This morning as I was scrolling through the Twitters, I came across a tweet from some blue check personality who looked like an actress of some sort. She was slim and toned, holding a green looking drink, and posted something like “love my post workout smoothie!” She was standing in a high-end gym with large windows overlooking the ocean. The thought that flashed through my head was yeah, it’s pretty easy to look great when you have attendants and trainers to cater to you and your workout at two in the afternoon. If all I had to do was sleep in, eat the breakfast my personal chef made for me, show up at the resort gym and do what the instructors said, then drink the kale and Ka’Chava smoothie my assistant had waiting for me – I’d look like that too. Ok, maybe not wearing a pink leotard but you get what I mean. Like when the Rock posts on Instagram about getting off his private jet and heading to his multi-thousand square foot private home gym, with every piece of fitness equipment ever invented, for a late-night workout… it just doesn’t resonate with us common folks.
Except that’s just jealousy on my part. Not of the wealth and privilege, but of the commitment these folks have. Fitness and weight loss take determination. A resolve to restrict calories and to push yourself physically. Is it harder for a working mom to find a way to drive to the gym at 05:00 AM to work out before the kids get up, than the celebrity who has an attendant to wipe their brow and take pictures for Instagram? Of course. But at the end of the day, both of them have to show up, do the work, and give a pass on that piece of chocolate cake if they want to look the way they do. Most of us don’t have that resolve.
The envy is really just a manifestation of your own self-pity for not having the same resolve. To succeed in fitness, working out needs to become a basic part of your life. Like brushing your teeth, getting the laundry done, and taking out the trash – finding an hour to get a workout of some sort in has to be just a standard part of your day.
Not being a physically strong person, I’ve hated “working out” my entire life. It hurts, it’s a huge ego blow when all you can lift is the pink “my pretty pony” barbell, and it’s overwhelming to try and figure out where to start. Weeks and weeks go by, and it feels like you’ve made zero progress other than every muscle now hurts when walking down the stairs or brushing your teeth. The mental resolve it takes to keep hitting the gym, morning bootcamp in the park, or daily jog is massive. People who are fit can’t appreciate the resolve it takes to go from zero to a daily fitness routine.
I’ve only once, briefly crossed that line into habit. A few summers ago, I decided to start running. For a while it was all I could do to get around the block. Then I started trail running. I’d walk more than run. And then at some point I realized I was running (slowly) without stopping. And then I got a little faster and my distances started increasing. By the end of that summer, I was comfortably running mountain trails at 7,000 feet and doing 6-10 miles. I was almost… so close… to that feeling of needing to run. I didn’t quite crave it – I was still doing it as a way to drop pounds – but there were a few days where something got in the way and I couldn’t go for a run, and I found myself actually missing it. I wasn’t sore any more afterwards, and even started making plans for what type of runs to do each week. That’s the threshold that needs to be crossed – you look forward to a workout and regret it when you miss one.
I obviously didn’t cross far enough past that line, as I was motivationally derailed shortly afterwards and lost all the progress I’d made. So here we are again, back at square one. My personal fitness Groundhog Day. I see the fabulous people on the social medias, bragging about their workouts.
"Just killed a workout with the best trainer ever! Going to snack on three almonds, then get ready for a ten-mile run this afternoon. Coconut water is the best!! Love all my fans!!!!!"
I briefly get motivated after seeing these posts. I will do a workout today. Right after drinking this seventh cup of coffee. And watching some motivational David Goggins on the IG. Crap, it’s really cold out there and it’s already lunchtime. Ok, ok, ok. I’ll eat lunch, let it settle, and then go for a run. Promise. After this nap. Shoot, I forget I need to go to the store. Well… it’s almost dinnertime now. Alright, I PROMISE I’ll get up early and go run tomorrow morning.
My fitness Groundhog Day. Every day. The embarrassing part of all this is that I have the ability to be a member of the very fitness aristocracy I was jealous of, if I chose. I have a decent home gym. I only work a few days a week, so my time is unlimited. I could afford a trainer if I wanted. The foothills and running trails are a few blocks away. I’m in a very fortunate position to be able to buy, make, or order whatever food, nutritional supplements, or fancy Ka’Chava smoothie machines I want. If I decided that leopard skin running tights, or a fancy heart rate monitor was the limiting factor to my training, Amazon can have it at my doorstep tomorrow. There literally is zero barrier to my becoming an Olympic-class athlete (age adjusted, of course).
Except that pesky motivation issue. The drive to simply lace up the shoes and just do it, as Nike reminds us. Giving up and resorting to wearing velour track suits like an old school gangster would certainly be easier. Trust me, I’ve thought about it. But deep down, I’m not happy with how I feel right now. I need to make that change. To find a way to put up with the initial pain and cross that line to a healthy fitness lifestyle.
As I revisit where I started out with this post, I’m thinking that the secret isn’t money or fitness aristocracy… it’s the photos. I suspect the real secret to success is taking killer pictures of yourself working out, so you can brag about it on social media. That leads to accountability. If I just start posting daily pictures of my workout, eventually my six Twitter followers will start expecting a daily photo. And I’m not one to disappoint my fans.
Hmmm. Do I go with a high-end, fancy equipment Troutdog workout photo theme?
Just finished measuring my VO2max. Going to get some zone 3 intervals in on my Peloton, then drink a recovery shake!
Maybe a grungy, military/mountain Troutdog photo theme would fit better?
Just finished a twenty-mile run carrying this big rock. Going to go home and drink some homemade bone broth and then lance these blisters.
Either way, this will take some planning. You may want to sign up for my socials and newsletter now, so you can follow along with my fitness journey and not miss out.
Because I’m fairly positive, most likely, unless something comes up, definitely starting tomorrow.