Because I realized that the way I was sweating and panting was not normal for a girl who just crutched from the car to the office.

    Here's the thing: I still hate exercise. I have a trainer who gets it. He spent his school life being the skinny kid who got picked on. He has a weakness for giant cookies from the coffee shop. He hates cardio. He has never jogged. The dude is built like a tank and totally gets that I hate to work out. He. Gets. IT. He's experienced enough to know when I can't do something and when I'm just whining. I respect his ability and knowledge enough to so stuff (like crunches while hanging by my arms) that I never would have tried.

    He isn't the trainer my friend recommended. That trainer was very nice but had played sports and been active her whole life. She didn't understand how my inability to jump rope brought me flashbacks to grade school gym where I was the last one picked because I sucked. She didn't understand wanting Chicken nuggets for lunch instead of just bringing some nice grilled veggies. Waffles were like a foreign cuisine to her.

    Having a personal trainer (he's only $35 a session) makes me go to the gym and not make excuses. He charges me even if I don't show - unless I can make it later in the week. We weigh in and he asks how much I've worked out since last week. It keeps me on track, he knows when I'm lying. It's the only time in my life I've been in this good of condition. I hate to run; but I can run now.

    For me, yoga and zumba were horrible and made me feel uncoordinated and fat and old. I don't like classes where I'm supposed to keep up with everyone else. Biking makes my butt hurt and wasn't any more fun than jogging; but I do it with my boyfriend on weekends. The $35 a week isn't cheap; however it's a great incentive to go.

    Also, when you lose weight exercise will be easier but you'll probably still hate it. My losing weight has not meant that I like exercise nor has it meant that I'm better at it. I can jog around the block; but I loathe hearing my trainer say that phrase.

    Good luck sweetie! You're on the right track with adding activity.

  29. Another vote for running and Couch to 5k. I've lost 40 pounds since I started it at the start of the year. Do I love running? No. But I fit all of the discomfort into 30 minutes 3 times a week, and it really is effective. Even easier because I don't need to drive to a gym, just toss the toddler in a jogging stroller and go.

    Now that I am in slightly better shape, I find that I am really enjoying bike rides with my family. Good time together, and I don't feel like an ass because I am huffing and puffing.

    Good Luck! I know first hand how hard it is.

  30. I haven't been over weight, but I am recovering from a nasty motorcycle accident. Three years out now and still gaining control of my muscles, range of motion and feeling.

    For me the exercise thing comes in fits and starts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's weeks with only a visit to the gym. My thoughts on getting exercise is find something that you feel comfortable doing; biking, swimming, or how about kayaking on a lake? I recently found that swing dancing is pretty fun, not out of my physical comfort zone, and I can take my husband with me and have a great time while burning a few calories.

    Walking...not so much.

    There's more than one way to lose weight and get in shape. Good luck!

  31. Funny that you don't like walking but you blog has walking in the title!

  32. My father also hates to walk. I love to walk, and love to bond with people by going for walks with them. My father will say, if you ask him to go for a walk with you, "I walked enough in Basic Training in the Army." Maybe you and my dad could sit on the couch and watch swimming together or something.

    What if you and the Mr. took the baby to the pool in the evenings? You could both play with her in the water and then he could give her little baby swim lessons while you did laps until you were tired. It's indoors, you're spending time with your people, and if you sweat you won't feel it because you'll be in the pool. You could even do your laps with the goal of getting up the stamina to join the master swim class in the fall.

    It sounds like you need either the structure of a class or a social obligation to another person. Another option that might work for you is having a work-out buddy. Maybe somebody else nearby also wants to work out and just needs someone to go to the gym with. You two could do circuit training or try out different classes together.

  33. I've never been overweight, but I have asthma and one of the best ways to keep it under control is to always be in decent shape. Only after I stopped playing team sports after high school it was much harder to get up the motivation to exercise regularly.

    A few years ago, I started hitting the gym with one of my coworkers. We sort of took turns training each other, which was WAY better than actually hiring a trainer. By switching off on machines, we would get a short rest break while also encouraging the other. It also made us each a little competitive-she did 5 more crunches than I did last time, I need to up what I'm doing. And there was always that other person to be encouraging if one of us started to slow down on anything. Like I said, I've never been overweight, but I dropped ten pounds in only a few weeks and got absolutely ripped while we were working out together.

    And the best part? It made the gym one of my social places. We would gossip, talk about clothes and boyfriends, make plans, etc. I started looking forward to going to the gym because it was more fun than work.

