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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 28 2012

Dear Mark: I Hate to Exercise

By Mark Sisson
185 Comments

Many 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!

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185 thoughts on “Dear Mark: I Hate to Exercise”

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  1. If someone hates exercise, I think one of the easiest things to do is start “playing” instead. I once heard Mark say, “I do two hard workouts a week; they take anywhere from 17 to 35 minutes. I do one sprint workout a week. I fill the rest of the time in with play. I try to find ways that I can move my body to have fun; not to be staring at some LED readout hoping I get up to 475 to earn a bagel when I get home.” I imagine everyone has to have some forms of activities that they enjoy, whether it’s throwing a tennis ball with your dog, or walking around the mall shopping.

    1. I used to feel guilty for hating exercise, then I read ‘The Myth of Cardiovascular Health From Exercise’ and now I thoroughly enjoy avoiding exercise every chance I get!

      “The truth is that, at best, exercise slightly prolongs the time before a heart attack – it can’t and doesn’t prevent one.

      We are all told constantly that exercise prevents heart disease. WRONG.
      “The evidence is unassailable – coronary heart disease develops and progresses during training. Exercisers die of heart disease despite exercise.”1

      We are told that running to get the heart rate up is ideal exercise. WRONG. “Running injuries are especially common [particularly the knees]. If you weight 150 pounds then you endure over 100 tons of force per mile [through the knees, etc.].”2

      We are told that everyone is becoming unhealthy due to inactivity. WRONG. “ [Y]ou must be truly sedentary – a slug who sits or lies about all day long or barely crawls out of bed – to be at any risk from inactivity.”3 This is why house cats eating a proper carnivore diet maintain perfect weight and perfect health despite little activity and often despite sleeping virtually all day.

      We are told that exercise makes you live longer. WRONG again. “There is no relationship at all between activity and lifespan – none.”4”

      For more & to see the references cited just google the article title above.

      1. Well, who said the purpose of exercising was to save you from heart disease? If you eat unhelathy foods, nothing will save you from a bitter end. But eating healthy stuff is not enough for many. I want to be strong, muscular, functional and resilient. Moreover, exercise makes me feel good. Since I have a sedentary job, exercise helps me to prevent muscle and strength loss . And to the topic: I don’t think Mary wants to exercise badly. Matter of fact she hates the thing and is trying to convince herself, that she badly wants to do it. If I want something badly, then I go after it no matter what and everybody better get out of my way! So I would start first of all with being honest to myself. Ok, let’s admit I hate exercise and I don’t want to do it. What other ways are there to get into shape or stay in shappe without having to formally exercise? This is a starting point, and once Mary gets there, she will come to the idea of play. My wife hates to exercise too, but she loves to play badminton…

      2. Exercise and living longer may not work for some, but keeps leg circulation up. Main reason for me: muscle toning (wt lifting, pushups, etc) biking, tubing exercises.

      3. Exercise for the sake of exercise is boring. I’ve long detested anything approaching calisthenics. I’ve belonged to gym after gym over the years, always gung-ho in the beginning, then dropping out after a few months, bored to death with it.

        So what’s the answer? Obviously, it varies from person to person. For me it’s been a stationary bike in the living room. I don’t watch all that much TV because most of it sucks. However, finding some dumb program to focus my mind on while I pedal and do sprints on the bike seems to fill the bill. I can’t say I love it, but I don’t hate it either. You just have to find something that works for you.

        I once had a doctor who was basically all wet about a lot of things. She did however tell me one thing that I’ve never forgotten. She said, “If there is such a thing as a magic bullet, it’s to just keep moving.” That’s what I do. I walk, frequently climb the stairs in my 4-level house, ride my bike, park at the back of every parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator…and just keep moving. Otherwise I don’t worry about it any more.

    2. I hate to exercise, as well, and the only thing keeping the weight off is my diet- but I’m plateauing now and dreading the fact that I have to get into a routine. “Play” is exactly the thing keeping me active. I have to focus on something fun in order to get out and do something. Granted, I live 5 minutes from the beach, but I’m finding ways to get out like biking (on a cruiser, yes…), walking to the store, beach volleyball, and I’m looking into aerial fitness. Sounds fun, and that’s the only thing keeping me from sitting on my ass, so I’m okay with it. Do what is fun and “play”. Only way to keep yourself active. GL.

    3. I used to hate the idea of exercise too, was never any good at (nor interested in) sports at school. I dabbled in martial arts, but never took any physical activity seriously

      It was only after age 30 that a mate of mine got me in to rock climbing, then I found parkour, and renewed my interest in kungfu.

      So, I heartily agree with the idea of finding ways to make fitness FUN. It just requires trying some different activities. Playing with your kids or dog, catching a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee, orienteering – there are so many amazing ways to be active, just find what you enjoy, and forget about the dreaded “exercise”.

  2. I had a friend who once told me it should be easy for me to lose weight because losing weight involved “not doing something” and he said I was the master of “not doing anything”!

  3. I used to hate exercise. The whole time I couldn’t help but focus on how awful it felt; my breathing, every aching muscle. 5 minutes felt like an eternity.
    I learned I need either to play a game – like tennis – so I can focus on the game. Or else I watch tv while exercising. I put my iPad on my exercise bike console and I am sufficiently distracted.
    Recently I started doing bike sprints, and I love the idea of going all out for 30 seconds and then taking it easy. It’s easy to psych myself up for 3 min total of hard work! (30 sec x 6 sprints)

  4. Personally, the best piece of exercise equipment I have is a “Skipper”.

    Skipper has four legs and a tail. Skipper loves playing frisbie, catch, and just strolling through the neighborhood. I take Skipper out several times a day to walk or play. Skipper is always up for a good time.

    Skipper is also my security system, early warning system, alarm clock, constant companion, and friend.

    I’m convinced I’d be at least a year older if I didn’t have Skipper.

    1. I’ve found my Kali worked in the manner you described until she was about 12. Now she only wants to play for a maximum of five minutes, will only go on leisurely strolls instead of hikes, sleeps in when I get up in the morning, and lets me get the doorbell when it rings.

      Still wouldn’t trade her for the world, but exercise-wise, now that she’s 13.5 years young, I basically have to take her for her exercise then go do my own. Something for potential dog owners to take into consideration 🙂

      1. Rachel, thanks for sharing this. Whenever having a dog is mentioned as a great way to get exercise I want to discuss life with a very senior companion. (Not that I think there’s anything wrong with being active with a canine companion, there’s everything RIGHT with it. I just think its important to consider our companion’s entire life span.)

        I have a 16 year old border collie (vet says he’s equivalent to 96 years old in ‘human’ years). He loves his walks, but they are shorter in time, distance and pace. He is dead serious about stopping to smell ALL the flowers. 🙂

        It has taken me a while to get my head around going for walks without him, after 13 years of walking with him, heading out the door without him just felt wrong! I consider our time together to be fresh air and sunlight time, and a great inspiration about how I’d like to be when I’m old and creaky. 🙂

        1. Those of you with older dogs could do walking lunges and similar exercises if you DO want it to count for your exercise. I don’t think the doggies would mind. They may look at you funny.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly. I have Bill and Syd. They get me out in all weathers and knowing that they’re enjoying it so much makes me enjoy it too, even if I really didn’t feel like going for a walk, or playing with a frisbee. If it’s at all practical (but definitely not if it isn’t) a dog is the best incentive to playful exercise ever (and an amazing teacher in so many other ways too).

    3. Love this! I have a piece of exercise equipment named Brisa.

      The cool thing about Brisa is that she’s part Greyhound, so she hates to jog long distances and LOVES to sprint! She’s a fantastic motivator for me.

      1. Same with my drill sergeants, Araley and Dexter, only they’re full greyhounds. However, I’ve found that if I build them up throughout the spring, by the middle of the summer, we’re doing leisurely 10km walks with no complaints (provided we avoid the hottest part of the day and I bring plenty of water for them. Of course, carrying all that water also helps me. The downside is that they HATE the cold and so I have to find other ways to get moving in the winter – but the walk to the bus gets harder because of the snow and I can generally talk my husband into something like dancing that is sufficiently indoors and warm.

        To the original questioner – I think Mark’s fourth point has been the key for me. I HATE some forms of exercise – I can’t run (asthma), am a failure at biking (too long of legs and short of a torso means always taking a position that aggravates my asthma) and don’t enjoy most sports (no hand-eye/foot-eye coordination. I do love taking my dogs for walks and playing with them, swimming, dancing and cooking. All of these can be excellent ways to exercise without really noticing that you’re exercising (although with the cooking, I generally have to distribute my efforts at work so that I don’t eat it all, but that does mean all my co-workers love me for bringing in lovely treats a couple times a week). Sometimes you can even combine “work-outs” – I love to put on some music and dance around the kitchen while baking or cooking. In the end, though, it does the same for me that traditional work-outs would, only with more fun. Vigorously mixing or whipping something takes a lot of arm strength and I make sure to use both hands. Playing tug-of-war with my dogs works my core wonderfully. Dancing can really help work my legs. Swimming is pretty good overall. Because I enjoy it, though, I do it more often, which is the real benefit – even if it’s a little less work, if I do it four times to the once I’d do a regular work-out, I’m still doing more.

    4. +++++. I recently slowly lost my dog of 16+ years old age primarily and cancer and it has had a woeful impact on my activity level not to mention gutting me spiritually. Even when he was no longer active, he kept me active carrying him in/out of the house etc. The big take home for me is I *need* a dog. I am the quintessential dog person for sure.

  5. Hmm.. for someone who hates to exercise, I think the best recommendation is something that doesn’t feel like exercise–you don’t need a special outfit, a special place, or to sweat or suffer pain and fatigue.

