In today’s missive, I have a humiliating tale of High School Mark with a fitness takeaway for ya…
To tee up this tale of terror, two questions for you:
- Are you looking to get or stay motivated, but can’t seem to find a love of working out?
- Do you like beer? (Or coffee? Or wine?)
If so, I have an important distinction for you to consider:
Fitness is just like beer; it’s an acquired taste.
Now I realize some of you have ALWAYS loved fitness’ing. You are one of the lucky people who luuuurve to work out and push your body. And that’s super awesome.
But perhaps you don’t find yourself naturally drawn to the joys of exertion?
Maybe you didn’t love high school gym class so much?
Perhaps, like your faithful author, you prefer an afternoon of reading, a nice nap, and a cocktail at sunset?
Well if you’re like me, I have GREAT news. You can learn to actually enjoy — or sufficiently tolerate — your weekly servings of fitness. I promise!
I know this is true.
Because you like beer.
Or 99% dark chocolate.
You see, these are all acquired tastes. No child immediately loves these items.
In fact, you may have NEVER come to enjoy some of these flavors.
For instance, I still do not care for most kinds of beer.
Admittedly, I have come to love IPAs. But the fact that anyone willfully drinks a Coors Light is difficult for me to fathom.
(Note: I’m an existentialist. I’m 100% cool with your reality being different from mine. Coors Light lovers, I shan’t yuck your yum; I wish you many frosty returns!)
But one mispent summer’s eve in 1995, Coors Light was the only beverage available. And I was a young man doing my darndest to “practice drinking.”
We young hooligans had gathered at a friend’s house on Long Beach Island, the barrier island on the Jersey Shore where I grew up. After a day at the beach and listening to Weezer’s blue album over and over (and over), it was time to sow our adolescent party oats. Our skin was sun-kissed. The warm summer evening air smelled of the sea. And everything was possible.
But alas. Our chosen weapon for the melee was room temperature Natty Ice (or something thereabouts). And if your adult author doesn’t care for beer, you can be sure his teenage version was not stoked.
In fact, I found the taste so gross, I poured my beer into… orange juice.
Kinda like a screwdriver, right??
Although a “Beermosa” is actually a thing, my concoction was NOT palatable. Furthermore, it earned me a humiliating heckling from my fellow teenage roustabouts for failing to drink the crappy beer.
(Side note: I laugh about this now, but at the time, this was one of the most mortifying experiences of my life. I was totally humiliated. *Middle-age Mark gives teenage Mark a hug*)
While beer and I never did become friends, I have come to acquire many tastes. Coffee is one of my very bestest friends. And I’m madly in love with amari, a category of bitter aperitifs/ digestifs.
And here we arrive at the takeaway for you…
Even if you truly don’t like to work out now, you would be amazed at how you can grow to love something with repeated exposure.
Sure, maybe you and I will never have trouble sleeping because we’re SO excited about an athletic event the next day.
But when you focus on the process…
When you commit to consistently showing up for your workouts…
You may find yourself starting to crave some activity. At the very least, you won’t quite feel like yourself if you DON’T make time each week to get your sweat on.
The key is doing it long enough to really develop a habit.
And when you’re learning to drink coffee, you may need lots of sugar and cream. Similarly when you’re starting a fitness journey, the MOST important thing is finding modalities you actually like.
The LAST thing you want to do is grind through fitness that’s not fun for you.
The annoying part: you will have to try different stuff to find out what you like. And that means stepping into the discomfort of not being great while you try it out.
For instance, we have Ninjas that LOVE the individualized training of our in-person small group personal training. They get a personally tailored program, lots of interaction with a coach, and a small group of like-minded Ninjas to banter with as they train.
But SGPTs are just not everyone’s jam.
Some Ninjas prefer the relatively faster-paced — and fantastically convenient — live-coached, at-home Zoom workouts of HomeBody. These Ninjas simply turn on their computer and do exactly what they’re told for the duration of class, and then they’re all done for the day.
Now here’s the trick:
You have to give these (or any fitness modality) enough tries to see if it’s actually a fit for you. Because until you get the hang of it, it’s going to feel a bit awkward at first.
Furthermore, most of the benefits of exercise — more energy, improved mood, increased strength, more strength, better sleep — take several weeks to become noticeable.
While I can’t guarantee that any given fitness choice will be the right fit for your preferences, I CAN promise you two things:
- There ARE fitness activities out there that you’ll come to enjoy (or sufficiently tolerate) over time.
- 95% of the time, they’ll be an acquired taste and require at least several sessions for you to get a feel if a given modality is a lovematch.
I can’t wait til I can hug you,
P.S. Do you want more MFF in your life?
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