    So I'd suggest finding someone who can regularly go with you so it'll be something you look forward to doing.

  34. I pretty much hate exercising too. I can't stand it when people say things like "I JUST have to run!" "I am doing my 18th marathon WHOO-HOO!" I want to slap them, and I know that is mean. I just don't get it? The ONLY think I like about excercising is the way I feel when I am done. I really feel proud of myself for doing it, and it just feels good. So I drag myself to the gym and I do my own thing.I motivate myself by thinking "you will be happy when it is over!"

  35. I hate sweating. HATE. I think I should only sweat while dancing or during sex. I know I should exercise, but ugh, the sweating. It probably doesn't help that I have asthma too. sigh. I've been trying to get myself together to take a belly dancing class. It's not especially hard on the body, nor does it require me to be in great shape or bendy, but I'll be moving around for an extended and specific amount of time every week. I consider that a win. Well, it will be when I actually go. ;)

  36. I know you said you hate walking but as someone who hates working out walking is my salvation. It's European, it's exploratory, it is meditative and best done with a latte and some girlfriends ( especially the single ones you can live vicariously through) You look at flowers, stop for another coffee, get the dirt and all the while you are moving through neighborhoods and people watching. I think you need to try it...not solo (boring) I have a walking group and if you lived on the peninsula I'd invite you to it. If you start a group it is like having cocktails with the gals but not and it can be fun. If you are really opposed I'd try Zumba it is like dancing alone in your apartment when you were single and burns as many calories.

  37. I mostly hate working out too. I'm not fat, but I'm super-self-conscious: I hatehatehate that things jiggle (o hai butt, thighs, boobs, arms), I hatehatehate the thought that people are looking at me, and I've had the awesome panic attacks that go along with it.


    One thing that's helping is wearing baggy clothes over tight exercise gear. Less jiggle, and less visibility. I also go to a gym reeeeeeeally far away, so I'm highly unlikely to run into anyone I know.

    Also, Beyonce. All gyms should just play Beyonce the whole time, and everyone would exercise about five times faster. She's a goddess.

    Don't give up. Do end up at silly things like County Fairs where you end up walking around all day and wanting to die by the time you go home - grumpy walking totally counts twice as much :)

    You should also go to the beach and fly kites! Lots of running around trying to get the damn things in the air, plus added beachiness for extra fun.

  38. I'm going with something that can be done in the privacy of your own home. It's "dancing around like a maniac to the 80s channel on cable." There are no moves to follow (I fall down during aerobics because I am so uncoordinated), nobody makes fun of the fat girl exercising (which happens all the damn time when fat people go to the gym), and you will be amazed at the workout.

    You can wear what you want, do it whenever, it doesn't require special equipment, and sometimes you fall down laughing at yourself. I used to do that for 30 minutes every day. If it gets too easy, grab some wrist/ankle weights.

    Another way to fit it in is to exercise during commercials ONLY. Depending on how much TV you watch - or have on as background noise - you can get a pretty decent amount of exercise with those 16 minutes per hour minimum that commercials are on.

    I don't really like "walking for walking's sake" either. Here in NC in the summer, by the time you wouldn't fry outside, it's 11PM! Plus the whole "chafing" issue. Ugh.

  39. I'm not a fan of exercise, but I LOVE dancing.
    Silly, do-your-own-thing, nobody-watching, dancing.
    You don't even *have* to move your feet--you could just move the rest of yourself around! [Like hula hooping on the Wii]...
    I move my feet sometimes, like faux cha-cha'ing, but mostly I just move my hips, wave my hands up above my head, etc.
    I'm in okay shape, for a bookworm with some spinal injuries. ;p
    A friend taught me some basics of belly dancing years ago, and it's helped SO much.
    Rotate your hips one direction, then the other, then combine for figure-8s. Repeat with your shoulders, if you can!
    Good luck! I still need to get healthier, myself, but at least with dancing, I can get my heart rate up and have fun. And not feel completely redonkulous for eating some chocolate every day. ;p

  40. I sit on the couch and think about all the reasons why I can't work out and why I should, and then eat some chocolate!

  41. You can laugh, but I found Gilad shows on FitTv. Remember him from the 80s??? I've been doing that show now and again when I have the time and motivation.