    I’m talking about… WALKING. There was a great book many years ago called “The 200 Calorie Solution” by Martin Katahn, an obesity researcher in Nashville. He recommended increasing your activity by roughly 200 calories a day, or the equivalent of a 45-minute walk.

    Yeah, it’s not glamorous and doesn’t sound as “cool” as playing with tires or doing a WOD… but it WORKS.

    And the nice thing about walking is that you can do it fast or slow… wearing whatever comfortable shoes you like. Window-shopping counts!

    Plus, the discipline translates over to more strenuous workouts. If you can get yourself into mode where you walk 4-5 times per week for 45 minutes…. it starts to get easier to switch out one of those walks for a swim, or a short session at the gym, or some yoga.

    So my advice would be to start by walking. Nothing more. Just a short walk every day (or most every day). After a few weeks, move up to a 45-minute walk most days.

    And then over time, you can get fancy… work out less often, but harder… try different things… etc.

    1. This isn’t much different from what I read in French Women Don’t Get Fat. The author states that most french women despise gyms and instead look for easy, natural movements i.e. walking to market… walking anywhere really. Also, many will employ simple body weight movements for morning exercise that is neither strenuous nor complicated.

    2. You wrote everything I would advise – I couldn’t say it better. WALKING was how I started 25 years ago. Not cool: I pursued it in stealth off campus, but it started a revolution… Gosh, my husband still goads me about how I hated exercise so much at the start of college, and as a result was so out of shape, I couldn’t even walk up the hill on his street without resting!

    3. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing all along, but I didn’t know the science behind it! This makes so much sense to me.
      I used to be into crossfit, weightlifting and some running. Despite my fairly active lifestyle I had’nt been able to shed those pounds.
      Six months ago, I had to refrain from training due to (what else?) training injury, so I just started walking to work -about 40-60 minutes daily, sometimes much more, and usually carrying an 8-10 lb weight.
      Of course loss of appetite might have been a contributing factor, but within a month I lost about 5 pounds completely effortessly. I am pretty positive I haven’t loss muscle in the process, since I was doing A LOT of resistance training in physiotherapy.
      While on vacation, I swam, walked and/or hiked daily for 3 weeks, despite gorging on carbs.
      Now, I continue to walk 5 miles 3-4 times a week, I run or bike maybe once a week and do 30 minutes of (solo) strength training every day. I like this routine so much that I’m even considering quiting crossfit entirely!
      Also, I enjoy being active with my significant other: we hike, bike, run, and swim together, and we are now considering taking some wall climbing lessons as a couple.

  6. I hate exercise! Absolutely, unequivocally, with ever fiber of my being. The two main reasons are that the unrelenting teasing I endured as a child left huge emotionally-charged memories around it, and I sweat like a horse after the Derby (which grosses me out).

    But a little over a year ago, I decided that if I was going to get a dog (which I really, REALLY wanted to do), I would absolutely have to get over my deep-seated disgust.

    Enter Gruff, Feb. 2011. Ever since, I have walked at least 1 hour per day, 30 minutes in the morning and at least 30 minutes at night.

    I don’t really “enjoy” the exercise part in and of itself, but I get pure joy watching him love his walks and I will never deny him that. I have come to appreciate the cool breezes, the birdsong, and getting some sunlight for my Vitamin D needs. All of those things have worked as motivators for me.

    Like Mark said, you can’t let your workout buddy down!

  7. I passionately hate running. It has more to do with injuries and weight than anything else. I’m clumsy and accident prone and have torn up my ankles as a result. I used to like running as a child, more because I was fast and agile. Then came puberty and large breasts made running feel like I was counteracting a pendulum. I had drill sergents laughing at me (I was in the Army for 8 years) because my chest behaved as though it would knock me senseless when I ran. The right bra helped significantly but the compression of the bra not only compressed my chest but my lungs too – I don’t think people really take this into consideration.

    In high school for a senior project I took on learning Martial Arts. I got to explore several styles as really enjoyed how easy, simple, and structured it was. A lot of the learning was done at the students pace and advancement didn’t happen until the movements were learned.

    I tried the gym off and on for years but found it boring and more like people were just showing off or showing to others that they were exercising. I didn’t see people having fun or laughing. It was all deadly serious and emotionally draining. I could just hear people thinking thoughts of negativity (I wish I could look more like that guy, a few more reps and I’ll have worked off that candy bar, I wish my coworkers would notice all this hard work and say something nice tomorrow, etc.).

    Eventually, I found a martial art school that had a lot of variety and wasn’t focused on selling me self-defense (I had two brothers and had been in the military, I didn’t need it). I spent five years there and obtained a black belt. I hated sparring but I loved grappling. I loved learning new patterns and getting my body to move in ways I didn’t know it could (spin jump roundhouse kick?). It was so empowering to get to know my body. Grappling was by far the best class as I learned how to roll (this is hard for adults) and defend myself while on the ground on my back (reminded me of my brothers). I learned that it wasn’t about strength but leverage and that I could flip a 300lb guy with a flick of the wrist and a sweep with my leg. It was like pushing someone over when they were already off balance, easy. And the icing on the cake was making friends and hanging out before and after class.

    Find something you like, enjoy doing and is fun. It doesn’t have to be a traditional model of exercise.

    1. Wow, great imput! Thanks.
      I had the same problem with running, until I managed to lose some weight. I also find your description of the gym so true and hillarious. It’s pure misery in there. I only enjoyed my spinning class, sprints being my favourite part of the workout!

  8. Exercise makes me physically ill. Ten minutes of walking at a slow pace gives me DOMS to the point that I can’t walk at all the next day. Fifteen minutes of dancing (my favorite play) and I am nauseated to the point I can’t eat for the rest of the day. Serious exercise for more than fifteen minutes (especially in the heat) and I’m laid up with flu-like symptoms for three days.

    I do it anyway, the low-level stuff, and dancing a couple times a week because I keep hoping my strength will build up eventually and I’ll become stronger and able to do more. It’s been three years and I’m not seeing any improvement. But I do LOVE to dance.

    1. “Ten minutes of walking at a slow pace gives me DOMS to the point that I can’t walk at all the next day”

      Seriously?? Are you adequately hydrated when you walk?

    2. I just heard about exercise allergies – try some benadryl during or after and see it it eases?

    3. If you can do something you enjoy – or find (or at least try) something you enjoy, such as dancing or bushwalking/hiking, look at this as doing something you enjoy doing, don’t look at it as exercise. Find like minded people doing these and before you know it, a social event such as dancing or bushwalking will be enjoyable and you will be “exercising” without realising it. Start with something low impact. You don’t have start with olympic lifting or crossfit or puking up to be classified as exercising. Just find an easy way to move and do it often.

      1. Agree with the person who said balance issue. Nausea is usually ear related

    4. I think you might want to talk to a physician about your symptoms. You need to rule out an underactive thyroid, muscle inflammation (myositis), myasthenia gravis, vitamin D deficiency and a bunch of rarer things including lupus or a connective tissue disorder.

      1. Very good point. I can just relate to an underactive thyroid, but it gave me the exact same symptoms you’re suffering from right now.

        The point I was able to start exercising seriously was the day after my thyroid medication started. And btw, thanks to Primal eating I’m medication-free at the moment!

    5. I just posted about the same thing, happens to my daughter, we found she was allergic to lactic acid. We haven’t found a way of healing her body yet to reconfigure those brain signals to stop attacking the lactic acid, but I hear it can take years. We were told to avoid over exertion (exercise), sweating (heat), and all forms of lactic acid from diary and non dairy sources (basically found in processed foods, some deli meat, and some health products). Traditional medicine hasn’t worked for us, we are finding homeopathic solutions are working better for us. Good luck finding answers to your particular case!

      1. Just read your post, and I am really interested to hear how one would attempt to diagnose an allergic reaction or sensitivity to lactic acid. My daughter has always hated strenuous physical activity, but since she started a rigorous strength and fitness program as part of her regular high school PE classes, she is downright miserable most of the time, including prolonged periods of severe muscle aches, nausea during and immediately after exercise, and diarrhea for several days after severe muscle pain has subsided. I am starting to sort out food allergies (we know about lactose intolerance so far) , and I would like to include lactic acid in my explorations as to what’s going on.

  9. I went for a couple years on not liking exercise; even though I had liked it most of my life. One of the things that got me back into the groove was music. …lose yourself in your songs, and you will soon associate that feeling with working out. Also, this may not be Paleo/primal, but a big dose of caffeine (maybe 5 Hour Energy) right before a work out can give you the mental boost you need.

    Would love to see a follow-up from whomever wrote this letter on what worked or didn’t work.

  10. Even though it may take the fun out of it, if you think of it like a job it helps. You’re not going to just not go to your job for weeks or no call no show and expect to get “paid.”

    Also, personally I’m on an MMA team, so on my iPhone I put our team logo as my lock screen. Every single time I check my phone, I see it (and all of us iPhone addicts know that’s every 2 seconds); it’s constantly in my face. There are days I hurt or I’m tired or work stressed me out, but seeing that on my phone gets my butt there. Maybe put a motivational quote or picture somewhere you look often (phone, computer, mirror, etc.)-like a visual affirmation statement.

    Below are a few that I like and have on my phone for motivation:
    http://prettystylishgeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Triumph.jpg
    http://www.nexercise.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/exercise_motivation.png
    http://lazylizardworkout.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/workout-motivation2.jpg
    http://www.juliecheung.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/rest-that-is-earned1.jpg

    If you’re on facebook, add some of the fitness motivation pages that will post motivational quotes or images so whenever you’re sitting around on the computer, it’s again in your face.

