Exercise sucks. Here’s what to do about it.


Two weeks ago, I almost puked and it inspired this article.

My friend Noah was in town, and he invited me to join him in a special workout with some other internet dorks (that’s what I call affectionately those of us who make our living online). Noah lives in Austin, and I haven’t seen in him in a while, so although the idea of going out in public (yikes) and working out in a group setting (nope) are things I try to avoid, I figured I’d be a good sport.

Upon arriving at the gym, I walked into a room with 25 other people and an instructor who looked like he had been picked from a “good looking super jacked trainer” casting call.

What transpired was a 25-minute bootcamp style workout where we all did various things like burpees, box jumps, squats, dips, etc. There was no break, and we moved from one exercise to the next as thumping hip hop played, the training yelling louder and louder to encourage us to push ourselves.

I HATED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

I think I would rather get a root canal than go through that style of workout again. Or watch an episode of the Real Housewives of Rivendell.

Let’s be clear: I’m not saying this just wasn’t my cup of tea…This wasn’t mild-displeasure, but pure misery.

As I finished my gazillionth burpee, wheezing and out of breath, I looked at my friend Roman and we both kind of chuckled: “This is not my thing,” Roman said to me. Okay, actually what he said was more profanity-laced, but I like to keep things relatively clean around here.

When the workout was over, I glanced at some of the other people around the room, also drenched in sweat, but with smiles on their faces:“That was great!” and “I loved it, thanks man!” phrases were shouted.

Although I knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy this type of workout, after realizing just how much I hated it – I knew I needed to write about it.

“Just how many people hate these workout and think they hate working out?” I wondered as I pushed myself to the point of puking.

Today, I’m going to give you permission that you didn’t realize you needed.

Don’t like “exercise” ? It’s probably the type

Sunrise Workout

I have been training in gyms, parks, and playgrounds for 15 years.

I own and operate a health and fitness website and thoroughly enjoy exercise. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and if I miss a workout, it feels like something in my life is missing. And yet, I found myself cursing the exercise gods during that workout – wishing I was doing anything else.

You see, I like exercise to be an enjoyable and solitary experience. Pushing myself to the point of almost puking is not fun for me. Training in a group setting is also not generally enjoyable for me, as I prefer my workouts to be contemplative and meditative: Headphones in, playlist on, eyes down, mouth closed, and doing my routine designed with specific goals in mind.

Because of this, other than going for extended walks around New York City, hiking when I can, or doing ring routines that last for a few minutes, I don’t “do cardio.”

So a bootcamp/crossfit style workout is not one I particularly enjoy.

People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I don’t “go for a run” ever. It’s like there’s this law that says “in shape = formal cardio,” which I disagree with strongly.

I couldn’t help but think about somebody that might be in their mid 30s, who has been sitting hunched over a desk for the past decade, potentially also severely overweight, and ends up in a boot camp as their first fitness experience.

I think some people will love it. And maybe they’ll build up to CrossFit or SoulCycle or some other similar type of workout atmosphere. And that’s AMAZING. They love that feeling of pushing themselves harder than they thought possible, they get to work out alongside others, and it gives them a hell of a workout. They end these classes really beat up and fired up.

That’s what some people will do.

I think many other people won’t particularly enjoy this workout style – especially if they’re rookies to fitness or very overweight.

Sure, they might find a way to push through their workout enough times that they learn to “love to hate” them, and they’ll make this a thing they do regularly.

HOWEVER, I imagine the far majority of out-of-shape/new people fit into this category: Hate the workout, assume this “fitness” is the only kind of fitness, and get discouraged and embarrassed. “Screw this, I’m going back to my couch.”

Like Billy Madison getting teased when he HAD to write in cursive, he got discouraged and never wanted to come back to school: