Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 May

Dear Mark: I Hate to Exercise

exerciseMany of us enjoy exercise, probably more just tolerate it, but have you ever known someone to detest it with every fiber of their being? Today, we have a question from a reader with precisely that issue. She hates exercise, and even feels near to tears when she has to do it. Moreover, she doesn’t get the “high” that many of us – even the ones who would rather be doing something else – enjoy after a workout. Well, she’s not alone. Regular exercise is a major stumbling block for many of us, so let’s take a look at some general strategies those that hate exercise can employ, as well as new ways to think about and approach exercise. I don’t have any end all, be all answers, but I do have some good ideas. First, the question:

I think I saw this concern addressed on your blog, but I am not sure. I hate to exercise. There is something in me that just makes me want to cry when I have to do it. I never feel good after I do it. What is the answer? Desperately wanting to exercise, but just can’t.

Thanks,

Mary

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There is no one supplement to take. There’s no one exercise that works for everyone, everywhere, under any circumstance. That you’re “desperately wanting to exercise,” however, is a good start. Here are my suggestions for getting started and making it stick. Oh, and – most importantly – enjoying it!

Get a Workout Partner

More importantly than just finding someone who will workout with you, make a series of pacts with your buddy. First, if one person doesn’t show or backs out, the other person must also back out. Second, pledge to keep training until the other person stops. Research suggests that if someone else’s workout depends on yours, you will be more likely to exercise, so as not to disappoint or let down the other person. Drill sergeants have been doing essentially this for millennia – making the group suffer for the mistake of one in order to compel the one to shape up.

Tinker with Your Neural Reward System

Normally, the release of dopamine makes us feel good about completing a goal. That goal could be finishing a tough work assignment, winning a game of chess, or completing a hard workout. And the dopamine release, if it happens reliably enough, also helps us form (good and bad) habits. Is there something you love and enjoy every time you experience or obtain it? Maybe it’s an episode of your favorite TV show. Maybe it’s a long hot bath. Whatever it is, indulge yourself with a healthy reward every single time you work out. If you’ve ever trained a dog to do anything, this will be familiar. You might even feel a little silly, but don’t. We’re all animals, and we all respond to reward in similar ways. It’s just that some of us have already learned to associate exercise with neural reward. You probably haven’t, so you need to do a bit of formal entrainment. Eventually, you won’t need the reward anymore. Like a good dog no longer needs a treat in order to sit, stay, or come, you’ll come to associate exercise with its own inherent reward – especially after seeing the results.

Make Your Short Workouts Shorter and More Intense

I say this a lot, and for good reason: acute bouts of ultra-intense training is more effective and, unsurprisingly, more neurally rewarding. What does this mean, in real world terms? Increase the intensity and reduce the volume. Lift more weight, not more reps. Run (or bike, or crawl, or swim) as fast as you can for a short period of time, not pretty fast for a long period of time.

Just Move and Play

You say you hate “exercise.” That’s fine; lots of people hate it. But what about movement in general? Is there any physical activity you can bear? Walking? Gardening? Hiking? Rock climbing? Playing catch? Frisbee? I refuse to believe that any and all types of physical undertaking make you miserable. If you can find the will to get up out of bed and walk to the kitchen for breakfast in the morning without crying, you can walk a little farther – say, around the block several times – as well. Don’t worry about calories or reps or weight or the next guy. Just move and play.

Relearn the Meaning of Exercise

While I’ve always been active, there was a time when I hated – truly hated – what I considered to be the optimal form of exercise. Back when I was an endurance athlete, running marathons and then competing in triathlons, I began to hate my training. I was fit and active and thought I was doing the best thing I could for my body, but I really dreaded working out. Eventually, I realized that not only was my training unpleasant and miserable, it was also extremely unhealthy. That revelation forced me to relearn the meaning of exercise. I had to move, I had to train somehow, but I couldn’t continue on my current trajectory. I had to start all over and accept that maybe, just maybe it would be okay to take it easy and lift some weights, move really fast for short periods of time, and take actual rest days. Once I accepted that exercise didn’t have to miserable to be effective, everything fell into place.