    1. Really liked the last picture, the one that says “The only worthy rest is the one that you earn”. Makes me feel a bit spoiled!

  11. through meetup.com, i was able to find the following groups in my area:

    -trail running;
    -backpacking;
    -rock climbing; and
    -kayaking.

    all groups had events geared towards newbies and almost al events were free.

  12. I hated excercise after being pushed into competitive sports as a child, and being horrible at it. Which meant a string of verbal abuse from coaches and a few public ‘kicking out’ of the competitive activities. I grew up in Eastern Europe, where if you were not good at it, you got cut. There was no touchy-filly ‘sports for all’. When I started to work out to lose weight, I first had to fight the feeling of embarrassment and unease. But, gradually, I came to accept that, yeah, I am below average performer, but that’s Okay! I tried many, many, many things, and settled on the ones I love doing. I love barbell, I love kettlebells… I learned to run at the ripe age of 35 (!). It was the hardest thing i did, but now I run easily, one time a week for fun, on the trails, and one time – sprints. Other days I swim, go on an elliptical or a bike, walk, do whatever I feel like. Last week I bought inline skates. I crossed my drive-way three times so far. The main thing for me is to keep the attitude of: “I will do what I WANT and CAN do.” Many a day I employ the “Just go and stretch or go to the steam room” strategy. Meaning I go to the gym to do something pleasant, but normally the pump lifts me up, and I put in something fun. And if not… no biggie.

    Gym, in my view, is a huge thing. We have a wonderful rec facility in the neighborhood, and I know a lot of regulars, and it is fun to go.

    Another thing is to weave moving into daily schedule. Most days I do not drive to the bus station. I walk. Takes 30 min one way with hills. Beautiful during the sunrise!

    1. Same here. I was pushed into competitive sports (winter and summer) my entire life. Growing up in Europe isn’t as laid back and easy as it is in the US. In Germany, if you fail, there is no 2nd chance, no ‘sports for all’, no ‘everybody is a winner’ mentality. Same goes for jobs, when you need a college degree to get a job as a toilet scrubber, it’s pretty bad!

      My exercise is chopping wood, gardening, hiking, occassionally climb a tree, kick a ball around, walk my dogs and spending many hours in the kitchen preparing meals.

      I’m not the type that runs long distances.

  13. Most of my life was spent trying/avoiding exercise due to extreme nausea. I now do the weekly (for one year now-started at age 48) Body By Science of Dr. McGuff’s with a trainer and LOVE the results (along with Primal eating!). Lost 35 pounds in that year and after about 6 weeks no more nausea. They say it might have been an inability to offload CO2 during the workout, but my body has adjusted. I can’t say I “love” the workout, but I know it will be over in 15 minutes and it’s only once a week. I do sprints half-way through the week. Try it for a few weeks, and good luck!

  14. I would also add that as you experiment with different protocols and methods, don’t expect something to be perfect or to “fit” the first time you try it.

    When something is new, it’s easy to find it less enjoyable because you don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable doing it. Give yourself a chance to get comfortable with a movement or protocol before completely dismissing that it’s not for you. Soon you may find yourself enjoying it in your quest to master it.

    Best of luck.

  15. This rings a bell for me! I also hate exercising. I’ve tried, over the years, different ways of getting myself to exercise on a regular basis, but everything failed because it was EXERCISE. It got to the point where it made me angry to even think about getting on my treadmill or going for a walk around my neighborhood. It wasn’t fun, it didn’t feel good, I wasn’t seeing the benefit.

    Then I started hiking. I try to hike at least twice a month, but I go more if I can find the time and talk someone into going with me. My most frequent partner says she can tell how much stronger I am now than I was when we started.

    The difference is the focus. The treadmill was hateful because it was “good” for me, because I was supposed to be doing it. Hiking is about seeing something cool that you can’t get to by driving, being out under the trees, seeing the seasons change, hanging out with friends. It just so happens that I found something I love doing that also makes me stronger.

    I’ve started walking with my kids too, more recently. The neighborhood isn’t so dull with them in tow. I started because my son had been sick for a few weeks and I could tell how weak he’d gotten. I’ve already seen improvement in his endurance and my next plan is to start sprinting with him. Chasing down my ten year old (or making him chase me!) is more fun than grinding away on a treadmill!

    1. Great advice! I love hiking too, especially with the good company of my fiance and my dog.
      Have you tried moutain biking? It’s so fun! Get on a somewhat easy trail and the kids will love it. It’s such a great whole body workout. You can also try wall climbing or horseback riding lessons. Both are fun activities that engage the whole body and improve coordination and balance. Also, climbing a wall as a family teaches kids (and adults even!) the value of teamwork and cooperation. And horseback riding can be very therapeutic, as it allows you to get in tune with the psyche of another living creature, thereby discovering your own primal side.

  16. I hate exercise, too. I hate to sweat and something in my genes makes me sweat…. A LOT (my dad does,too). But, as with Jana, I found martial arts and it just speaks to me. I started at age 45 and got my black belt (in taekwondo) at age 48. I find martial arts to be very empowering for women especially. And I sweat, more than most anyone in my class, but I love it so I deal with it. The key is to just keep looking and trying things until you find something you love. Then you won’t feel like crying when you think of doing it.

    1. Absolutely. Dog is the perfect solution. You’ll have so much fun with your dog in the park! Adopt some lab-mix mutt from the pound and spend the next 15 years happily playing Frisbee. These mutts are just total love-bombs; you can’t help but feel great playing with them.

    2. And what about people who are allergic to dogs, or don’t like the way they act or smell?

      1. Then just don’t get a dog! You could adopt a different kind of pet, although you’d be hard pressed to find an animal who doesn’t act or smell weird.

  17. What was your experience with exercise when you were a kid? I spent all my school years dreading gym, being told I was clumsy and untalented, being punished every class with harassment or being picked last, yada yada. I spent all my summers and time off riding my bike, working my way through YMCA swimming lessons, and being totally not-clumsy. And then each fall it was back to the grind again and it’s really hard not to internalize that crap. It took me probably a decade of adulthood to shake it all off and just have fun. Turns out I’m pretty good at dancing. If you haven’t yet, try Zumba, or belly dancing. Both types of classes tend to be very welcoming of all sorts of bodies and filled with friendly women who also used to hate exercise so they totally “get it”.

    1. Totally agree about belly dancing! I hated gym/P.E. growing up, and was always a scrawny kid. After college I started belly dancing classes on a whim, and fell in love! It’s so much fun, and you really do get some good exercise at the same time.

  18. Hi,
    I cannot recommend martial arts enough! I started Tae-kwon Do about 3 months ago and have loved it since. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy, but it’s so rewarding. There’s the individual aspect (I have (almost) got abs now and am doing ‘grownup’ pushups for the first time in my life!), the competition (not just fighting, but who can go lower doing the splits, jump higher, kick harder, etc) and the team aspect (choose your school well – mine is like a second family now).
    We all encourage each other to come to classes, laugh (hard) when we fall down (also hard) and that makes it so much easier.

    I used to be ‘allergic’ to exercise myself, my friends and family can’t believe that the same slob who used to avoid walking even 5 metres and faked no end of medical problems/forgotten kit for PE lessons now can’t wait for the next class!

    You just have to find the right type of exercise for you (but obviously Tae-Kwon Do is the best, haha)

    1. I was in a great tae kwon do class i loved to go twice a week. and i also developed abs, could start doing real pushups and from all the stretching and movement could finally touch my toes. i moved out of the area unfortunately. i joined up a gym but reading this reminded me of my tae kwon do days – highly recommended!!

  19. If you want to exercise to lose weight, it’s not an effective method for fat burning. Exercise just makes you hungrier and may increase cravings for sugars and starches (muscles get depleted of glycogen during strenuous exercise).

    ‘Exercise’ is good for an endorphin release and for building muscle, but not necessarily the corner stone of health, maybe sorting the diet first (if that’s a problem) may make you more inclined to move.

    Why not just walk a little more, or do a physical activity you enjoy and don’t think of as exercise e.g. dog walking, horse riding, bowling, having a go on a dance machine. Even doing house or working in the garden can be a form of exercise. Just being more active in general will work wonders for you health. You don’t have to do a sport to exercise or do anything fancy, you could just move more.

  20. I hated exercising when I was younger , I liked doing push ups, sit ups and pull ups and riding my bike and exploring the forest and playing catch and badminton and basketball and going to the driving range but exercise forget it.

    What I really hated was running in circles for 20 mins (a la gym class) , this was what I though “exercise” was.
    Can we play dodge ball yet ? No, more running in circles MUhahahaha!!!

    And since I’ve learned to run better I like doing that too.

  21. I’ve always loved exercising, for me it is the reward for eating right.

  22. I do simplefit: http://www.simplefit.org/ this is highly motivating because when you are good enough, you “level up”. It is also a very effective workout: just about 40 minutes a week. I’ve been doing this for half a year now, with great results.

  23. It took me until this year to enjoy exercise in and of itself. I can’t really explain why I now like it, only that I never did before and now I do.

    I found a sport I enjoy, after trying and disliking many others. Maybe that’s the key for Mary? She might hate jogging or frisbee, but like yoga or dance. Maybe she’ll enjoy trying tai chi or aikido. I tried soccer, ballet, softball, basketball, volleyball, all the other things they make you do in grade school, and not until I tried weightlifting (and yoga) was I happy.

    Or just downloading audiobooks and walking while listening to them. I love that. If I want to hear the book, I have to be moving.

