As I finished up a run the other day, I saw a sight that terrified me. It wasn’t a rabid dog or a zombie. It was a group of about 200 runners making their way down behind me. I quickly moved the other side of the road. Even though it looked like I could be part of their group with my neon green running shoes, running shorts, and Under Armor top, I didn’t want to be seen with them. I really don’t enjoy working out with other people.
I really enjoy getting exercise, but I hate working out. Judging by the number of steps I take with my FitBit monitor, people may think I’m a workout fiend. I’m not, really. I don’t workout to get buff or show off my guns. I like to workout because I know I’ll get a good hit of endorphins and that I’ll have an excuse to lie around and drink beer for the rest of the day.
I actually really don’t like most of the culture surrounding exercising. It’s too serious. It’s that “if you’re not first, you’re last” mentality. I hate that so much. It makes me picture a bunch of serious zombies who thrive on protein shakes and planking. That isn’t for me. (I should say that while I don’t care to be a part of the workout culture, I’m not going to judge you if you are. To each their own.)
I guess I just don’t care for competitive culture when it comes to me burning calories. I think that’s why I have never really enjoyed races. I get nervous before them and I go to the bathroom a lot. I get nervous, shaky, and I don’t perform well. I’d rather just go out on a run by myself.
The funny thing is, I really don’t need a whole lot of motivation to go work out. I’m a pretty consistent exerciser, going for a run or doing another type of physical activity at least five days a week. I get antsy if I don’t some sort of physical activity.
There is one type of competitive exercise that I enjoy: walking. I’ve been doing FitBit challenges pretty regularly since I got one at the beginning of the year. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve won a lot of them. (That’s sounds like a real white person humble brag.)
The one time I really did show my competitive spirit was when I was doing my wild land firefighter training with the Maryland Conservation Corps. We had to do the Pack Test, which consisted of walking three miles with 40 (I think?) pounds on our back. We had to complete the course in either 40 or 45 minutes. I don’t know what happened the first time, but I just took off and I beat most everyone by a few minutes. There were a few professional firefighters in the mix and they had some choice words for me. I repeated my task the next year as well. But I also did it in under 30 minutes, a goal I had set for myself. I haven’t been too motivated with regards to competition much since then.
I enjoy being active, but I don’t do it for many reasons other than it makes me feel good when I do it. I think that’s perfectly ok. I like being healthy, but I wish we’d stop making it such a competition.