Examine Your Past

Your disdain for exercise may be long-held and deep-seated. Perhaps your gym classes as a kid were particularly brutal and unforgiving, and you just learned to associate exercise with misery. I felt that way, early on in my school career. But amidst all the wedgies and purple nurples and teasing, I learned to love exercise by finding something I loved to do (and something I was already doing on my own as a kid): running. Ironically, I hate running distance nowadays, but my love for movement in general has never waned. Look back to and face down a precipitating event – if one indeed exists. Identifying it may be enough to start the road to recovery.

Try Different Modalities

Some need more regimentation, direction, and structure to their exercise. Some need more freedom, randomization, and boundlessness. Many people do better at the gym and laze around at home; others never quite get over their self-consciousness and instead prefer working out solitarily, whether that’s in the garage or at a secluded spot in the park. I’m a big fan of both slow-moving high intensity training, a la Body By Science, as well as something as seemingly intuitive but sneakily periodized and systematic as MovNat. If you dislike training and want it to be over with as quickly as possible while remaining effective, try Body by Science, explained here in a guest post by Dr. Doug McGuff (its creator). If you hate training but want to love it, try a MovNat 1-day class (described here by a Worker Bee who attended one). I challenge you to try MovNat and not want to move often and move well.

This will sound cliche, but you need to broaden your horizons. You may end up hating each and every one of the workout modalities you try, but you cannot know that until you actually try one. Good luck! And remember, you just have to move!

Feel free, folks, to chime in with whatever worked for you. Specific movements, training regimens, strategies, different ways to think about exercise, that sort of thing. Oftentimes the best stuff comes up in the comment section, and I hope this time is no different!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I admit, I’ve never had a problem with exercising. I’ve never been the guy who excelled quickly at any sport or even any activity, but I’m the guy who never quits.

    I exercise per Primal Blueprint, which is fun. I play frisbee with the crew at work during breaks. I do traditional karate (it works for me since I’m over the 50-year mark!). I even have two high-energy dogs that I run/bike with at least 2, sometimes 3 times per day. All these fun things are part of exercise.

    Here’s a suggestion that nobody here has mentioned: WORK.

    I ditched my mower’s grass-catcher so I can rake the yard after mowing (I get to throw the tennis ball for my Border Collie while doing it). I go walk my fenceline looking for places to repair…do gardening…shovel snow…stack firewood…repaint a room in your house.

    I also work on old Jeeps. Right now I’m doing bodywork and paint – for a nice low-intensity workout, try a 3-hour stint of wet-sanding a large SUV. Or go wash and wax the car.

    All of these activities get you moving, and best of all, they accomplish something! Don’t underestimate the happy rush of being tired because you did something productive!

    Brad wrote on May 28th, 2012
    • Totally agree Brad!!

      mars wrote on May 28th, 2012
  2. A lot of folks cannot enjoy exercise because the lack the coordination and/or kinesthetic sensitivity to do exercise without strain and discomfort.

    People can’t benefit from walking if their individual manner of walking is painful. In such a case some kind of corrective work is needed to bring people to the point where activity can be enjoyed.

    The only method I know of that addresses this problem directly is the Alexander Technique:
    http://www.stat.org.uk/index.htm
    There are no exercises to do incorrectly, nor notions of ‘correct’ posture to be strained for. The student of the Technique learns an improved coordination under the direct supervision of a skilled teacher.

    Plus, it feels extraordinarily good. The contrast is like taking the first few steps after taking off a heavy pack. In my first lessons, 25 years ago, I felt I was going to lift up off the ground.

    The bracing and straining of bad coordination/posture is not felt by the person who has it. Only when its absence is felt–as an unexpected lightness and freedom–can we choose the easier way.

    John wrote on May 28th, 2012
  3. I love exercising, but don’t do so anywhere near often enough…
    Mark denounces “chronic cardio”, and to a point I agree; wearing yourself out day after day without adequate recovery is not sustainable. However, I enjoy distance running. Two hours at a comfortable pace is very nice. Screw the treadmill though! My favorite is knowing which direction is home but having no idea where I am. I’m out of shape right now, but I hope to be doing 3 such 10-15 mile runs per week by the end of summer.

