When I was 15, my soccer coach announced at the beginning of the season that we were going to do 5-mile runs. At 6 a.m. In March.
If you have experienced a crackling-cold Wyoming morning, you can imagine my reluctance. But I pried myself out of my delicious nest of blankets in the black pre-dawn and showed up. At first, my body rebelled. The cold seared my lungs, my legs ached and I barely made it to the turning-around point. It was horrible.
But then, as we were sprinting back into the parking lot, I experienced a surge of … God, what was that miraculous feeling? Some wonder tonic of goodness was swirling around my limbs.
That was my first inkling that the dopamine high is better than all booze and drugs in the universe. My exercise obsession was born.
What’s not to love? You get to test out your resilience, feel your strength and truly inhabit your body. You get to pedal out your frustrations and pound out your problems and untangle that briar of thoughts. Feel the air on your skin, the blood in your veins. And you get to wear really comfy stretch pants. Plus, a good sweat feels amazing, not to mention the litany of diseases exercise helps stave off. But maybe the best part: It gives you license to eat that slab of pie with zero guilt.
— Katie Klingsporn
God I hate the gym. Over the years I’ve tried to like it – really I have – but who am I kidding? I dislike its acrid smell, its offensive lighting, the douchey music and the exercise machines touched by the germy hands of countless perverts. I prefer to avoid the svelte, dryad-like women and the pitbull-ripped gladiators, flagrant reminders of my void of self-discipline.
I’ve had numerous gym memberships over the years where I began pumped and psyched and hyped and stoked – all of those motivational power words – but eventually I found my way back to a happy, albeit slightly chubby, equilibrium of minimal physical exertion.
I’m not entirely benthic, however. I have my moments of exercise glory, such as walking 600 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago. It’s been suggested that the perfect word to describe my general mode of movement through the world is “lazy.” However, I simply prefer low-key exercise cleverly disguised as outdoor fun. I’m a humble walker, a leisurely stroller, a contemplative ambler and a dreamy cruiser. I like being outside, moving at a tranquil pace, breathing the air of the heavens and perspiring faintly, like a Victorian debutante.
— Jaime Becktel