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Mar 4 '13

Exercise Tips for the Fat, Sedantary, Socially Awkward or Too-Femme-to-Own Pants

Because I’ve seen stuff floating around about how much sucky shit is involved if you are any or all of the above and trying to start exercising, and at this point I guess I’m at least somewhat of an expert on being a fat jock.  

That sucky shit is not imaginary!  But I am also militantly pro-exercise because that shit gives you endorphins that make you happy and keep you from killing your husbands/co-workers/children/friends/people on the internet.

 What if I don’t like jogging or yoga or spin class?

 Do the shit that you enjoy doing. Don’t take up an activity  that you hate thinking you will like it if you get good at it.    This shouldn’t be hard…but I know so many people who miserably put themselves through a c25k and 3 weeks later give it up because it’s boring and it sucks and they never like jogging anyway.  I could give you a long list of things I hate about all land based exercise….which is why I don’t do land based exercise.

Do something you think is fun, even if it’s dorky and full of old people. Anyone who will judge you for loving zumba or water aerobics or aquatic zumba (which totally exists) is an asshole.

Fat people get treated like shit at gyms

Okay, this does happen sometimes.  But it happens a whole fuck of a lot less than you fear it will,  and you can choose to join gyms where it is less likely to happen.  I’m really fat, like over 300 lbs and I spend a lot of time, in public, in a bathing suit so I’m not dismissing this shit because I’m not likely to get it.

I wouldn’t work out at a place with a majority chic, skinny, toned clientele and if not-fitting-in worries you,  then you should either!  You probably shouldn’t anyway, unless you’re really into bikram yoga or aerial pilates or something.   Community Centers and YMCAs tend to be cheaper anyway, and filled with people who are older and fatter,  so the culture of the place isn’t judgmental.

And really, I swear,  almost no one gives a shit what you look like. Really.  People are, with the exception of a few jerks,  just focused on what they are doing.  This insecurity and internalized fat-hate is coming from you as much as it’s coming from other people.

But I will Need Expensive Crap!

 So, again, this is sort of true.  As I was typing this I did a cost estimate of the shit in my gym bag…..and then I had to lay down for a while and deal with the shameful realization that my gross, ripped, disorganized bag represents something like four hundred American dollars. 

But I’ve been swimming 3-5 days a week for almost 5 years now, so my collection of swim crap represents 5 year’s worth of crap accumulation.   You don’t need expensive equipment to get started and the path by which one becomes the kind of lunatic that spends their discretionary income on exercise gear is slow. 

You may eventually find yourself wanting some fancy sweat-wicking workout gear and good supportive shoes, but you’ll probably do find with sweat pants and the shoes you wear mowing the lawn or dumpster diving or whatever.   You’ll do fine with a cheap-ass old navy bathing suit;  the reason I now spend comical amounts of money on suits is that the expensive speedo ultrablarghity superlycra doesn’t get holes in it after 2 months.  

I don’t want to compete at something I suck at!

The last race I did I came in 247th out of 250.  My favorite human beings on earth are the three people who were slower than me.  Somebody has to be last and that puts you ahead of the ones that didn’t finish and fucking miles ahead of all the people who didn’t even try.

Look, doing any damn thing in public when you are fat and shy is terrifying.  But taking up a stupid athletic hobby is one of the best things you can do.  I swear.  It will make you happy and help you love your body and you will meet amazing weirdos and it is great. 

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