    Bill wrote on May 28th, 2012
  4. I think from all these answers there is obviously no one-size-fits all when it comes to exercise. Linda’s suggestion to try geocaching is good.

    I personally hate intense exercise – precisely what Msrk says is so good for you. But I can walk, hike, bike and run (i.e. chronic cardio) for long periods of time quite happily. I have tried joining gyms and it’s always been a a failure. For me it’s the anticipation – I imagine how awful the effort will feel, and so I have a really hard time getting myself to engage in it.

    Gydle wrote on May 28th, 2012
  5. I read through the comments quickly but didn’t see anyone recommend dancing. Just put on your favourite tunes and dance around your house. If that doesn’t speak to you, look for a zumba class in your area…their slogan is “Ditch the workout. Join the Party!”. If you’re in to country music take up line dancing or learn a new type of dance i.e. salsa, tango, ballroom or belly dancing! I personally love Zumba. The hour just flies by!

    steffturner wrote on May 28th, 2012
    • Big Zumba Fan here!
      I am lucky I have zumba classes at work, twice a week, for me it is not workout, just plain happy play

      WildGrok wrote on May 28th, 2012
  6. I don’t like the idea of a fitness buddy. That’s what women’s magazines tell us to do, and women’s magazines have ruined my psyche enough as it is. I imagine it’s even worse for the Kelly Korgs, who hate exercising, do it anyway, and get no results.

    I guess we just have to find something we can tolerate. I clawed out a bunch of weeds in the backyard this weekend, and actually sort of liked doing it. It felt like I was getting a result.

    oxide wrote on May 28th, 2012
    • Women’s magazines could ruin anyone’s psyche, every month it is “50 Different Ways To Please A Man,” I’m a guy and I feel exhausted just looking at the covers.

      rob wrote on May 28th, 2012
  7. You won’t even believe how relevant this is to my life. I hate hate hate to exercise, and I’m also a dog trainer. I’ve been tinkering with how to make the rewards more immediate (a VERY important concept in dog training) so that my brain will make the connection better. I still haven’t figured out the perfect reward system for me, though.

    Carly wrote on May 28th, 2012
  8. I’m a trainer and gym owner and I really dislike exercise. I used to say that I hated it, but this article put it in more perspective for me.

    I guess what works for me is that I’m shallow :) I love looking and feeling good. I want to be that person that everyone looks at and says “wow, you can tell she really works out and takes care of herself.” I wish there were a more altruistic reason, but that’s it. And my desire to not be flabby is just enough stronger than my dislike of uncomfortable exercise that I choose exercise over being lazy and accepting my physical decline.

    I, too, would recommend that you find something that motivates you. It could be completely non-related to fitness. I pick a sport or event to train for every year that is something that I can’t just walk in and do. Last year I began competing in USAW lifting events, and this year I am participating in a GoRUCK challenge in my city. Both of these are not for someone that takes a laissez-faire attitude toward exercise, so they keep me on track.

    I also got a training partner this year. Being the coach, its not possible for me to workout with clients/classes, so I either have to find motivation on my own to train, or workout with someone who has similar goals as mine. It has made a world of difference for me this year to be able to train with someone. She dislikes exercise, but we’re both seeing amazing results, so we keep at it.

    Sarah wrote on May 28th, 2012
  9. I hate to practice, I’ve always hated. When I was 17 I injured my right knee and it was during my college studies an excellent excuse ..

    Nena wrote on May 28th, 2012
  10. A lot of people exercise in a boring and driven way: I used to see them at a gym where I walked around the track. They were the treadmill runners, etc. For people who “hate exercise,” maybe they should stop calling it that and just call it something like, “walking to the mailbox.” Or taking the dog for a walk, or walking to the store. I’ve never heard anybody say they hate walking.

    shannon wrote on May 28th, 2012
  11. Another thing that is rarely thought of as “exercising” is dancing. Most cities have contra dance groups: one woman told me she lost 100 lbs once she started contra dancing. You can always put on some music at home and dance in the morning when you first get up, to get yourself going.

    shannon wrote on May 28th, 2012
  12. I blame my schooldays. The dreaded shower after every PE lesson, really???? every lesson???? Why???