  24. Probably the best motivator I’ve found to date is the Fitbit. It’s a tiny device that you keep in your pocket and monitors your daily movement. It works by showing you that you’re getting exercise even by running around town doing errands and via social technology turns movement into a game of sorts. Also, that which we measure, improves.

  25. People with chronic fatigue syndrome develop flu-like symptoms after exercise. Heal your adrenals and boost your immune system before attempting to exercise – if it makes you sick, don’t do it! 90% of body composition is what you eat. Focus on eating well, getting enough sleep, and less stress.

    1. I had this thought, too. Perhaps some people hate exercise because it literally makes them feel sick? The recommendation for CFS sufferers is to find an amount of light exercise (walking) that they can do without feeling sick – and this might be just 60 seconds! – and build up very, very, very slowly.

      Also, if someone is very overweight, it might make sense to do relatively little exercise until some fat comes off, to spare the joints (though some walking or swimming should be OK).

    2. True.

      All other reasons aside (CFS, overweight, etc.), one big thing is not to feel guilty about not liking exercise. Many people go through their entire lives and live to be 100 in good health without ever ‘exercising’ at all.

      If exercise is just mind-numbingly boring and distasteful, try (as many others here have suggested) a non-formal-exercise activity like walking, and DON’T focus on the walking, but rather take pleasure in your surroundings…focus on the world external to your body: the sun, the breezes, the birds, your neighbors’ unkempt yards, etc.

  26. I agree that “play” is the best way to get past the exercise blues! Or “learning a new skill.”

    Dance like an idiot when no one is watching, pick up a hula hoop, get a copy of “Jugging for the Complete Klutz,” learn to shoot a bow and arrow or throw knives or ride a horse or sail a boat…there are so many ways to be active that don’t feel like “exercise.” The trick really is just to find something you’ll actually stick with, whether it looks like traditional exercise or not.

    (And juggling really is a whole lot of fun!)

  27. I HATED exercise. I am sure due to being a book worm child who dreaded gym class as if I was being led to the firing squad.

    But at 30, I started looking for something to do that *I* would enjoy. I started with a trainer. Someone who would work with my level of fitness (which was couch potato) After awhile, you get good at some things. And then you want to try others. I tried tons of stuff. I always chose smaller companies/gyms where I felt I could tell them I was new, not an athlete, not a runner, etc. The key is to go in with a good attitude and TRY.

    Now? Boxing is my love. And I am not even a thin girl! It took 6 or 8 years of trying new things to find the one thing I HAVE to do in the week.

    1. Hi Meredith, I also hate exercising and am something of a bookworm, and my personal favorite thing to do is to do a brisk walk on my treadmill for about 80 minutes a day and limit myself to reading only during that time, or after 9pm (I use a kindle).

      Doing this has helped me endure the exercise, lose weight, and overall feel better about myself and I feel less resistance to getting on the treadmill (though I’d be lying if I said that initial inertia resistance didn’t still exist lol).

      It isn’t high intensity, but im burning 800 or so calories a day 6 days a week, and I love it!

  28. I have always liked to exercise, but for me it was something I did as a “duty”: I had to complete some number of reps/weight a day (or week), run some miles, etc. If I did not do that I felt I had to “pony up” and had the feeling I was slouching. Not anymore. I am looking forward for my two high intensity workouts a week (almost always under 20 mins) and one sprint session a week (15 mins tops). I have spare time to do yoga and pilates classes at work and leisure bike commute to work (30 mins each way). Happy as a clam!

  29. I think Mark is right, you need to review your past to find out why exercise is such an issue. Then you need to find an activity you enjoy, as repeated several times, you just need to move. It doesn’t have to be group, organized, or even goal oriented. Exercise, can just be cleaning the house. If you are blessed with messy children, you can probably get all the exercise you need just trying to keep the house organized and clean.

    1. I hate exercising! the ONLY possible exercise I will like is swimming.. how’s that for an opening statement? and as for messy children.. I’ve got em.. and a messy slob of a spouse too.. but he says cleaning the house isnt exercise. Well I’m not a gym person.. I am not a lift weights person.. I dont like running and i’m not into just taking long walks by myself. in short, I do not want to exercise.. I loathe it.

      Went into early menopause 6 years ago at age 42.. ever since then have had trouble keeping weight off but yet, I’m not obese. .. just a good 20 to 25 lbs overweight and I hate that as well. I eat the RIGHT foods.. I do not eat foods that are bad for me whatsoever but every now and again may have something sweet.. or God forbid a handful of potato chips.

      I’m 5 ft 7 inches and well..I cannot seem to get down below 163. If I could lose 25 lbs that would be great, but I can tell you it’s not going to come from exercising because I about hate it with a passion!

      and as for the past ?? well when I was in junior high school.. I had this teacher, Mr. Chambers.. and he MADE us run 40 laps around the gym every other day.. I freaking hated it.. hated getting all sweaty and then have picture day just after gym class? um no thanks.

      I am 48 years old now, and again.. did I mention I freaking hate exercise ?? the only exercise I will do is swimming that is IT. I live on a second floor.. and if you ever had to make about 5 trips back and forth up 20 steps to get groceries.. that has to count for something. I hate exercise, oh and by the way? I freaking hate exercise! I’m just NOT into it at all whatsoever!

  30. A bicycle was my salvation. I do a leisurely 15 miles 5 or 6 mornings a week and enjoy the outdoors. If I, at 84, can do it most anyone can. Oh, and Paleo is my other salvation.

  31. You know i used to be her i hated exercise i never got the high afterwards either.. but it was because i was trying to force myself to do a gym like routine that didn’t suit me. I have now found that i love doing Pilates going on long walks and cycling to work every now and then. I say be patient and try different things and i agree having a workout partner or someone who can just be a support to you helps a great deal! Good luck and don’t give up hope <3

  32. I am struggling with exercise because I have sleep apnea (partly because of diet brainwashing and the resulting weight gain). At this point, I could not lift a weight to save my life. But I can walk, pull weeds in the garden, do leg lifts, simple stretching exercises, wall pushups . . . I’m still tired after doing this stuff, but I feel a better kind of tired.

  33. I jogged with a partner for years. Unfortunately, it wrecked my knees. I always liked to dance, and that’s out too.

    Enter resistance exercise, done to rock music! The beat keeps me going and produces better results in a half-hour than endless cardio.

    Keep looking for the perfect combination of ingredients! You’ll find it.

  34. can emphasize completely with mary (mirror neurons flashing wildly…)

    i have dealt with it by finding a short but demanding run or bike ride that i try to do each day or every other day and make it interesting each time i do it – i now live in the swiss countryside and with spring arriving, it’s not hard to get out and enjoy such a (brief) activity telling myself how good it is for me to get the motivation up – i find repetitive exercise boring as h*ll and although i have weights, i have to develop the same strategy – short, exerting sessions that i can bow out of when i (quickly) get bored –

    seems to work though! 57, 170lbs, 6’1′ frame and still going healthy and strong–

  35. Well I don’t excercise as such, however I make a point of choosing a self-powered task over a mechanised one. Bus or bike into town? bike of course. Lift or stairs up to the 5th floor? Stairs! Electric food processor or big stone mortar & pestle to puree food? Letter to post – sprint to the post box and back instead of leaving it for tomorrow’s trip out. Also, I find these things much more fun. It is much more exciting to power yourself along the street than sit passively while a machine does the work…

  36. I don’t want to make a monthly gym payment, so I find reasons to simply walk. Walking to get food or find a reason to explore a different part of town. I can fulfill my need to be outside without associating it with work. Plus, you save money on gas 😉 Walking a little bit more works your way up to walking faster and further and being able to explore slowly. It’s quite lovely.

  37. If what you need is to find a way to play, consider buying a handheld GPS unit and take up geocaching. These are treasure hunts. You start with fairly easy hunts then graduate to harder ones as you develop skills. You register your finds on-line which can help keep you motivated. Besides, it’s fun! You can do it alone or in groups. Treasures are hidden all over the world. Check it out at geocaching.com.

    1. There is also letterboxing, same idea, but with written clues, sometimes obvious, (sometimes not!). Letterboxing.org is a good place to start, but by no means the only one. Some sites give difficulty and/or length of the hike in the box descriptions.

      And this reminds me that it’s time to figure out where our stamps and logbooks went in the move last year, and see if I can get the girls and the husband out moving with me this summer.

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

    1. 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

  43. 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.

    1. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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 ..

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

  51. 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!

  52. 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.

  53. 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

  54. 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.

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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 😀 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.

  58. 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…

  59. 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!

  60. 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…

    1. 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?

      1. Dairy doesn’t seem to bother me the way grains do. I already have significant joint deterioration so diet can only do so much.

  61. 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

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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!

    1. 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

    1. 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?

  68. 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.

  69. 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!

    1. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

    1. Another person who just ASSUMES that everyone wants, likes or can abide a dog.

      Stop it.

  72. I can relate to this. I usually invoke Mark Twain “Everytime I feel the urge to exercise, I sit down until it goes away.”

  73. 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.

  74. 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 🙂

  75. I hate and loath exercise, and I think that stressing out and feeling guilty and trumping up reasons in order to force myself to do it is complete crap. For me, the only reason to exercise would be if I enjoyed it, and since I most definitely do not, I do not do it.

    I do eat primal, though, because it is so thoroughly enjoyable to m e in all ways.

    Oh, and btw, check out something called “motivational anhedonia”.

  76. I hate exercise too. But mostly, I hate it because it is BORING. Boring and pointless. So I strive to incorporate as much *functional* movement into my day as possible: bike to work; clean house with elbow grease instead of harsh chemicals; cook with cast iron; that kind of thing. I also have a standing computer desk at home.

