fitness no nos

Welcome to 2015, loyal so-and-sos! It’s the second week of the new year, and do you know where your fitness resolutions are? I do! Let’s check in on mine:

  1. Using My Fitness Pal like everybody else on Earth? Check.
  2. Keeping meticulous track of my food and exercise? Check.
  3. Not making any actual changes to my diet or workout regimen whatsoever? Check.

Okay. So clearly I suck at getting healthy. Since I can’t lead by example, how about I lead through cautionary tale?  Without further ado, let me now present to you:

SARAH’S FIVE THINGS NOT TO DO IN YOUR QUEST FOR FITNESS

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1. DO NOT attempt to exercise without bike shorts.

If you’re like me, you know that the whole phenomenon of Thigh Gap is decidedly Thigh Crap. If you’re like me, you’re barely breaking a sweat before the monster known as chub rub is rearing its evil head. If you’re like me, you know that once you start feeling chafed down there, the end to whatever’s currently passing for your “exercise regimen” is near.

But not to worry. The solution is simple: bike shorts. Wear them under your yoga pants, or your sweatpants, or your exer-pris (I just made that word up.) Bike shorts are not overly stifling and they prevent chub rub like woah. Oh, and don’t fret – if you’re low on funds or clean laundry, you can achieve the same basic effect with baby powder or Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel.

2. DO NOT attempt an exercise program taught or led by someone you dislike.

Okay. I realize that by saying this, I am risking an immediate attack on my person by a gang of angry fit ladies with shake weights and kettle bells – but I cannot stand Jillian Michaels.

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Believe it or not, I’m telling you this for a reason. If an exercise program is taught or led by someone you don’t like, you’re simply not going to stick with it. This could mean a celebrity trainer such as Ms. Michaels, or a Zumba instructor that moves too fast, or a yogi at your local studio that’s a little too “helpful” with “adjustments” in the region of your “butt cheeks.”

Look, if you’re not comfortable with an exercise video, you’re not going to work it; if you’re not comfortable in an exercise class, you’re not going to go. Period. And that is why my copy of Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred has never been watched. Nope. Not even once.

3. DO NOT expect to become fit overnight.

This is a serious problem for many folks, and one that I in particular have never been able to overcome. I’ll count calories for a minute and then get frustrated when I actually weigh *more* than I did before I started. I’ll go for a long walk every day for three days and then grumble because I’m tired and sore and my kneecaps feel like those of an 80-year-old woman. I’ll eat healthy for a week, not feel any different, not lose any weight, and then become resentful at all of the missed pizza and cake opportunities.

And those are the times that I decide to just give up.

And giving up is NOT how you get healthy.

Basically what I’m saying here is this: if you harbor expectations for immediate fitness success, prepare to be disappointed EVERY TIME. You best believe I speak from experience. Only the patient, the determined, and the realistic will achieve results. And yeah. I don’t achieve results.

4. DO NOT go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of athletic clothes and equipment until you are absolutely 100% sure you’re going to stay committed.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s an example. 

Let’s say you’re thinking of taking up running. Great! Running is literally the cheapest sport in the world – you don’t even need a ball. You can just run right out the door in your busted high school gym shorts, that ratty “Where’s the Beef” t-shirt with the hole in the armpit, and a pair of decent sneakers. You literally do not need ANYTHING. ELSE.

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Me. “Running.”

Sure, in time you might want to upgrade your running gear. No judgment here! You can buy the special sweat-wicking socks and the expensive running shoes and the infinite variety of little techy-type gadgets that measure every possible shit. Just buy them LATER. Do you hear what I’m saying? Because if you quit after four days, not only are you going to feel bad for quitting, you’re going to be in the hole for hundreds of dollars of gear you didn’t need. That’s a surefire recipe for a shame spiral right there.

Not that this has ever happened to me, of course.

*shoves pristine tennis racket under the bed with foot*

*shame spiral*

*eats entire bag of Sour Cream & Onion Lay’s Potato Chips*

5. DO NOT tell yourself continuously that you’ll “start tomorrow.”

I think I’ve done this every day of my entire adult life aaaand well lookie here! Now I’m almost forty. Yes, forty — arguably the most difficult time in a woman’s life to lose weight and get in shape due to the metabolic and hormonal changes accompanying perimenopause. If I’d stopped telling myself that I’d “start tomorrow” when I was 25 and I’d actually STARTED TOMORROW, I would have found losing weight, getting in shape, and staying healthy to be a whole lot easier than they are now. Now it’s an almost Herculean task fraught with frustration, bitterness, stiff joints, sore muscles, back pain, and strange smells.

Also doughnuts.

I mean, what?

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An earlier version of this piece was published in July 2014 on fitness blog Kris on Fitness.

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Photo credits:
“Drinking Man”: Das Vesper; Date 1828; Source Ketterer Kunst; Author Constantin Schroeter; Licensing: This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. This work is in the public domain in the United States. — Modified
“Willam .gif”: Source unknown. Footage from RuPaul’s Drag Race, aired on LogoTV