  42. P.S. I hate exercising too.

  43. As far as actual classes go, I find that whether or not I'll actually show up and keep coming is often entirely dependent on the instructor. I quit the most cost-effective yoga class in my area because the teacher kept calling "downward dog", "under dog." And occasionally "down under dog" like the pose is Australian or something. Anyway, between her and the 50-something lady who wore 80's hair-band-style ripped leggings to class, enough was enough. And I LOVE yoga.

    You're right, any exercise is better than none. There's nothing wrong with getting on the elliptical with a magazine, or better yet getting on an elliptical with a built-in TV so you can watch whatever you want instead of being at the mercy of the official gym TV show picker.

  44. In-home recumbent stationary bike + iPad (or a shelf and my laptop) = bliss. I can talk on the phone, check Facebook, watch an instant Netflix movie, TV shows, or whatever. I'm often shocked to discover that I've been on the thing for over an hour.

  45. I walk/run. Oh God, how I hate it. Somebody asked me the other day what my favourite form of exercise was (well, I was in sneakers and gym gear so it was a logical assumption that I did SOMETHING) and the conversation became awkward.

    Me: Sitting on the couch
    Them: Haha, but really?
    Me: Expensive sports that I can't afford to do. Skiing. Polocross.
    Them: But for everyday?
    Me: (long pause, while I racked my brains to find something remotely everyday acceptable)..ummm...
    (triumphantly) Sex!

    What?! It's cardiovascular if you do it properly.

  46. I'm with Bri (comment at 5:44 p.m.): I hate.hate.HATE to sweat, except when I'm dancing or having sex. Then I don't even notice the sweating, if it's done properly. And I don't go to clubs for dancing any longer (overweight, 40s, nightshift worker, not on the market, the usual reasons), so that leaves sex. Which is great, fabulous, amazing, but not something I can count on to be aerobic for 25 minutes a day every day, ya know? I have a couple of bellydancing DVDs I haven't opened yet, although I plan to. One day. When I get caught up on my shows (which I watch on the computer after everyone else has gone to sleep). Promise. (Maybe.)

    I don't mind walking, if I'm talking to a friend while we're doing it, but the heat and humidity here in north central Florida are almost year-round, so that sweat thing becomes an issue again.

    Thanks for saying what the rest of us feel, BTW. Again. No wonder we love your site!

  47. I, too, am a chronic exercise-hater. Oh, I used to love running in middle school and part of high school -- if it was a 50-meter sprint or something like it that was over in less than a minute. The mile run, however? HATE.

    I do like to walk, but mostly in NYC, because there are things to look at, and there aren't any hills like here at home (damn you, SF). But there it's not walking, it's Exploring.

    There are, however, two things that do or did make me get my arse up and start sweating:

    1) Clogging. It's like tap dancing, but more folksy. This is kind of along the lines of all the other suggestions of dancing - which I highly recommend, doing any kind of dancing, especially if you did some as a kid (because you still have that muscle memory, trust me). My clogging classes brought pleasant flashbacks of my tap-dancing classes from when I was 10, plus most of the time the music was pretty fun. I don't do it anymore, because of scheduling, but I wish I had time still to bust out those tap shoes.

    2) Krav Maga. (Israeli self-defense/martial arts) Out of all the martial arts, I feel like this one is the most immediately practical -- there are no specialized forms to learn, and from the very first class you feel like you could walk out of there and use what you just learned on the street. For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to going to my exercise classes -- I make it about two or three times a week, for at least an hour each time. I'm still plump around the belly, but I'm so damn proud of my wee arm muscles, it's crazy. And I love the adrenaline high I get from it. I even canceled my membership at the gym with the pool so I could afford to keep my Krav up. It's that awesome.

  48. I've heard good things about zumba, though I haven't found a class nearby (haven't looked too hard, though). I've been considering a belly dancing class - if that works out, they offer pole dancing, too, which may or may not be an option. . . (but really, probably not).

    Mainly, I got a dog. Dogs need walking, whether I want to do it or not, and most days, other than the depths of winter, it doesn't suck too badly anymore, especially with the ipod and a couple of swing albums.

  49. I sit on an exercise bike (one of those sit-down ones, not the usual ones, with the high seat) with a good book and my Ipod. It can distract me for 90 minutes or so. I know an exercise bike is not much but it's better than nothing, I say.. I LOATHE exercise as well!

  50. Zumba is FUN!! Try it for sure...Martial arts (i did tae kwon do) are an excellent work out as well..and because your mind is so occupied focusing on what you are doing, you don't even have time to think about the fact that you are exercising...