    I was a lanky skinny piece of work who had enough issues clothed (as did we all as teens)let alone naked in a communal shower.

    I have heard that the shower rules have since been laxed in an attempt to make more kids enjoy sports, too late for me but I hope soon enough for thousands of other kids.

    Today, after much trial and error, I have found something I love, and for the first time in my life I’m genuinly laid off yet desperate to get back to my exercise of choice rather than still feeling like that awkward teenager.

    If anybody reading this has similar issues dating back to those gangly teenage years please just think, times have changed, you’ve changed, grasp the changes with two hands, four if you have them, and try something new today…. I promise you won’t need to get naked in front of the world afterwards.

    Diane wrote on May 28th, 2012
  13. I hate exercise, because when one exercises, they tend to sweat. And I absolutely HATE having to shower (or bathe) in general, from being sweaty or dirty. I have no idea why! I bathe once a day or every other day like every other person…It’s just annoying XD lol

    Veriria wrote on May 28th, 2012
  14. I recommend doing something you enjoy and incorporating exercise into it. I don’t think I actually “worked out” over the 3-day weekend, but I moved a lot! On Saturday, my family went to see the monuments in DC. The kids biked and my husband and I used our high-end scooters (Xooter). We rode to the Jefferson around the Tidal Basin over to the Korea, the Vietnam Wall and the Lincoln memorials and all the way back to the car. We all felt great from the exercise, the gift of freedom and the sun. On Sunday, we rode a 5-mile loop, mostly on dirt paths, around a lake. It was like a playground for your bike, with little rises and dips and whipping around corners and was never monotonous or boring. The path was shady on a day that threatened 90 degrees with humidity and it felt like an oasis. Today (Monday), we rented tandem kayaks and explored a river an its coves, then played miniature golf under the trees. Did I “work out”? I moved around a lot, spent time with family and communed with nature. Okay, maybe I even got a little choked up seeing all the older vets and the mass of Harleys at Rolling Thunder, but it had nothing to do with exercise!

    BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers wrote on May 28th, 2012
  15. Weightlifting is great! you get strong and can get it done in half an hour, twice a week.

    Try stronglifts.com for example. It worked wonders for me. Or search “girls gone strong” in Youtube.

    Alvaro wrote on May 28th, 2012
  16. You have to enjoy it…Although the science behind which exercise is best for losing weight, ‘toning up’ (what ever that is) and getting ‘fit’ is important, even a perfectly designed plan from a perfectly designed trainer won’t give you results if you despise it and don’t do it…As they say, the best exercise is the exercise YOU do

    Isaac Warbrick wrote on May 28th, 2012
  17. I think I might hate exercise because I was always rubbish at it. I was a smart kid in school, but always last in a race. :(

    I find that if I do something for purposes other than ‘to exercise’, then it’s better. I was doing dancing classes for a while until my circadian rhythm disorder got in the way of my attendance, and I never felt like I was exercising because I was having fun.

    Audrey H wrote on May 28th, 2012
  18. For me, MUSIC makes all the difference. I love indoor cycling at home – with iPod, loaded with however much music I need to get through whatever time I’ve decided on to ride.

    I do something similar with Grok-type work outs. I’ll decide I’m going to do, say, 20 minutes of constant motion (squats, bear crawls, simple lifts, etc.), and for that, I’ll make a 20 minute play list. I take my watch off so I lose track of time, and I have what feels like my own little dance party!

    Note that the music component is so important to me, that on rare occasions that my ipod isn’t charged, etc., I’ll postpone the workout to sometime when I can have my tunes.

    The key is making playlists of music you love that makes you feel like moving. For me, it’s Led Zeppelin, et al. For you, it might be something completely different. Doesn’t matter – just as long as it keeps you moving.

