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I HATE EXERCISE
I hate exercise.
I have always known that this is as true as saying, “I am alive”. I hate exercise. Like, hate it.
Not just in an “oh, exercise is so boring” way, or an “I wish I didn’t have to do it” way. Rather, I actively detest exercise. I always have and I always will.
At high school, I was in the self-identified “nerd group”. We did not, as a rule, feature prominently in the school’s sporting teams. Instead, we spent time hanging out in the library or at rehearsal for various music groups. And we liked it that way.
After university, I joined a gym but could always find any reason under the sun not to go, such as, “I just got home from work and have to make dinner and have a few meetings tomorrow and have to get up early to get to work early for these meetings so don’t have time to go to the gym tonight. Tomorrow night, for sure.”
Or, “It’s Saturday morning and I have to do two loads of washing and vacuum before meeting friends for lunch and the gym’s always packed on Saturday mornings so I’d have to wait for the machines I want and I’ll totally go this afternoon.”
However, I knew deep down that the real reason behind these excuses was the fact that I hate exercise. And if you hate something, why would you subject yourself to it? I’m not good at it and, besides that, I just don’t enjoy it. I’m not one of those people who get a runner’s high or can find pleasure in a long bike ride. It’s probably a genetic thing.
But then, last year, I came to gradually realise that this fact I’d always know about myself actually wasn’t true.
It started when a work colleague asked if I wanted to join a lunchtime game of touch football. I laughed and laughed at the suggestion and told him he was crazy. Why on earth would I do that? It would involve having to wear gym gear and getting sweaty in front of colleagues, as well as having to shower in the work change rooms then sit back at my desk, red-faced from the exertion for the rest of the day. I always try to present a relatively polished appearance at work, and exercising during the work day would completely destroy that façade. No thanks!
The following week I was lamenting the fact that, as a single mother of a toddler, I just didn’t have any time to exercise, aside from about two gym sessions a month. It would be good if I could exercise during lunch break at work, but that wasn’t going to happen for the aforementioned reasons.
But….maybe it could? I could just give it a go, once, and see what happened.
So I said to my work colleague that I was thinking of getting access to the work change rooms. He replied, “Don’t just think about it, do it.” I really had no clever response to that.
So I did.
Then another work colleague suggested I go running at lunchtime with a few other people. Even though I knew I was terribly unfit and that everyone else would be much faster than me, I couldn’t think of a clever response to that, either.
So I did.
What started out as one run per week turned into three runs per week. Seeing as I work only three days per week, this was a surprise to me. But even more surprising was the fact that once I started running, I didn’t want to stop. After only a few weeks, I had improved so much that I could run nearly 7km without stopping. And I didn’t die! This was a major achievement for me – previously, the longest I’d ever run without stopping was around 4km, and on a treadmill too, which isn’t as hard as being out on the open road.
I also found that the sweatiness and the wearing of gym gear and the red face quickly became irrelevant as the adrenalin of the run and the high afterwards took over. I had gone from someone who admired, from a distance, those who exercised during lunch time, to someone who looked forward to getting out amongst it.
I reluctantly had to admit to myself that I no longer hated exercise. How on earth had this happened?! It must be a miracle!
But actually, I had conveniently forgotten a few things whenever I insisted to myself and others how much I hated exercise.
Like the fact that I loved playing on my primary school t-ball, softball and netball teams.
Like the fact that I played on my high school’s inaugural cricket team, was top-scorer one match and amazingly had my name mentioned in assembly.
Like the fact that during university I absolutely loved playing mixed netball and had the best fun with my team.
Like the fact that for four years I went to boot camp at 5.30am three times per week including Saturdays and really enjoyed it.
Oh no, those facts were completely irrelevant. I was a #Nerd4Lyfe, and as such couldn’t possibly be sporty or enjoy exercise of any type. That was set in stone and was never to change throughout the rest of my life.
But it did, because I started exercising and stopped telling myself how much I hated it.
My whole attitude to exercise has changed. When someone asks if I want to go for a run at lunchtime, I no longer dismiss it with a laugh and a remark like “F**k no!” Instead, now I say, “When and how far?”
And now I can say something about myself that is as true as saying, “I am alive”.
I love exercise.
Lady McClane is a Brisbanite whose perfect weekend would be spent lazing around eating junk food. But she is the mother of an energetic boy and therefore cannot do this due to having to “set a good example”. Sigh.