    Okay, and I also do the Body By Science protocol for “real” exercise. I can hate 12 minutes a week in return for increased health and longevity.

  77. I used to hate hate hate exercise too, because exercise hated me. Light exercise like walking on flat ground was fine, but any sort of hill-climbing, or running, or bike pedaling above a low cruise, and my muscles would be BURNING and my lungs would be GASPING within five to ten minutes. I live at the top of a big, steep hill in San Francisco, and I used to have to pause and rest once every block on the way up, sweating and feeling like I was going to die. I would get back to my house and cry.

    Once I went primal, though, things automatically became a lot better. Sure I lost weight which made exercise easier, but right away I noticed that it just didnt hurt so much anymore. The first thing I noticed was that my muscles would get still get tired and sore, but they no longer BURNED after the slightest effort. Also breathing was easier, so i felt like I was oxygenating better, which gave me more energy. Soon I was climbing up my hill in half the time, and now I can climb all the way up, non-stop, while holding a conversation.

    I feel like this change has allowed me to “reset” my expectations for exercise, overcoming all the terrible memories I have of it growing up, and allowed me to learn to enjoy it much better.

  78. Exercise used to make me really tired for days (or weeks) and never made me feel even slightly good. I hated it and for the most part just *couldn’t* do it. Then I found out I was high in heavy metals. I got rid of those and the world is an entirely different place.

  79. “Exercise” stinks, it should be considered a four letter word. But hiking, walking, bicycling, chasing the dog or kids, scrambling, kayaking, canoeing, those are FUN. If I have to do a few push-ups, pull-ups, squats and sprints so that I can do the fun stuff, I do it. Sometimes with gritted teeth, but I so enjoy the strength and stamina I have now compared to a year ago…well that’s all the incentive I’m needing. Now most times the fun takes the place of the “Exercise” and it’s win/win. Hang in there and do it for yourself. You’re worth it.

  80. Here’s a question. What would you recommend for someone who is a small girl who has asthma, lives in the desert where it is over 100 degrees for half the year, and can’t afford to go to the gym? I have free weights in the house but that’s it.

  81. I’m 32 as of now, and for a large part of my life(from my teens till about 27), i’d lost track of how good exercise felt and the numerous advantages it brought to one’s body.

    I got a good job in 2007, and what the hell- thought i’d rather spend the extra cash at a gym instead of a bar.

    Three months later- that’s when it happened. I saw the sexiest woman in the office checking me out when she thought i wasn’t noticing!

    vainglorious, i know. But i haven’t missed very many workouts since then. I’m now healthy, happily married and settled down with one child and another on the way.

    we all have our own motivations.I do hope Mary finds something she likes and starts her own journey.

  82. Sometimes, we hate exercising such as jogging or yoga. In times of hating them , don’t you know that in return of this is the worst? Think of that.

    _MEL

  83. The primary reason I hate exercising is because it inflicts pain and suffering to my body in the form of exhaustion and muscle soars. I especially get a piercing pain to my throat when I get out of my breath (am I the only one who gets this?). For me, the idea of making exercising enjoyable is like trying to enjoy getting whipped or getting beaten with a stick. Sure there is some level of “high” after exercising, but the pain is much greater than the reward.
    Does anyone have a similar issue regarding exercise pain? So many people have told me “no pain, no gain,” but to that I always reply “so much pain, so little gain. Simply not worth it.”

  84. As a former “personal trainer” I second importance of the “Try Different Modalities” bit. Once upon a time I dogmatically pushed weight training (and a specific kind of HIT, no less) upon all and sundry; I have since come to appreciate how important it is that people enjoy their chosen form of exercise, that psychological needs are as important as physiological benefits, and that usually, something is better than nothing…

  85. I was born in Europe and have lived both there and also in Japan. So as an American I’ve seen what life is like in three different cultures.

    The one thing people do and DO a lot overseas is either walk or ride a bike. Driving is nice but it’s a luxury.

    When living in Japan I would walk after working hours and wander everywhere. Up and down hills and simply explore every corner for something special. It was an adventure. If I was really in a hurry I’d take a bike.

    Never did own a car and couldn’t because they were just too expensive to keep. Needless to say I was in great shape and never exercised outside of that simple regimen at all.

    Fast forward to today and I’m down nearly forty pounds from a terrible lifetime high of 228 and should be losing another ten within a month. All through simply not eating the usual pastas, chips and such. All without exercise and all within four months.

    I had to see what diet change alone would do BEFORE throwing exercise into the mix or I’d never be certain which of the two was the greater factor. Now by adding a simple exercise such as walking the weight should fall off even faster.

    More important than anything has been the conscious “decision” that enough was enough. Just looking at photos from last Christmas and I was horrified at what I’d become. “No more!”, I’d said.

    You’ve got to want it because the excuses will only keep you where you don’t want to be. Been there, done that, and don’t want that anymore. So maybe the best exercise is to exercise your will.

  86. I exercise for about 40 minutes at a session on an elliptical trainer. I’ve always made sure to do this at a gym that’s up in the air 4 or 5 stories with the machine facing so that I can look out the windows at the view.

    And while I’m doing it, I listen to my some of my favorite uptempo music – songs performed by a great “girl” group of the 1930’s called the Boswell Sisters (a trio). I have just their uptempo songs collected onto a playlist on my iPod. Listening to these good, uptempo, upbeat generally positive sentiment songs really energizes my exercise session and makes it easy to go uptempo myself for 40 minutes. I’ll start doing more sprints soon too.

    Good luck.

  87. I too hate to exercise, but at age 46 have decided it’s that, or continue this slow, steady weight gain that started about a year and a half ago. I was sooo excited to learn about Body by Science, which Mark recommends in this blog. I am reading the book now and can’t wait to get started lifting!! If I can work out once a week for about 20 minutes and have all the benefits with little to no risk of injury, I’m all over it. I think this is finally the answer to end my loathing of exercise, and I plan to be in the best shape of my life!!

  88. Eight years ago, at age 47, I learned to ride a motorcycle. A big, heavy, touring bike that required some strength. I was reasonably strong to begin with, but found it difficult to keep up with my burly husband. I started “training” in a gym to increase my stamina. I continue to increase my strength, which makes exercising more interesting. The stronger I get, the better it feels. Finding a good trainer has made a big difference too. I interviewed several to find one I thought could show me good form and strength. The motivation is still to increase stamina so I can ride well, and leave my husband in the dust…

  89. I hated exercise, until I started doing it. I started with water aerobics and then got a personal trainer for weight training and cardio. That was six years ago. I lost 130+ pounds and felt great, even though both knees degenerated continuously. The exercise slowed the degeneration. Six months ago I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia, and too-fast heart beat. I had three heart procedures but none worked. Now my doctors say I cannot raise my heart rate, even moderately, because of medication I take to prevent heart failure and blood clots. I cannot take pain killers for my knees because they interfere with my heart meds, and any surgery is now off limits until my heart problems are under control with no blood thinners needed. My clothes are getting tight and I am miserable. I’m still following the food plan that allowed me to lose the 130 pounds, but without exercise the weight is creeping up. I miss the exercise I once despised. My point is that no matter how much you think exercise is torture, if you’re heart healthy (check with your medical professional) there’s always some form of it that you can enjoy. It takes effort to change the mind set, but getting in the “move” mode more often pays off in the long run. I miss my exercise now and wish I’d taught myself to enjoy it earlier, when I could still do it.

  90. I very much dislike exercise for its own sake. I’ve never enjoyed running, walking, cycling, etc. . . for their own sake.

    On the other hand, I am quite athletic and I VERY MUCH enjoy soccer, basketball, cycling trips (took one from San Fran to San Diego), flag football, tennis, etc. . .

    The competition aspect of the sports is what makes exercising through sports appealing to me – and even in the cycling trip, we were a small group of 7 cyclists competing to see if we could get from point A to point B quicker than other small groups of cyclists.

    If the exercise doesn’t have a competitive aspect to it, it’s hard for me to stay interested for very long. For certain people, focusing on that aspect will help you stay in shape or get in shape.

    BTW, I was 5’4″, 135 pounds, 8% body fat at college graduation. 18 years later at age 40, I’m 5’4″, 142 pounds, but probably closer to 12-13% body fat.

    Obviously, I need to tone up a bit as I’ve gotten flabby. However, I’ve basically been able to eat pretty much whatever I want to eat (in moderation, of course) and my exercise has typically been 1 or 2 sessions a week of an hour or so – typically soccer, but sometimes other things. I usually take the stairs (when I’m going less than 3 or 4 floors) and it doesn’t bother me to park 100 yards from the front of the Wal Mart.

    Also, I have a LOT of nervous energy – my wife is always telling me to stop shaking my leg and such.

  91. This is me. Kinda.

    I’m autistic. This causes me to be a number of things: –

    Social-phobic
    Demo phobic

    I can’t interact with people as neurotypicals can. I’m back at my folks at the moment and when they’re around I’m forced to stay in my room; not because they command I do so (that would be stupid – I’m nearly 40!) but because there’s something inside me which prevents me from going downstairs when they’re around (and that’s 99% of the time). I can’t leave because I’ve nowhere to go. They promised to find me someplace to live. They lied. They don’t get me at all! I don’t DARE go downstairs because I can’t cope with them ‘getting’ at me all the time. I have to wait until they’ve gone to bed to eat real food (I’m subsisting on caseinate and MCT shakes flavoured with cocoa).

    I used to follow PF. Got really good at it. Really enjoyed it. Like I think I’ve said before, my crowning achievement was sprinting 500m carrying my own weight (the only WOW I’ve ever accomplished). My BF% dropped from 25 to 15.