  51. If I'm starting from scratch, I try to start with weight training before I do any kind of aerobic activity. If I jump in to something aerobic I get winded super fast, can't go for very long, and generally find it so difficult and unpleasant that I give up before I see any results. With weight training (lifting weights, yoga, pilates, etc.) you see/feel results pretty quickly. You might not lose weight, but I find that increasing reps/weight is a huge motivator. Plus, when you decide to add in aerobic activity it will be much easier if you already have some muscle tone.

  52. I'm doing the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and I love it. She totally kicks your butt, but the longest you do any one move at a time is 30-45 seconds (1 minute for some of the ab moves). There are 3 levels you can choose from and in each level, there's a person showing you how to do the beginners version of the moves. My mom is doing zumba and loves it (and she despises exercise). Good luck!

  53. I hate exercising! But Zumba is an absolute blast. I love to dance, so it is perfect for me. In fact... why haven't I been going to class? LOL

  54. I think that exercise has to be intrinsically fun (or rewarding), or it just won't happen. This means that I know I'm probably never going to have crazy robust mondo calorie burning workouts, but when I tried those, I just ended up not working out at all after a while.

    So. Swimming in the pool is fun, thus I do it. I don't do master's level classes because I don't want to deal with the pressure to be fast. Often, I get some crappy show from netflix and do some strentching, light weights and stomach crunches in front of the TV.

    I know that there are some people who like to 'feel the burn', etc., but I'm not one of them. So I accept that I'd rather get the benefits of some movement than the inevitable giving up that follows crazy workouts for me.

    ps - I don't like avocados either, and it always marked me as an easterner in Oakland.

  55. Sweetie and I take ballroom dance lessons. The lessons (and practice between lessons, if we ever did that) can be a hell of a workout yet it's still fun.

  56. I feel as though you could have subtitled this post "Things People From New England Are Afraid to Admit When They Move To California." I, too, do not like avocados, the outdoors, walking, and exercise in general. I am beginning to think they put something in the water on the east coast to make us this way. Like fluoride, but.... not.

  57. Oh come on, if you don't like exercise it's because you're LAZY and LYING TO YOURSELF.

    I hate it too, and am currently unsure what to do about it. On one hand I feel exercise would be beneficial in many ways. On the other hand, it's like drinking nasty-tasty medicine for an hour. Why would I want to do that? It might not even be worth the supposed benefits.

  58. Also, I hate the way exercise is timed. People say "It's only 20 minutes!" or "It's only 30 minutes!" but it is WAY MORE THAN THAT with all the changing into exercise clothes and showering afterward and getting dressed again, not to mention sweating for another 45 minutes. A 20-minute exercise routine takes me nearly an hour. HATE.

  59. I started my weight loss journey (yes it has been a journey) with the elliptical machine. I lost 30lbs, gained 40lbs in pregnancy, and have lost 45 in her 1st year. It was motivating for me personally to beat my own time/calorie expenditure/etc each time I went. It is also a nice, guilt free (I'm doing it for them too!) break from the kids. From there I moved on to running (which sucks so much ass for about a month, then becomes addicting if you stick with it. I am also large chested and still have to wear double or triple running bras to keep those suckers in place. Just a little tip for ya should you ever decide to try it.)

    Until I started using the elliptical machine I had always been someone who hated exercise with a passion, and swore I would never ever in a billion years like doing it. But competing with myself, and pushing my own limits was enough to keep me going back for a while. Eventually I began to enjoy it every so often. Then I began to enjoy it almost every time.
    My perception of myself expanded to include someone who has the ability to run miles. Plural. It still amazes me that I can do it.

    So anyway, my life story there just to say, yeah, elliptical machine.

  60. Zumba is awesome. You sweat a lot and forget that you're supposed to hate it b/c it's an exercise class. Try again.

    Also? I love smutty romance novels + the stationery (stationary?) bike. I like the wide seat kind where your legs are in front of you, as I have a sizable rump and am always a little bit scared my butt will eat those little bicycle seats.

    My advice would be to work yourself up to spin class. They're great, but intense. If you're in this for the long haul, you might not want to start off with a class that makes it hard to walk for 4 days afterward.

    Good luck!