    Grok on!

    Susan Alexander wrote on May 28th, 2012
  19. If exercise makes you cry, there is something else going on. I’d address that first, because things that happen as a kid, even if they aren’t horrible awful situations, can hold us back. Our mind has the job of keeping us safe, and the subject of the article has a mind that views exercise as altogether unsafe.

    Some things that have helped me. First, dopamine supplements (Dopatole has been the best). If dopamine is low, it can be difficult to get that “high” from exercise or just about anything. After about 6 months of dopamine supplementation, my entire attitude to exercising has changed and instead of struggling to get to the trainer each week, I do weight lifting on my own twice a week and work with the trainer of movement control. I get that “high” for days afterward now.

    Since I’ve gone primal, I now reward myself after a workout with a mango, a pile of tasty meat, a bit of chocolate and, if it’s the evening, a glass of wine.

    It may have just been the time. It really was 6 months after I started with a trainer, and a year before it became just amazing. Trainers are expensive, but they are a lifesaver for some of us. Get someone tough but flexible and willing to work with your goals.

    Cory wrote on May 28th, 2012
  20. Most people who dislike exercise fall into two categories: the ones that get bored while doing exercise and the ones that do not mind moving about, as long as they don´t have to think about it.
    All the counting series and memorizing steps and movements get on their nerves one way or another.
    I fixed my exercise avoidance syndrome :D with these two tricks:
    1) I got an x-box with kinect!
    It´s great! Lot´s of games that count the exercises for you and lots of games that make you move for points and leveling up!
    2) I got a stationary rowing machine. Full body exercise without having to think too much about it. Arms, legs, thighs, torso… everything gets toned while slowly repeating the same movement. It´s better even that the xbox, although the videogame is more fun.

    susanna wrote on May 28th, 2012
  21. Dance is the answer. Put on a mix of your favorite tunes and just explore movement. Don’t worry about making it formal, just feel it out. Your adventuring into one of the most primal instincts of our species! Much more than “exercise” per se…

    mike wrote on May 28th, 2012
  22. On days that I don’t feel like working out, I do Mark’s WOW “Grok Walk.” It doesn’t really feel like a workout, because all you’re doing is going for a walk/hike. Throw in a tree climb if you can (that’s not exercise–that’s acting like a kid!) walk over a park bench, balance on a small rock with one leg, do a push up or squat here or there, next thing you know, you’ve completed a simple, relatively painless (and maybe even fun) workout without feeling like it was anything but a hike. Start off light, just throwing in a few odd movements, jumps, sprints, whatever, but keep the focus on feeling good and keeping it light. It isn’t exercise–it’s just a brisk walk.

    Good luck!

    Fritzy wrote on May 28th, 2012
  23. I appreciate that you mentioned different modalities (and included links). I don’t hate to exercise- I just find it very difficult thanks to widespread arthritis and joint problems. Even gentle exercise like swimming can tear up my shoulders and walking is nearly impossible without bracing both knees and ankles.

    I’ve been doing pilates but the instructors always include some yoga and that ends up causing more harm than good. What’s really frustrating is that I can’t do much weight bearing exercise. Thank goodness the primal diet works so well. I’m lean even without the exercise. But I’d really like to be able to be toned…

    sqt wrote on May 28th, 2012
    • Have you tried avoiding dairy? Dairy creates an incredibly inflammatory response in the body so if you suffer from inflammatory ailments, eg. arthritis, perhaps avoiding dairy will help?

