If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape this year, as a professional personal trainer, I would like to encourage you…to forget it. You’re not going to do it. You are going to fail, just like every year. How’s that for some refreshing candor and honesty?
Save yourself the anguish of yet another blown New Year’s resolution, and don’t even try.
If you don’t try, you can’t fail. Or maybe, you just need to try harder. Yeah. That one always works.
Let’s face it, if you could have done it, you already would have. In fact, statistically, you are more likely to be struck by lighting while making love to an albino Indian in a canoe, then you are to keep any New Year’s resolution about getting fit.
One morning, when I lived in Redondo Beach, I walked out on the porch and saw the entire beach covered with running people. At first, I thought it was some catastrophe. Everybody running around in a panic. Then I realized it was New Year’s Day. My God. How pathetic. How predictable. The next day there was half as many. By the third day the beach was empty again. Big surprise.
Every January at the gym, the crowds swarm. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, people show up in their new Christmas gift work-out gear, ready to turn over a new leaf. And every year, they fly away, before the month is over–way, way, way before their three-year, automatic payment withdrawal contract is over. By February, it was always back to the same faces you’ve been seeing all year.
I worked at a Gold’s Gym for seven years. Even though we were signing up new people all the time, you never saw them more than once or twice. After that, they would just disappear. The ones that were making a real honest stab at it usually packed it in after three weeks. Thing was, our shark-efficient sales team had already shock-collared their checking accounts.
We had a slick sales gang. Ghetto hustlers and ex-con sharpsters. They called themselves “The Felony Fitness Crew.” They weren’t about to throw any cold water on your fevered delusions about becoming a Greek statue. No, sir. Create Value. Establish Rapport. Get Routing Number.
I used to love listening to them laugh and joke after making a big sale. Lot’s of high-fives while pantomiming prison rape.
“I banged their culo for $89.00 EFT, baby! Didn’t even use lube, brah-ther!”
“Fitness Starter Pak, bitch! $499. prepaid year with nutritional counseling, carnal.”
Both hands grabbing out to imaginary shoulders and pelvic-thrusting at air ass.
Those guys were a riot. I miss them.
Anyway, if you have ever joined a gym and didn’t go, don’t feel bad. Lots of people do that. You should feel bad for joining a gym though. Not a lot of people do that. Letting them into your checking account was a big mistake too. What the fuck were you thinking?
That you finally had it with the way you looked? Sure. I understand. But apparently, you didn’t hate it enough to really do anything about it. Or stay doing it. That’s okay. I don’t encourage hating the way you look as a motivator. That only takes you so far, and makes the experience of working out, all the more miserable. Which everyone will tell you is the key to success.
No, bad body image seems to demand replication in form. Some kind of cosmic law. So all your fist-shaking resolve, bold pronouncements and sworn oaths are worthless.
Hate your body, and it will hate you right back. I can promise you that, on everything that is sacred to me.
I suggest trying to be grateful for whatever body you got stuck with. Just because it’s not walking the red carpet is no reason to hate it. Start with being glad it can even walk. Can you move? Are you somewhat ambulatory? Well, that calls for some celebration. If you were laying in a hospital bed, paralyzed, you’d be wishing you could be your old, flabby, but moving, self.
So being able to move is awesome, but if you’re lazy like me, it’s easy to resent ever having to. I tend to forget that just moving around is a miracle of mechanics. Neurons firing, nerves twitching, muscle fiber lengthening and shortening, bones pivoting around. It’s crazy shit.
Freak out on it. At first, it’s just enough to get into moving, and maybe…using stuff. Light weights, slow treadmill, remedial Yoga class, whatever. Add a spirit of play into it. Throw a Frisbee around. Play hopscotch. Shadow-box to Static X’s Wisconsin Death Trip. Dance around the room like you’ve come down with St. Vitus. Anything is better than the years of nothing. Set the bar low, so you’re sagging ass can easily step over it. The less you can make it suck, the better. Eventually, if you stay at it, you will naturally reach out for more challenging forms of play.
People who are active, tend to want to stay that way.
There’s a lot of ways to head-fuck yourself into getting active, but in order to want to stay active, you have to find something you enjoy. Sometimes that takes time, and may require a few misses. Don’t make a big deal about it. Don’t feel bad about not liking something. All my life, somebody seemed to be trying to make me feel bad for not liking something.
“For crissakes! That was a classic movie! One of Orson Wells’ greatest masterpieces! How could you not like it?” or “It’s cheese cake! Everybody LOVES cheesecake!” I just shrug. If they only knew the truth. I don’t like most movies. Period. And, even though I hate cheese cake, I’ll eat it, because I don’t care about food. It’s just plug.
Disneyland. Dinner theater. Magic shows. Parades. Monopoly. Card games. Amusement parks. Christmas morning. The latest based-on-a-bestseller, breath-taking, Academy-award nominated cinematic thrill-ride. Chart-topping pop sensation. Widely-anticipated sequel. Old family favorite. Ratings hit. You name it.
If a lot of people like it, it probably leaves me flat, and does not motivate me to participate. So I get not being into things. Especially if they require a modicum of self-propulsion, and you’re a lazy, fat fuck. That said, there still must be something active that you would like to do. Even chasing a wayward kite around the beach is a good start.
“I like to waddle down the mall while cramming an ice-cream cone into my pie-hole. Does that count?”
“Sure it does! And after your stroke, we can play squeeze the rubber ball!”
And be grateful we can squeeze.
Look, if you can’t find any physical activity, out of the thousands of different ones available, then I strongly suggest you get okay with dying a fat load. It’s not the worst thing.
In fact, it’s one of the things that makes America great. We have more people dying because they’re fat than because they starved. So kick out the Lazy-Boy into recline, and help yourself to another Rice Krispy Treat. There’s probably a good show on TV.
Just don’t make any New Year’s resolutions about getting into shape.
I’m sick of hearing them.