    Then my thyroid went nuts. Again. When I weighed 336, it got lazy, now it’s like Usain Bolt on speed! I’ve lost all the muscle I built up, I’m chronically bloated (how do you think that makes me feel…? I was a svelte 0-2; some days I’m so swollen I have to dig around to find my old 6-8 stuff (sometimes even 8-10!). I keep telling myself I’m not getting fatter (though I guess I must be as the muscle I’ve lost has gotta be replaced by something!)

    Thing is, the hyperthyroidism is a self-diagnosis. If you looked up the symptoms, I’m absolutely 100% textbook. Tick every one. There’s just one problem – and it’s a biggie – I’m British, and, over here, we don’t have enlightened medical bods; every GP I’ve seen blames my diet (which is more low-carb than Palaeo these days, due to my transient existence – it’s hard to cook up a nice juicy hunk o’ cow flesh when you’re living out of hotel rooms! I’m consuming WAY too much cow juice. Dread to think what my O3:O6 ratio is – and the O3 caps they sell over here are crappy – in order to get a decent-sized dose, you’re looking at – very nearly – a bottle a day!)

    Anyway, I’m a crappy liar. If a doc asks me what my diet’s like I’m NOT going to lie and say I’m eating low-fat and making sure I’m getting the recommended 8-12 daily servings of whole grains – why the heck should I…?! I know I’m right and they’re wrong! So my swollen torso and belly are blamed on the fact in in denial about gaining weight due to my high-fat diet (I actually look like I’ve got a wheat belly – frustrating for someone who’s been grain-free for 6 years!). My bowels actually fill up really fast too, which makes it worse. My hips can expand to a size 6 really fast, but my waist is stil a 0, my knees are swollen, basically my once-toned-and-honed body is a complete mess!

    I eat at night, because eating exhausts me (as soon as I’ve eaten I want to sleep). Consuming the shakes doesn’t appear to have the same effect as real food.

    Basically I can’t get my thyroid tested because I can’t get past the diet stumbling block.

    Anyone any advice…? I’m NOT exercise phobic – I miss my PF, but when you don’t have any energy and you’re fighting – and losing – a battle with your head, what do you do…?!

    HELP!

    1. I don’t know why you can’t get your thyroid tested. If you went to a decent Dr in the UK and said you were worried your thyroid was overactive, and had symptoms to suggest that it was, they would send you for blood tests. If you’ve had a different response, I would try another GP.

  92. Haha this post is awesome! I am one of those people who doesn’t love exercise, I don’t hate it but it always feels like a chore I have to do. Cutting back to more intense short workouts has made a big difference in motivation; I can commit to 30 minutes a few times a week and I am not exhausted for days afterwards. I also walk as much as possible which I love to do.

  93. Great post! I agree with the point you made about the different steps you need to take to exercise and become healthy. One thing I’ve found to be extremely helpful and useful as a supplement to my current diet/exercise plan is Fullbar (www.fullbar.com). Their gummies and bars help curve my hunger, help me with portion control and keep me from consuming more calories than I really need.

  94. I feel just like Mary! I hate movement that is designed, purposely, to be “exercise.” What I do love is DANCING! The dance class I’ve found nearby that is least like “exercise” is Jazzercise — not too much “now this next move is for working the quads” and that kind of thing, just joyful movement and fun music! I’d love to find a dance class with more complicated choreography, too. If I could find 5 or 6 like-minded people, I’d ask a local dance studio teacher to start an adult class for us, choreographing fun routines for us and teaching them to us once or twice a week. We could do them on our own outside of class. Also, I like to put on the theme from “Mortal Kombat” and pretend to beat up my sister using karate moves I vaguely remember from lessons in college; that is a very good workout.

  95. My challenges with exercising…
    -lack of funds, lack of time, lack of space at home.
    -old injuries(mainly shoulders) make it difficult to go further with a regiment than 2 weeks before getting discouraged or re-injured.
    -I don’t want to lose weight(I like weighing 175, as opposed to 115 when graduating in 2004), I would rather focus on building muscle and feeling more healthy. Old injuries make this tough.
    -being fit came naturally in high school. As a wrestler, I would only work out during the season and could do nearly anything I wanted to do, plenty of push/pull ups, decent at distance running/sprinting, could walk on hands across a football field, and benched 200 while weighing 103, among other things.

  96. I think I hate exercise because it hurts me so much. I never get the exercise high. I have Fibromyalgia. I get muscle fatigue from just blow drying my hair or walking into the house from the garage carrying a few bags. I’ve been trying to work in our garden with my hubby and I get muscle cramps in every known muscle. Mainly, in my feet/arches. I did figure out that walking barefoot in the garden makes them feel the best (imagine that).

    Don’t get me wrong. Compared to others with Fibro, I am super woman. I work over 80hrs a week (we own a business that I will quit when I’m done with school) and I go to school, almost full time. I am also primarily responsible for all of the cooking and cleaning. I’m almost 47 years old and people can’t believe that I do more than most “young” people. But repetitive, hard on the muscle stuff just doesn’t work for me. Some say “can you walk”. Yes, I can, but the next day I hobble like an old woman. One “idea” behind the muscle aches is that Fibro patients have an excess build-up of lactic acid.

    It’s terribly frustrating to read how great exercise is, how much it makes you feel better, when all I can equate it with is pain and suffering. Before I was diagnosed, I was getting Physical Therapy for Sciatica, but also had Fibro and the PT actually MADE FUN of me because I couldn’t do the repetitions she was requesting of me. Telling me that even old people do more than I do.

    Just wondering if there will ever be any hope for someone like me?

  97. after my teens, i hated exercising and at 25, i rolled my eyes at my friends who wanted to go for a run (ick, boring!). then i went snowboarding one day. and what a hook! i got a season’s pass and would go 4 times a week. all of a sudden i had muscles in my legs and my torso. awesome!
    summers made me sad, because i was not snowboarding, and a friend mentioned mountain biking and how it was a similar feeling. so, voila, i start mountain biking! and then yes, summers were awesome too!
    these two sports stirred something in me…they made me athletic. the girl who hated to sweat became athletic.
    and years later, i know that i crave a sport with a feeling of exuberance in order to exercise- having the exuberance, the play, makes it about having fun, and the good part is that i’m exercising and challenging my body and gaining strength and i just want more and more and more. my old friends can not believe that at 45 i can keep up with a 30 year old…and i don’t even try.
    YOU CAN TOO! and it won’t be a burden. i promise. just stay off the treadmill!

  98. I find exercises where I not only feel good after, but during. Being active should feel fun and rewarding.

    A new playlist always inspires me to get moving. When I hear a new song I love, I throw it on the iPod, inserting it sometimes 5-6 times on one playlist, and take a long walk. But I do, however, love to walk.

    When I want to reward/bribe myself to do an exercise I hate, like sprinting, I make sprint days my dark chocolate days. Indulging in a square of 80% dark chocolate feels heavenly after an intense sprint sesh (and a shower).

  99. I’m fine with exercise as long as it is walking or lifting weights.

    It’s playing I hate. I wish I could think of an activity that would be considered playing that I’d actually like. Everything I can think of seems dangerous and scary to me. (Yes, throwing around a frisbee would send me cowering in fear)

    1. I had a tough time finding my “play”, too, especially living in a colder and snowier climate. We have taken up bowling. It’s a pretty great “starter play” for me that doesn’t have me yelling “Not the face!” and covering my eyes.

      1. I also live in a colder and snowier climate! It does make it harder to find “play”! 🙂

        I’ve never thought of trying bowling… and it’s not that expensive either. Good idea for starter play!

  100. Recently I’ve been getting most of my exercise by climbing and also carrying food, water, and supplies. I climbed on top of the local library a few times. The first time I put my back to the building very close beside it and used my hands and feet to climb between the walls, then climbed down using the same method.
    Another way was climbing up a spot where two walls form a right angle and the exterior is jutting, rough bricks.I put my hands and feet on their respectable sides of the wall and laddered. One way to get down is to climb a tree that lives right beside the building.

  101. Not particularly in the mood to exercise? Don’t have time, or not in the ideal place like a gym or out doors? No problem. I get maximum benefits of exercise with the least amount of time spent, with a form of exercise that I feel is the most beneficial of all choices, and easily obtainable in many places I happen to be. How? I stair climb. Just a few minutes gets me huffing and puffing for a decent workout, and I’m done. I find stairs everywhere – at the library, various public places, in office buildings while waiting for an appointment, where I work, etc. (I use the fire escape stairs when possible, for more privacy and less self-consciousness.) Or find a bit of a hill in a park or trail and do a few circular up and down walks or runs). Here’s why climbing stairs or hills is superior. The obvious: It consumes a lot less time to get the heart really pounding than walking on a level surface, burning a decent amount of calories in the process, thus it’s a time saver. According to the American Council on Exercise, stair climbing is a complete body workout and burns more calories than other exercises. The not obvious: Climbing has been shown to add density to bone mass just about better than any other form of exercise. And climbing down actually provides unique benefits to your body and muscles that you don’t get from most other exercises. Tip: build your endurance up gradually by increasing time or number of flights (you may eventually find yourself running up and down the stairs, which can be very exhilarating); don’t hunch your shoulders while climbing; and don’t do it to excess. For people with osteoarthritis, weak knees, quadriceps, and hamstrings, it may be best avoid this type of exercise or be very careful in easing into it. By the way, not that we care, some elite athletes and celebrities (Alex Rodriguez and Madonna, for example) consider stair climbing one of their favorite forms of exercise.