      Michaela wrote on May 29th, 2012
      • Dairy doesn’t seem to bother me the way grains do. I already have significant joint deterioration so diet can only do so much.

        sqt wrote on May 29th, 2012
  24. I, too, have terrible memories of gym as a kid. Remember trying to climb a rope and failing, get laughed at. No help from the teacher about how to work up to it, just “you failed”. I’m very nearsighted, can’t really see the ground well when I’m standing up, and remember during acrobatics, I couldn’t do a cartwheel. Couldn’t see where my hands were going, always ended up unbalanced and fell. Our grade for that unit was to work out a floor routine. I did one of various rolls (I could see where I was going from the ground), and the teacher flunked me because I didn’t have enough variety. ALWAYS hated gym.
    I’m really new to PB/paleo ( like today is my two week anniversary), having great luck with the food portion, have lost over 10 lbs and I’m trying the PB fitness program. I like lots of things about this lifestyle, one of the main ones is the lack of pressure. I have never been able to do even one pull up/chinup

    BJML wrote on May 28th, 2012
  25. 1) Diet really is the key.
    I also hate exercise – went to the gym to do weightlifts 4x a week for 4 months in a row, hating it – and nothing changed in my body, even though I was desperately trying to lose weight. I just got hungrier and then heavier, if anything.
    Then, I’ve changed my eating to Paleo and quit all exercise a month ago – I’m never hungry anymore and I’ve already lost 4kg.

    2) Biggest revelation for me was that it doesn’t have to be active, sweaty exercise that makes a difference. Anything is an exercise, when you don’t sit on your butt :) I got a standing desk, where I now spend 8h a day. I clean my house, when I know I haven’t moved much all day (it’s a lot of running back and forth, putting stuff back in its places), I go browse the shopping mall – it’s always an hour’s worth of a walk! I wish I could get a dog, but we travel too much.

    oks wrote on May 28th, 2012
  26. This may not be applicable to Mary, but the biggest (in fact, only) change between me hating exercise and enjoying it was… diet. That’s because most people exercise to a) lose weight or b) get stronger, and for me it just felt like exercise was a miserable slog for minimal reward.

    When I started eating paleo (and increasingly, IFing) weight fell off me so that was the first issue taken care of. But the knock-on effect was that I could actually see the benefits of all those weights I was doing – week by week I was seeing improvements, feeling more confident etc, so now exercise is a really positive thing for me rather than a negative thing.

    Tom wrote on May 29th, 2012
  27. Look for movement-inclusive alternatives. Take the stairs! That’s my latest addition to daily movement and being on the 2nd floor of the building, it means moving just that little bit extra during the day. I must go up and down the stairs about 8 times a day and it sure does get my heart pumping.

    Michaela wrote on May 29th, 2012
  28. I used to hate gym class and anything that even remotely resembled exercise when I was a teenager even though I was on the soccer and cross country team. Mean gym teachers and coaches spring to mind. Everything was always so damn competitive plus I hated getting sweaty. Now that I’m in my early thirties, I can’t get enough. I even dream of doing an Ironman someday in the near future (not very primal I know but hey, it’s my dream).
    I started going to the gym in my mid twenties although I never really enjoyed it. A few years ago I started running, mainly on trails, horseback riding, and cycling. I still use the gym for my swims but other than that, I train outside, come rain or shine. Being close to nature has made exercise soooo much more fun. Signing up for races helps me aim towards improving, getting faster and stronger. Getting a high energy dog (seriously the best workout partner) who needs at least an hour run/walk a day has left me no choice but to get out and go every day, even if it’s ‘just’ for a long walk. I am now fitter than all my old high school friends whom I considered to be much better at sports back in the day.
    I guess the main point I’m trying to make is just do what you do enjoy, and do it often. Don’t run on the hamster wheel in the gym but go outside and get some fresh air. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Start slowly. Have fun.

    kankan wrote on May 29th, 2012
  29. My whole childhood I hated excercise – I’d always rather sit and draw or do something creative. I’m also the least competitive person. And then as a teen I discovered yoga. I started doing relaxing classes, and gradually as I started enjoying it more and trying out different classes I got stronger and stronger. Now I’m a yoga teacher who loves a strong yoga class, I also skip at home and do kettlebell excercises. The better you learn to breathe and the fitter you get the more fun and addictive it becomes. Find something you love, be it yoga, tai chi, martial arts, dancing and it’s no longer excercise but a way of making you feel good.

