Friday, May 7, 2010

An Elliptical is Cheaper Not to Use than a Gym Membership

My neighborhood is teeming with joggers nowadays. Drive attentively, because these spandex-clad women and men are fast-moving and hard-to-spot. You'd probably be better off putting down the window and sniffing them out, because many times they are completely soaked in their own sweat.

It looks like complete misery to me: the pounding impact of the pavement; the heat of the sun; the solitude; the pointless return back to where you started. Aside from the fact that nothing is giving chase, they also aren’t headed to a destination worthy of the effort. I cringe at the thought of having to do extra laundry to wash all those spandex. I’m sure they have to wash them “cold – delicate cycle – non-chlorine bleach – line dry.” And they can’t go back out in public until they’ve spent another half hour taking that extra shower and redoing their hair (which also rules out the possibility they are jogging to a coffee shop or tavern).

It is so easy to be disdainful of the joggers. My biggest gripe with them is that they have mustered something I so thoroughly lack: discipline. I fantasize like everyone else about having ripped abs and a firm bottom. But I think I know down deep that I am just lucky to be average. After having two kids, I realized that I needed to do something different or I was not going to stay “average.” We joined the Y. While my girl was in their preschool, I even managed a dutiful habit of hitting the stair-climber 3 times a week. And I lost – not a pound. Not a pound. Then we moved and the Y wasn’t on our daily path, so after a few months without going there, we made the choice to drop the membership and purchase a second-hand elliptical machine.

Once the elliptical machine is at the foot of your bed, you can no longer claim that your workout is too far out of the way. You have to find other reasons not climb on board and work up a sweat. One of my favorites: my only successful weight loss has come from a concerted effort to eat smaller portions and avoid snacks. That and the occasional cleansing that a good potluck offers (see my post on potlucks).

We’re a pretty active family and I’m not afraid of hard work. But I seem to need the motivation of a project to work on, a destination to hike to, or a game to play. Getting on a machine to run round like a hamster or taking an hour out of my day to beat up my knees so I can say I ran a whole mile doesn’t motivate me. I wish it did. I wish I was disciplined, because I know they’re right and I’m wrong. And when those annoying jogger-people are chasing their grandkids, while I’m sitting in a recliner complaining about my back pain, I’ll wish I did something about it.

Maybe if they could hook the elliptical up to a battery pack so my effort could save us a little on electricity?

He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. Proverbs 5:23


  1. From my experience, and from witnessing other peoples homes The exercise machine in the bedroom really makes a great clothes tree...(both clean, and dirty)

  2. In the bedroom!?!? Well...that is NOT where it should be!! Trust me...while running is not is worth it!! :)

  3. You just kill me! Another great story! Thanks!

  4. Now that he's read this post, Brian is pressuring me to change my ways. I'm going to "run" out of excuses.