The Hate Spiral Workout

I can never tell exactly how my posts come across, so just in case I’ve seemed particularly snarky or bitter lately, take comfort in knowing that I’m actually very happy. Yes, this is what I’m like when I’m happy…now you know why AJ never smiles. Anyway, my life is generally pretty rad and I really haven’t had a day where I hate everything in quite some time.

Today was that day.

I guess it was a conglomeration of factors, none of which are terribly important or relevant to this blog. Point being, I was in the middle of an epic hate spiral when I got home today, and the last thing I wanted to do was workout. Weird, right? I feel like normal people take their anger and frustration and use that energy to workout extra hard, but I’m not usually like that these days. Most of the time, being really really angry or upset just means I want to work out even less than normal, which is already a pretty low threshold. I know that working out pretty much always puts me in a better mood, but it’s still like pulling teeth to get myself out the door on days like today. I started blindly hoping thinking that maybe other people are in this position too, and it occurred to me that regardless of the reason someone doesn’t want to workout (be it blind rage or general lack of motivation), the problem is the same.

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Napping > Working out

So, what should you do on a day when you really don’t want to do anything but you know that you really need to work out?

In my opinion, you should pick the least hateful thing possible. For me, that means something that doesn’t seem too intimidating but that will still make me feel like I accomplished something. In my super professional opinion, there’s no sense in getting sweaty if you aren’t going to make it count, so here’s some options for workouts that don’t completely suck on the days when it seems like the rest of your life completely does.

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I’m trying this new fad called uh, jogging. I believe it’s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.

1. The “Rage Against the Machine”

The “Rage Against the Machine” is my oh-so-clever nickname for the workout I do on my bike trainer on days when I just really don’t want to do anything. I intended to run today, but decided against it after a couple of days in a row – don’t want to overdo it, right Mom? I got on the bike trainer (which is basically just a little machine that holds your bike still but lets the back tire turn and applies resistance) and turned on a show I like that was an hour long. Now, I could have just peddled along steadily for an hour, but I wanted to do something a little more than that that didn’t require much thinking. So instead of just doing an easy pace the whole time, I rode at easy pace during the actual show itself and at tempo or sprint pace during the commercials. The commercials are long enough that this makes those segments challenging, but the parts of the show are longer, so I still get a reward and don’t get discouraged thinking about how much left I have to do. It’s not the most challenging workout ever, but you work up a good sweat and still get to enjoy your show. Switching back and forth and mixing up the pace keeps things interesting, and I can always convince myself to do this workout even when I really don’t want to do anything.

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That awkward moment when you make a stupid face to try and make your face look skinny and you end up looking deformed instead

2. The “Everyone is More Flexible Than Me”

I belong to the local YMCA solely because they have a pool where I hypothetically swim during my hypothetical triathlon training. I haven’t been swimming so much lately because the idea of walking back to my truck from the gym with wet hair is simply too much to bear – and yes, I am that much of a drama queen – so I’ve been trying to make the most of my membership in other ways. One of those is taking classes at the gym – specifically yoga. Not everyone is a fan of yoga, and that’s fine, but I really enjoy it and I’m always glad I went, minus the hit my self esteem takes from watching people three times my age and twice my weight contort themselves into poses that I can’t even fathom. I may be the least flexible person in the world, by the way. But anyway, yoga class (or a yoga dvd at home) is great for feeling bad about your flexibility while simultaneously attempting to increase it. It’s usually pretty relaxing, stretching is allegedly good for you, and if you’re still really mad when you leave, at least you’re limber.

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Sometimes, the flexibility of the elderly is so amazing that it moves me to tears. Nevermind, that’s their excessively prolonged nudity in the locker room.

3. The “Road Less Traveled”

When all else fails, I try to go for a run somewhere out of the ordinary, even if it isn’t very exciting. I generally run the same routes over and over again, and there’s a reason – I like those routes. That being said, sometimes I just need a change. I find that when I really don’t want to workout, the idea of running somewhere new can normally get me out the door. On those runs, I’ll take my phone with me so I can take random pictures to bombard you with via social media to remember the day. I find myself more alert when I’m running somewhere different because I like to take in the sights along the way. Plus, taking pictures and promising to enjoy the view, whatever it may be, takes some of the pressure off. If I get out there and have a killer workout, great! But more realistically, I won’t, and that’s ok too, because at least I got out there and did something. I very rarely regret running (yes, there have been times that I really didn’t feel better after I came back), so I will use that information to literally force myself out the door. Walk a little to take in the sights? Sure. Stop to take a picture? Why not. The only worthless run is the one you don’t go on.

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And of course, when all else fails…drink.

Maybe these kinds of workouts are just taking the easy way out – I can see the argument for that. But I’m honest enough with myself to know that some days I just won’t push through and do something that seems impossibly out of reach. For days like today, it’s about winning the mental battle and getting out there and doing something. So yeah, I’m a wimp. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Leave a comment: What’s your favorite hate spiral workout when you just really don’t want to go? How do you get yourself out the door?

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