    SquirrelJo wrote on May 29th, 2012
  30. I, too, had bad gym class experiences. I have hated every exercise program I’ve tried. I think that a lot of the negative feelings came from the fact that no one seems to want to take time to teach you how to do stuff or start slowly enough. I have never been able to do even one chin-up; I remember being told I had to climb a rope in gym, couldn’t and the whole class was laughing, including the teacher.
    I’m very new to PB/paleo diet, just starting week three. Really happy with the way the eating part is going, losing weight, yet not hungry all the time.
    I’ve been trying to do the PB fitness program and I like two things especially : it’s short, and Mark gives me a way to work towards the higher level stuff I could never do if I was trying to do it all right now. Sure, I’m doing wall pushups, and making the two sets of the level one stuff is still beyond me, but now I’m looking at it as a continuum: I’m starting here, but I have the rest of my life to reach the goal. I’m not a failure just because I can’t do full push ups or chin ups right now. And the energy levels! I was pretty miserable last week, sneezy, runny nose and all that, but both my husband and son have commented on my activity levels. I was tired ALL the time on the standard diet, everything seemed like a huge, insurmountable chore. I had resigned myself that I would always be fat, tired and that was it.
    Now, I feel like I’ll be able to finally take charge, that I will change! I went on a short Memorial day trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and I could do all the walking! I even found myself thinking that hiking might be fun. The words “hiking” and “fun” have never in my entire life come to my mind in the same sentence. I got a really nice camera for Mother’s Day and when I was walking around, I wasn’t thinking “oh, when will this be over?”, I was just looking for that next picture. I think for me, this is going to be a key to walking a lot. It’s true what folks have been saying, you just have to find something you love and it’s no longer work, it’s a game.
    Keep trying, because I know I will. I finally understand why I failed all those other times-I was doing my best to follow “expert advice”, only I had the wrong experts. My new bucket item is to hike parts of the Appalachian Trail!

    BJML wrote on May 29th, 2012
    • BJML and others
      I’m new to this PB stuff myself (less than a month, just got the book) and have seen results. I’m down 10# and can see abs for the first time in my life. I’ve always enjoyed being active and I don’t have any dislike of exercise or working out. I found MDA from a link at MovNat while searching the web to try to figure out why my foot hurt last fall (stress fracture). What I needed was a major shift in workout thinking. I have been trying to train like I am still 18. I’m not, I’ll be 52 in July. I’m trying to change my thinking toward exercise so I can still enjoy playing with my children as they grow older. I have to stay in shape for work (PD) but I let the young ones do the chasing through back yards over fences, I’ll be waiting down the street to grab them (bad guys) when they clear the last fence…haha! Just last week I took the time to read the comments at the end of one of Mark’s posts. Wow, the support and good ideas from everyone was up lifting.
      Just two nights ago on my evening walk, my wife made our daughter go with me. Five minutes into the walk she asked what my favorite book was… “I don’t know, I like the one I’m reading now…” what followed was a 30 discussion of my (limited, but growing) understanding of the Primal Blueprint.
      Well, I’ll be quiet now. What started as a “great place, great ideas, great support” ended up bouncing over the left field fence into the weeds…
      @ Mark, thanks for this site!
      Fred

      FredS wrote on May 29th, 2012
  31. Just remembered this guest post I did on how to Zen-like on an indoor bike …

    http://bit.ly/z7eRVU

    It’s how I combine cycling and meditation – who knew they pair well together :-)

    Susan Alexander wrote on May 29th, 2012
  32. Er, get a dog…?

    Marcus wrote on May 29th, 2012
    • I’m allergic to them, and I don’t like the way they smell or act even if my allergy meds are working enough to deal with them.

      Now what?

      Awua wrote on February 16th, 2013
  33. Sometimes, just switching back to manual will do the trick: let go of those electronic thingies and do your own ______________. Vacuuming, gardening, scrubbing, washing the car, mowing the lawn (with a stripped-down model mower), washing dishes by hand, parking the as as far away from the front door as possible and walking to and from (great at stores), pushing the shopping cart up and down every aisle whether you need to go there or not (warehouse stores provide “resistance” in the form of crowds and 40 lb. cat litter buckets), taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and the like…or you could just ditch the TV and that alone will motivate you to find other things to do besides be a couch potato, since there’s now nothing to sit and stare at!