  102. Hi, I’ve been reading this blog for about 2 months or so and it made me start going primal. I’ve lost about 10kg (around 5kg a month) with a modified primal diet and an exercise regime that I follow. This is my first comment and sorry about my English, it’s not my first language 🙁

    I had the same problem with exercise (made me cry just THINKING of moving). I also think that I was born to detest gyms (tried it twice and failed spectacularly. Complete waste of money). I hated running with a passion that is borderline crazy (still hate it). I find that weightlifting, treadmills, even hiking doesn’t stimulate my mind while working out. I needed something that would make me think, something that would engage both my physical and mental abilities in order for me to feel good doing it.

    Being a fan of fighting games, what I did was I signed up for martial arts. I’m currently doing Muay Thai (kickboxing) 3~5 classes a week, around 1 and a half hours a class. Why I suggest martial arts is that you don’t feel like you’re doing repetitive and boring workouts. Your mindset is different. You’ll feel like you’re learning discipline, focus, technique and self-defense. The mental exercise comes from the sparring and techniques on self-defense. You’ll need your wits about you as you’re fighting, for instance; how to block a kick, how to counterattack, how to throw punches and feints, etc. Most of the time it requires spontaneous decisions, and I find the mental workout very stimulating. You don’t even think about the exercise. There are sprints and jumps and almost every good but simple exercise WITHIN the training itself. There’s even a kitchen sink.

    The exercise is just a bonus. The 900~1500 calories burned per class are also a very, very nice bonus.

    Don’t worry about not being fit enough for martial arts, or any other regimes you might want to follow. The first class I lasted about half an hour, second one I passed out after hehe.

    In my experience, in order to lose weight and keep fit and healthy, you must do an exercise that you like, not what others say is good for you. It doesn’t have to be martial arts; sign up for yoga, do Dance Dance Revolution, etc. It should be fun, and something that you like with a passion. Or if you’re someone like me, it should stimulate your mind as well as your body.

  103. Haha what if someone does cry every time they get out of bed and walk to the kitchen to get breakfast?

  104. Exercising for the sake of exercising is boring. I’ve joined numerous gyms over the years and quit every one of them after only a few months. Not only are gyms boring, they’re a pain in the patoot. You have to get yourself there and back, which takes extra time out of a busy schedule; often the piece of equipment you want to use is taken by somebody who hogs it for the better part of an hour–more time wasted; and even if you do luck out and manage to get into your routine right away, some slob has dripped sweat on everything and failed to clean it up. A pox on gyms!

    I recently bought a Schwinn exercise bike that I really love. There’s no traveling involved, no waiting, etc. I can pedal away doing periodic sprints while watching TV. As someone who hates to exercise, this turned out to be the perfect answer for me. Oh, did I mention that it also makes me feel healthy, energetic and totally terrific?

  105. This letter really speaks to me. I think a lot of us feel this way because we were forced into gym class activities as kids that at best didn’t suit us, and at worst, made us depressed and miserable.

    I was always a fat kid, and VERY tall (I was 5’10” by sixth grade…I’m female!) and I had a spinal fusion at age 13 that’s effected my strength and balance ever since. It wasn’t til high school that I had a gym teacher that didn’t torment me and make me cry. I think they thought the torment would make me work harder, but it had just the opposite effect…ie, I couldn’t climb because I was too big and too weak and afraid of heights, and I never tried later because all I could remember was the fear and disappointment I felt when my gym teacher mocked me in the name of encouragement (I’m 36 and it still makes me tear up!).

    I only REALLY started to love exercise when I found one I liked–for me, weight training. An astute trainer in college noticed that I was WAY stronger than other kids, kicked butt at fencing (strong thigh muscles), and couldn’t run fast but could run slowly for duration. She suggested weight lifting and I’ve been on and off for years, but been really dedicated to it since I turned 30. Prior to that, stuff like basketball, baseball, running, aerobics, pilates, etc all made me feel TERRIBLE and I never thought I’d actually enjoy working out!

    A huge factor for me was finding a physical therapist who showed me that I could safely and successfully squat and deadlift, despite a full spinal fusion, two ruptured ACLs and degenerative disc disease (none of these are related to lifting btw). And reading about primal let me let myself skip the cardio machines (where before, I always felt I “had to” get on that stair stepper for a half hour, even if I’d lifted hard for an hour, or it wasn’t a “real” workout–which was incentive enough to skip the workout all together!)

    That’s a long way of saying… find something you like, confront the historical voices in your head that say “YOU CAN’T”, and toss your rules of what constitutes ‘real exercise’. If you’re moving, its good enough. If it doesn’t feel good, try something else. Give youself a break. And let yourself have fun!!

  106. We all have those days where we simply just don’t want to workout. One strategy that I have learned to get myself to workout is to listen to my favorite pump up music. It really helps me get in the mood and helps me perform better while I workout. If your someone that hates to workout try to start out with small easy workouts and work your way up from there. Remember, working out has a snow ball effect. Its hard to get the ball rolling but once you gain some momentum, working out will become enjoyable.

  107. I used to absolutely love to exercise, as a child, I used to run, play sports, and spent most of my life on horseback. Unfortunately, when I was a freshman in high school, I tore my ACL in my knee playing basketball. After that, I tried and tried to continue these sports but continued to tear the ligament small bits at a time which was excruciating. The summer before my senior year in high school, I completely finished tearing out the ligament and had to have surgery….that was the end of basketball. I continued playing other sports after I healed up, including rodeo and softball, but then 10 years later, I blew out the other ACL playing softball. This second surgery really hit me hard and I gained a lot of weight. I have had trouble exercising much since, because the 1st knee now has no cartilage and the doctor told me I need a knee replacement but he won’t do it until I am at least 50 (I am 36).
    I hate going to the gym, it hurts, and I feel very out of place, overweight, and it just isn’t fun to me. What I found to help me out is that I dance… The town I live in has country western dance lessons three nights a week and I am a regular there. I then dance with all the guys who are learning afterwards so I end up being there for about 2 hours a night. I have a ball and come home soaking wet (always so hot there, but I am working my tail off too). I thoroughly believe in “play” and finding something you enjoy so much that you don’t want to miss it at all. I have been living primal and playing since December of 2011 and have never felt better. You can do it!!

  108. I hate working out in gyms, outdoors, and definitely with other people. I hate the clothes, I hate the shoes, I dread the possibility that I might have to talk to someone before, during, or after a workout. In all seriousness, if I needed to drop a few pounds and had to choose between going to the gym and starving myself, I would decide without hesitation to stop eating.

    So, you can imagine, I thought exercise just wasn’t a thing I was ever, ever going to be into.

    But. I went to YouTube a few months ago and did a search for a beginner-level Pilates routine to test-drive. I got hooked on it immediately. It’s right up my alley. I love that I can decide on the length and focus of the routines, and best of all, I can do them by myself, wearing whatever clothing I want, in the privacy of my own, air-conditioned living room, where the only talking I have to do is to my dog when I tell her to clear out.

    Maybe something like that could help?

  109. what if you enjoy running long distances? (i like to run 6 or 7 miles 2 or 3 times a week) is this really not helpful AT ALL to health? I also do a HIIT session once a week.

  110. I swam, walked, ran, played soccer, and hated it. Several years ago, I found a yoga studio that emphasizes the spiritual as welll as the physical elements of practice. It’s been some time since I’ve been in shape but that’s the route I’d take again. A lot of people think yoga isn’t physically demanding; I’ve seen “athletes” leave their first class wrung out with sweat abs exhauation after thinking yoga was a piece of cake. Good studios are pricy but worth it. A local facility near me pretends to be a studio while using metal folding chairs as props (???) so I’ll need to drive to a studio of some quality.
    And you never know, you just might have a spiritual experience on the mat.

  111. Okay, I am totally in the “I hate exercise” club. I never liked it, even as a kid who was a normal weight. I hated PE so much as a child that I got sick every day thinking about going. Why, you might ask? Because I was a straight A student except for PE. I am now 5 feet tall, and at that time was a normal weight. However, the Presidential Fitness requirements never took height into consideration, so I got Ds. My PE teachers at all 8 grade schools and 3 high schools I went to said “if you dress out and try, you get an A!” They lied, because I dressed out every single day, tried everything they asked, and I got Cs. Lucky for me, by the time I got to high school, you could trade drivers ed and marching band for a PE class.

    There is absolutely NO type of exercise I like. I hate to walk, except from point A to point B. I hate Zumba and other dancing type fitness classes because I have no coordination and can’t keep up, so I look like an idiot. Did that enough in school in PE.

    I don’t like biking, walking (totally boring, and listening to music doesn’t help because I can’t focus on the music when I am focusing on the walk), I suck at swimming, and I don’t like anything to do with martial arts. I tried belly dancing, but couldn’t do that, either. Again with the coordination issue.

    I have been in a gym several times, but looking at size 1, totally fit women with perfect hair and fingernails in spandex exercising when it is clear they never even eat doesn’t do it for me. Makes me feel worse, as a matter of fact.

    Never, ever, ever felt that runner’s high my hubby always talks about. All I want to do is eat and sleep after working out, and yes, for those of you who will ask, I did try it for an extended time, to give it a chance. I want to curl up and sleep.

    I hate to sweat, and pretty much don’t, even in the heat of summer. As a result, I overheat, and my pulse beats in my face, and I feel sick. Causes problems even when we go camping with the Scouts.

    By the way, the Europeans don’t choose to exercise. It costs too much to fuel a car, there is no parking, and the roads are difficult to manage. They walk because it is cheap and easy to do with no money. They also rent bikes like we do strollers in the malls. Put in your debit card and pull the bike off. If you return it, you are charged for the day. If you don’t, they charge your debit card for the price of the bike. They also (up until the last couple of years) all smoke. That kills appetite and keeps them slimmer. I know. I lived there for 3 years.

