I want to be physically fit. I really do. It’s just that it takes so much time. And effort. And commitment.
There is only so much time in the day, after all, and I have to pencil in parenting, cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands and the like.
That barely leaves any time at all to squeeze in loafing, goofing off and squandering my potential.
What this means is, like 99.999999 percent of all Americans, I am usually vowing to get fit. By this I don’t mean ‘get fit for larger pants’ (which happens all too frequently as we age), but rather, “get in shape” — preferably not “round.”
Like those same 99.99999999 percent of all Americans I am willing — eager even — to plan to get in shape. I buy cute workout outfits, or, in leaner years (budget, if not thigh-wise), I put on a pair of ratty sweat pants and one of my husband’s old T-shirts.
I fill a water bottle that I feel reasonably certain doesn’t contain whatever it is said to cause cancer this week. I sign up for classes or cajole a friend into meeting me for fitness on the cheap (read: free). Still, to no avail.
Workouts are just so much like work.
Over the winter we joined an adult soccer team so we could get some idea what it is we had been shouting about from the sidelines at our children all these years.
I mean if my four-year-old can be good at it, how hard could it be? The answer: very.
When people ask “So you play soccer?,” I say “Yes!”
When they ask if we’ve enjoyed getting in shape I answer: “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Have to play well
In order to get in shape we would have to play soccer well. We don’t. The way we play is as much about falling down and running into people as anything.
Oh sure, the first time you fall smack atop some 40-something goalie and worry that you’ve broken his hip (or yours) that does get the ol’ heart rate up.
Other than that, it’s just a lot of getting a hand up, brushing yourself off and going out for drinks after the game.
Mr. Wonderful, inspired to get in shape by the passing of a milestone birthday, invested in a video-based conditioning program promising to transport us to firm and fit in something like 90 days.
He’s so cute when he’s wildly optimistic. Such a dreamer that one.
Last night he popped the program into the DVD player for the very first time. Within minutes we were both enthralled by the happy, bouncing people on the screen who assured us, repeatedly, that in just “minutes per day” we too could be as fit as their washboard abs and pumped muscles indicated they were.
They were swiveling this and pumping that and just in general having a lovely time there on the screen. Everyone was upbeat. Everyone could still breathe. It was exquisite.
Then, about seven minutes in, I pointed out the superhuman fitness mavens on the screen were, in fact, looking a little winded.
By minute eight they were huffing and puffing and sweat was pouring off their brows. At that point, I turned to Mr. Wonderful and laughed in his face.
If the people who apparently bench-press small cars and cattle for fun are winded eight minutes in, how does that bode for yours truly? Not well I tell you. Not well at all.
He probably could have had me at “get fit in minutes per day” if he hadn’t let me skip ahead and see how grueling and painful those minutes would be.
Not to mention how darned many of them there would be. I mean what is “just minutes per day?” 10? 20? 326? There is a vast difference between those numbers.
No, as I wandered off in search of greener pastures, or something less depressing than spandex-clad people sweating on-screen, I could only ponder that it’s no wonder people are so out of shape these days.
Fitness has terrible PR. I contend that you are never going to get an activity with the word “work” featured prominently in the title off the ground leisure-wise.
WORKout? Who coined that term? Why not “Laugh out?”
Or “More fun than you can shake a stick at out?” I would happily sign up for a “nap out” or a “photograph everything in sight out” and we know we all love to “eat out.”
No, Mr. Wonderful can just put those fitness DVDs back in the box they came in. Perhaps we’ll use them for coasters when we snack.
I’ll be there when they sponsor a “wine and cheese out.” I can already feel the burn.