  61. I don't enjoy walking either. I do it to get around, so doing it again and calling it 'exercise' just seems a bit stupid to me. Let's call a spade a spade, and tell everyone who changes into a special outfit to go for a walk, people who just like outfit changes, ok?
    Spin is good. I was scared of it. Very, very scared. But you sit on a stationary bike in the dark with loud music playing. It has a tension control, so you can leave all the tension off and just do a class to get a feel for the moves, if you want. I did it for a year and lost weight, people noticed. When you actually do a 60 minute class, its like burning about 500 calories.
    I won't suggest yoga to you. Though it makes the body look darn good.
    How about those things that are a cross between an elliptical and a treadmill? I don't like running, but its like fake-running without hurting the knees yet burning calories. You can read or watch tv on them.

  62. All of these suggestions are good. Dieting first. Weight training. Bike riding with the baby on board. Yoga. Fit tv. Water workouts. Country line dancing. Couch to 5k. Belly dancing. Living room workouts. Gym workouts. HIIT (google it). Jillian Micheals. Kettlebells (awesome).
    All of these suggestions are good stuff.
    But. My number one suggestion is: do it for you. Any of these things. Do them just for you. 10 minutes. 20 minutes. An hour. whatever. But do it for you, and it will feel good. Ya just have to get your head around it, then...go play.
    Sounds cheesey, right? No. Go play. If you go play, you are good to go. That's it :) That is the secret.

  63. I normally actually love walking. But now that I'm pregnant, I hate it. It is hard and causes me to feel pain and exhaustion for the entire rest of the day. It's not even worth it to bother anymore, so I will not exercise for the next 6.5 weeks, no matter what I'm told.

  64. You don't have to like walking. Just accept who you are, exercise wise. Personally, I hate running. I've tried; it just isn't my thing, no matter how much other people rave about it.

    I love the elliptical. People say it isn't as good, but so what. If it doesn't feel good, I won't continue, and elliptical feels good. So there. I'm with you.

    You might like Zumba. It's fun and easy to follow. The downside: after half an hour, the repetitive peppiness of it made me want to smack someone. But that's probably just me.

  65. Yoga for round bodies. I've never tried it myself, but if anyone out there is intimidated by yoga because they feel like it's impossible to do the positions ("asanas") you see slim people doing because you have rolls of fat in the way, know that yoga is for every body. Google "yoga for round bodies," and you'll find some workouts that are more suitable for you. :)

    And yes, I'm one of those people who changes clothes to walk. I walk during my "lunch" hour at work, and I DO get sweat, in summer anyway.

    But like many of us have already said, if you don't like walking, find something else you can stand. Every body needs exercise

  66. I don't think you are crazy. I love walking AND avocados, but everyone is different. I hate going to the gym - HAAAATE the thought of it even - and most people think that makes me crazy. I also don't really like chicken - also weird!
    I know that wasn't really a helpful suggestion, but I wanted to offer my voice of support - you are not weird, and people who think everyone should do what works for THEM personally, should be quiet and lay off the unsolicited advice.

  67. I wholeheartedly echo everyone who suggested yoga. Yoga, yoga, YOGA. It works.

  68. I like working out- once I get to the gym and start doing it. The endorphins afterwards are well worth the effort. However, I HATE walking on the treadmill. If I am going to get on a treadmill I have to run or else I want to shoot myself. Walking outside though is nice. Relaxing. Especially in the park where I take our dog and sometimes go with my husband.

    I'm also a big fan of hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, playing tennis, and skiing. Just try classes and take beginner classes of sports- you will find something that you like!

    Good luck finding something you like!

  69. I don't like walking either, I'll do it once or twice a year, really just if I need to think or burn off stress.

    One exercise I did like was kickboxing. I hold the pads for 20 minutes someone else pounds them, them they hold the pads for 20 minutes and I pound them. It worked really well as good stress and anger relief, but I was having a really bad time personally and pounding the crap out of something was what I needed. I had to quit due to getting pregnant, at least this pregnancy is working out, so far so good.

    FYI, it was Thai kickboxing also called "Muay Thai" not american kickboxing.


    I just started taking Zumba classes (with a skinny dancer friend, no less. Oye) and I love them. Do I look like a drunk elephant? Why yes, yes I do. Do I care? No. It's so much fun for me, I love the music and damn it all if I don't feel a little bit sexy doing it. Until I catch a glimpse in the mirror. But whatever.

    I also sort of like my elliptical trainer, but only because I record a crap TV show that I love, to watch while exercising. It's sort of boring, but not as hard on my joints as walking.


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