Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Exercise Hater Has Fun and Gets Fit in Barcelona

As a former competitive swimmer, I used to workout between 3 and 4 hours a day from Monday through Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays, I would regularly compete at day-long swim meets. I lifted weights, had a fabulous body, won most of my races and hated every minute of it.

To this day, I blame that chlorinated past for my current, sloth-like state. When I quit competitive swimming at the age of 19, I quit exercising, period. 20 years later, the mere thought of working out still fills me with a vague sense of dread.

Walking the Dog

I want to get back on track and have tried, time and again, to muster some self discipline and reesstablish a respectable fitness routine. However nothing, from a fun belly-dancing class (not fun, just humiliating) to a membership at a cushy gym (did they really expect me not to abuse the free frappuccino service?) has worked. Until recently, that is. 

Based on the advice of a super fit friend, who literally ordered me to stop jogging because it made me want to kill myself, I reconnected with an activity that I used to like as a child - volleyball. Guess what? Despite the passage of so many years and the loss of all but the most rudimentary skills, I really enjoyed it. Moreover, I played for hours even though I was out of shape and therefore winded and not any good! 

That´s progress! To date, I am only playing about twice a week but after a twenty year hiatus from sports, I think that´s pretty laudable. So what changed? Based on my friend´s advice, I applied these three, critical rules:
  1. My exercise of choice must be fun
  2. My exercise of choice must suit MY fitness personality
  3. As often as possible, said exercise must be performed in a pleasant environment
Feeding Your Fitness Personality
A huge part of overcoming expercise antipathy, is keeping it real. Though it often feels like our own personal calgary, everyone struggles to exercise, not just you or me. My fit friend put it best, ¨No one likes to exercise. People like to have fun. If you want to exercise regularly, then you need to find a FUN activity that just so happens to be physically challenging too."

Take this short, 10-question quiz if you need help determining what kind of workouts will be fun for you. The key to success is to satisfy as many aspects of your fitness personality as possible.

According to the above quiz, I am a free spirit, which might be code for one who lacks self discipline and suffers from mild ADD. Guess what kinds of activities are bad choices for free spirits? You said it, individual ones.

No wonder I hated swimming!

Well, that wraps up this post. I´m off to have some ¨fun¨ playing volleyball. No kidding! And oh yeah, I´ll let you know how this whole exercise thing plays out in a few weeks. 

Volleyball meetup in BCN courtesy of hard-working organizer, Mark Hazelton

Exercise CAN be fun!