Every time I finish exercising, my face is fire-engine red and throbbing, my heart rate like a galloping Thoroughbred, and my inner thighs? They’re yelling at me like a street corner slam poet. Every limb and muscle feels raw and angry and wobbly, and I feel amazing.
Then I think, Why don’t I do this more often?
Those good vibrations that are released like a swarm of happy bees into my bloodstream are glorious, but here’s the thing: I know full well how powerful and world-conquering I feel after getting sweaty, but I still avoid exercise like it’s a Guy Fieri restaurant.
My brain is a powerful excuse generator—always has been. If I need reasons to dodge exercise, my brain cracks its knuckles and spins some yarns that I could use to make 65 homemade sweaters.
Here’s why I can’t possibly exercise right now:
1. I already showered.
Considering the effort, subterfuge and redirection that needs to fall in place in order for me to get into the bathroom uninterrupted, there is zero chance I will be able to pull off two showers in one day. Look in the Guinness Book of World Records for the “Mom Who Bathed Twice in One Day.” It doesn’t exist. Being pushed into the sprinklers doesn’t count.
2. I am for sure getting my period.
Oh, great, I just had a cramp. That means my period is, like, seconds away, and I’m certain Oprah once said if you exercise while menstruating, you actually gain weight. Even though my period isn’t due for another week, that was definitely a twinge in my cervix. It certainly wasn’t the half pint of ice cream now doing a slow melt into my growling intestines. I just can’t risk it. I’ll have to wait until next week, when this disaster is over.
3. It’s raining.
My preferred method of exercise is running. Once you have the proper shoes, it’s free, convenient, easy and feels deliciously primal. Once I hit my stride in mile two, I kind of feel like what my ancestors must have once felt as they ran away, barefoot and screaming, from velociraptors. Since I am at heart a snarky miser, I have never bought into the running lifestyle or bought the accompanying neon activewear. You know, the special shirts and tights and socks and hats and armbands that signal to the world, “I love running so much, and I’m willing to pay $4,000 to make every step a pleasure.”
I’d rather spend that money on the fancy chocolate I eat after I run. Instead, I pull on basic black tights that I need to re-hike up to my boobs every block, my husband’s old T-shirts hacked into tank tops and dollar-store novelty socks. So, if it rains, I’m hooped. I can slip on an old hoodie, but add rain to thirsty cotton and I end up running with an extra ten pounds on my back. Even with my best puddle-jumping moves, my feet will inevitably become squelching bricks. I don’t want to get trench foot. I’ve seen HBO war documentaries. That never ends well.
4. I don’t trust my guts.
When my stomach is gurgling and I haven’t gone to the bathroom all day even after two cups of black coffee, I feel like the second I’ve run just far away enough from home, my bowels will be like “Hello, we’re ready for you!” I like to avoid that at all costs. Even with my mom-battered bladder, I can hold a pee in longer than most. But anything else is coming out of me like a freight train on its own schedule.
5. My kid is being super needy.
You know those adorable YouTube videos of moms and their kids doing yoga or sit-ups together, or the baby is used as a weight and giggling, and oh my god, cutest barbell ever?
No. I do not want.
If I get on the floor and it’s not to fetch a tiny thing from under the gross part of the couch because she needs it right nowww, my kid is on me, touching me, farting on me, tugging at my ponytail or asking me 16 questions about why I’m on the floor and not making her a snack even though she literally finished her last bite of breakfast right before she farted on me. Children and exercise do not mix in my home. I need to be distraction-free. I need to be able to say all the dirty and shameful swear words in my vocabulary as I do squat sets in the seventh circle of hell. (It helps, I swear.)
Feel free to use any of these handy and multipurpose excuses if you’re getting peer pressure from annoyingly fit and bubbly “friends.” Or, just come to my place. The only heavy lifting we do around here is transferring a seven-layer, dip-smothered chip to mouth. Repeat until satisfied (and maybe a little sweaty).