    I am sorry that you don’t believe that there is anyone who actually hates any form of exercise, but I do. This may violate a rule to say, but I even hate to engage in sex. Too much work for too little gratification. It is like riding the roller coaster in your favorite amusement park. Stand in line 45 minutes, spend a few minutes getting to the peak, then 10-15 seconds of thrill and it is over. Not really a reason to do it often. And yes, I am married, and do engage in sex for him, but I see no point. He wants me to enjoy it, and I can reach a peak, but I really don’t want to. Seems like a waste of time.

    What do I really enjoy? Reading, playing piano, watching really good Robin Williams movies, traveling with the family, and laughing. None of those classifies as a fitness routine, regardless of how much laughter can benefit you.

    Maybe it was all the President’s fault. Tell kids they have to perform to a standard, grade them on their ability to do it, and then tell them they need to improve. To a straight A student, that was all it took turn my dislike of physical activity to hate. Why humiliate yourself further?

    In answer to anyone’s question, yes, I was a normal weight for my height in school. I was not obese until after I gave birth a couple of times.

    So, when you are preaching to others about how good it is for you, how much better you feel, and how everyone has something they like to do, remember you aren’t always right.

    This sounds like an attack, but really, it is just a frustrated person sick of hearing that there is something out there that will make you feel wonderful, excited, and energetic. There isn’t for me, and some others might have similar experiences.

    1. Both Mischelle and Awua have summed me up pretty well.

      I have been trying for so long to find whatever I’m supposed to find enjoyable that I can’t take it any more. I’ve done the gym (weights, steady state cardio, everything), classes, walking, dancing, rock climbing, sports, boot camp, personal trainers, videos at home, stationary bikes, outdoor activities, geocaching, and probably dozens of other things I can’t even think of. I’ve tried HIIT, slow and stead, whatever. Nothing takes. I’ll do it for months and months and it’s never any more pleasant than the first time I go. I get worked up to tears just trying to force myself to do SOMETHING that I just want to go sit in a closet and hide from it. This isn’t just exercise – this is cleaning the house, going to school/work, and doing pretty much anything else that doesn’t involve laying in bed, reading a book, or staring at my computer.

      I have chronic life-long depression that doesn’t respond to medication – the number one recommendation? EXERCISE.

      I also have serious social anxiety problems compounded with low self-esteem and poor social skills that make it seem impossible to face seeing even one person most days. Same thing – number one recommendation is EXERCISE.

      So what do the people like us do? Fitness people tell us to go to the doctor and the doctors tell us to go to the gym. Round and round it goes. I’d really rather just stay at home and be fat and die early, to be honest, but then I feel guilty and anxious about that too and cry over NOT going just as much as I cry about GOING.

      Sucking it up doesn’t work – I just don’t have that sort of ability to self motivate, and I’ll go maybe once or twice before it’s just too unbearable to make myself go ever again. External motivation doesn’t do it either – I honestly just don’t care about anything enough to work for it. (Number one recommendation for fixing that sort of apathy and anhedonia? EXER-EFFING-CISE.)

      1. Oh, and ditto about the sex. I’m not all that inclined to do that either…..It’s just another thing that involves putting in a bunch of effort, feeling gross, and yeah – the payoff just isn’t worth it. I am also married, and I feel horrible and guilty about that too. I realize Mischelle wrote this months ago, but if she sees it I just wanted to let her know that I totally understand her point of view on that matter too.

    2. This is so me too. You are not alone. I hate the sweat, I hate the effort, I hate the time it takes away from other things. It’s boring. I hate the constant drone of it’s good for you, you’ll live longer. BS. I had an aunt who was a total health freak and she died on the tennis court of a brain aneurysm. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. So, I’ll have that cheeseburger today. Knowing life is short, I would rather come to the end of a short life having lived it, than come to the end of a long life regretting the living I denied myself to get there.
      Exercise is a vain ritual. I despise it.

  112. You will never convince me to enjoy exercise. I find it the most VACUOUS and mind-numbingly boring bollocks–EVER.

    And none of your suggestions work for me.

    1) Workout partner? This is phenomenally stupid in my case. I think exercise is a necessary evil and hate it to my bones. So I’m ALREADY angry about having to do it, and I’m Asperger’s on top of it. A partner is TORTURE to me. They want to titter and say STUPID things and want responses when I just want to get it over with and forget the nightmare as soon as possible. I have a hard enough time having any friends. I’d have NONE if any of them were stupid enough to join me for a workout. Don’t even ask what happens if they try to worm their way into being there. IT IS NOT PRETTY. I’d rather lose a friend than work out with them.

    Seriously.

    2) I’ve never believed that dopamine exists. I have NEVER experienced this supposed high some people get from exercise. No matter how much I work out, I NEVER feel good about having to do this necessary evil. I don’t feel good during it. I never do. And because I find it so completely unpleasant as a physical sensation, I get even ANGRIER about having to do it.

    3) It doesn’t matter HOW LONG the workouts are. I hate it, start to finish. I cannot find any pleasure in this stuff, other than the results. And that’s not enough to make me like what it takes to get them.

    4) I don’t like ANY physical activity. There is no play to it for me, and never was. I hated going outside as a kid. I hated being pushed and prodded into games and play and activities, all of which I hated. It’s all torture to me.

    5) The meaning of exercise is to be fit. It’s unpleasant, but necessary, like paying taxes, or being nice to the uncle who hits the sauce too hard at holiday gatherings. Same thing, to me.

    6) I was never the kid picked on in gym class. I didn’t have any problems with doing any exercises, or being slow. I was even the kind who would be good enough to be a consistent winner when gym class split up in teams. I do them well. But I was in gym class ONLY because the school forced me to be there. I did not choose to be there, and I wouldn’t have chosen it. Ever. I can remember that one of the first things I checked when I went to high school was what PE requirements were for graduation–and being THRILLED that I wouldn’t have to take it my senior year! That was better than my birthday and Christmas rolled up together to me!

    So there are no ‘issues’ for me about exercise other than considering it a necessary evil.

    7) It doesn’t matter what exercise I do. I hate it. It doesn’t matter how long I do it. I hate it. It doesn’t matter how I mix it up. I hate hate hate it.

    People who find it enjoyable for ANY reason are like aliens from Andromeda to me. I don’t get it.

    At my age, I don’t think I ever will.

  113. Whenever I exercise, particularly when running, I have to fight down the voice inside that says, “WEAK, SLOW, UGLY, STUPID, WORTHLESS, USELESS, FAT. GIVE UP! GIVE UP! GIVE UP!”

  114. I hate to exercise too and for most of my adulthood, just did it sporadically. What I did was join a small ladies gym that has a weight machine circuit that takes me about 15 minutes to do one right after the other. I go at a time when it’s pretty empty (right after lunchtime) and just do it quickly and leave. I go three times a week. I also run on a treadmill for about 30 minutes twice a week. I’m 50. If I don’t go the guilt is worse than working out is.

  115. I understand you perfectly. I detest exercise with a passion. I have only once in my life (that I can recall) experienced an adrenaline high and hated the feeling to point of actively panicking enough to vomit. I have never managed a dopamine high from anything and the sensation of sweat on my skin is enough to want to live in a freezer – it may be the single grossest sensation possible; a hot summer day can made me retch in disgust.
    Heaven knows I’ve tried the gym and that was a waste of everybody’s time and money, walking is dull beyond words, swimming is expensive and awkward to the point of defeating any motivation I manage to raise. A personal trainer was a disaster; I’m a cynic by nature (hello England) and cheerful encouragement is enough to stop me doing something just to make them go and encourage somewhere out of earshot. My knees are shot due to a school related accident and I loath team sports from the same period.
    What works for me is filmmaking, oddly enough. Working with a few friends means being on my feet for extended periods, carrying awkward kit to sometimes ridiculous locations, chasing actors with the camera (or avoiding falling over tree roots out in the wilds on location). The hardest physical part is walking the cast through the scene – often that actually means running. I always wear one layer less than the weather would suggest so that I don’t heat up and thus avoid the sweat issue. Plus, when I’m frayed out at the end of the shoot I know there’s a nice comfortable editing studio waiting. And of course, there’s the fun of showing the film!

  116. I’m back a year later, still hate exercise, but I have an interesting story to tell you guys about how I know exercise is nonsense. Seriously and literally nonsense.

    I was a postal worker for 15 years, and overweight for ALL of them.

    For eight of those years, I worked at a job where I was on my feet the entire time I was on the clock. I was lifting 30 pound trays hundreds of times a day anywhere from knee level to two feet over my head, walking 100 feet back and forth 100 or more times. Going up and down to sweep 10 pounds of letters out and move to them to the side, up and then in a tray. Having to walk 1/2 a mile just to get to my workstation, and another 1/2 mile to walk to my car again. Having to walk another 1/3 mile to go to break, and then another 1/3 mile to go back to my work station. To go to lunch. To go to my second break.

    Care to guess how much weight I lost doing this, five, six or heck, even seven times a week, sometimes 70-80 hours a week?

    ZERO.

    You’re reading it right.

    ZERO.

    Before anyone stupidly goes there, there was nothing wrong with my thyroid. There was nothing wrong with my insulin levels. There was NOTHING wrong with me!

    I DID NOT LOSE WEIGHT.

    All that exercise, all that pushing my body and sweat pouring off me, and not one fricking pound lost.

    Exercise is a big fat stinking disgusting filth of a lie.