I f*cking hate exercise.
I always have, too. Growing up, I was never exactly the "sporty" kind. Although I spent my younger years like a crazed chimp, climbing trees and bouncing about our cul-de-sac, during my teens I was much more likely to be found with a Harry Potter book in hand than a hurl. I tried now and then to force it upon myself - like when I turned up to camogie training without a helmet and spent the entire time running away from the sliotar - but it became clear that it really just wasn't really for me.
I tried the gym, too. As recently as this year, I would pay an inflated monthly fee to either not go and feel guilty, or to go, hate every minute of being there, leave early due to said hatred and...you guessed it, feel guilty.
Classes did help with my general sense of "I have no idea what I am doing", and Spin classes in particular. Maybe it's the fact they took place shrouded in darkness with White Stripes dance remixes blaring, but I felt much more comfortable than trying to figure out how to work a machine under the glaring brightness of the main gym, surrounded by a sea of muscles.
My Saviour, the Spin Class, is obviously off limits for the forseeable, and so, exercise has been something that I pushed to the back of my mind once again.
Anytime the nagging voice in my head reminded me that I needed to look after myself and do some working out, I would quickly shut it up. "I'm going for walks!" I'd defensively scowl. "This is a global pandemic, we're all trying our best to just get through it." I'd then nestle back in to the sofa and resume demolishing a family sized bar of Lidl white chocolate.
I do agree with that sentiment in a sense; we shouldn't be beating ourselves up for comfort eating a little and feeling lazy right now. Life is too strange and stressful as it is to worry about jeans getting tighter. That said, I was really noticing a downturn in my mood. Lethargic and a little down, I decided that I needed to start doing...something.
After making the move to Chapelizod, with the Phoenix Park on my doorstep, I no longer had an excuse; it was time to become a runner, those people I usually watch whilst lounging on the grass, eating crisps. I was going to become one of those smug bastards, I decided.
I won't lie though, especially having lived as a couch potato for three months: it is HARD. Forrest Gump, I am not. Whilst I run, the entire time, I focus on it being over. I envision the food I'm going to make as soon as I'm back. I dream up plates of comforting eggs and bacon on toast and imagine myself tucking in whilst lying on the sofa, a cool breeze washing over my face.
In reality, sweat is trickling into my eyes. My throat hurts since I'm focusing more on what food I will be eating soon than how to breath properly. I get a stitch, far more often than I think I should. I hate it. But, I don't give up. I look at my Fitbit (the Versa 2 is thee best motivator) and keep pushing on. My boyfriend, also a great motivator, keeps telling me that it's only tough at the beginning; once you get through the first few weeks, when your body is in "what the hell are you doing to me" mode, you'll start to love it.
As a lifelong human sloth, I'm not sure about that. But what I do know is that my mood is up. I'm feeling lighter in myself. I'm encouraged to eat better. And being outdoors, away from a revolving door of gym bros, I feel free, and don't care if my arms are flapping like a chicken and I'm running at the speed of my internet connection back home in Wexford. And so, I'll continue to push on, in all my tomato-faced glory.