    With TV time freed up, you now have time to go our and do some of the things mentioned above.

    Here’s another one: next time you put gas in the car, use the island curb right next to you for stair-step exercises while you wait for the car to fill, instead of just leaning against the car waiting.

    Wenchypoo wrote on May 29th, 2012
  34. My daughter who also felt physically ill after strenuous exercise or continued exercise in the heat would always feel afterwards like something was off. She was ill tempered and emotional after sweating even. I always thought she was allergic to lactose or casein so we took it out of her diet because of severe gas and bloating. When other forms of diary or lactose free milk didn’t seem to help I took her in to get tested for food allergies. Afterwards, we realized it wasn’t lactose she was allergic to, it was lactic acid, the same thing your muscles secrete when you exercise and when you get overheated. We are currently trying to heal her with a combination GAPS/Paleo diet. It’s been a struggle and so far we haven’t been able heal her, although we are not done trying. I encourage people to think outside of the box when traditional answers/suggestions don’t work. Good luck to all on their primal journey!

    Leah wrote on May 29th, 2012
    • This is NOT medical advice. One can’t diagnose over the internet. However, I suspect your daughter may have an inborn error of metabolism involving glycogen storage. I suspect glycogen storage disease Type V, also known as McCardle’s disease. Because glycogen cannot be mobilized, gluconeogenesis (the ability to convert lactic acid back to glucose) is inhibited. In normal people, lactic acid can be circulated back to the liver and be converted back to glucose (the Cori cycle). In folk’s with McCardle’s this lactic acid cannot be converted and it stacks up causing ill symptoms.

      Find an endocrinologist who knows what this disease is for testing. If your daughter has this, dietary adjustments and ways of performing exercise that select for fat-buring may bypass this problem.

      Doug McGuff, MD wrote on May 30th, 2012
  35. Find something you like to do, just any movement. Walking, swimming, dancing, biking, climbing – whatever. I hated, really HATED, excercising. Just the thought of lifting weights in a gym och run made me sweat with disgust. Booooring. Sweaty. Did I say booooring!

    Then I managed to disconnect from the “I must excercise in order to get slim” and concentrated on enjoyment. In my case a daily swim. No timing, no specific amount of laps. Just swimming. Enjoying the rain or sunshine (outdoor pool), enjoying the movement of my limbs, the feel of the water on my skin, letting my thoughts wander. Best of all: no sweating. ;-)
    I get the same enjoyment from biking and walking and dancing. My keys are repetetive motion of sorts, preferably outdoors.

    Elena wrote on May 29th, 2012
  36. Here’s something else that can be an exercise hurdle: sleep apnea.

    http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=661104

    Just found this on the web.

    Wenchypoo wrote on May 29th, 2012
  37. Two things that are fun:

    DOG: makes you feel guilty if not regularly walked

    DANCING: traditioinal, out with a partner or

    DANCING: those computer/tv numbered steps you have to follow….can do alone, but fun and exercise.

    jill wrote on May 29th, 2012
    • Another person who just ASSUMES that everyone wants, likes or can abide a dog.

      Stop it.

      Awua wrote on February 16th, 2013
  38. I can relate to this. I usually invoke Mark Twain “Everytime I feel the urge to exercise, I sit down until it goes away.”

    rDunn wrote on May 29th, 2012
  39. I used to hate exercise and so I found something fun to do instead, that required exertion. Fell in love with hiking and that kept me in shape for years.

    Now my knees are kind of messed up and my hip hurts when I try to hike…sigh.

    Have to find something else that’s easier on the old joints.

    tagnash wrote on May 29th, 2012
  40. I definitely advocate the “play” for fitness angle.

    Find something fun, active, and more importantly, not regimented (i.e. it doesn’t feel like exercise).

    These days, I don’t “work out”, but I do “go outside to play” when the urge strikes me, just like when I was a (fitter) kid!

    Let your inner child be your personal trainer :)

    ArrGee wrote on May 29th, 2012

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