Experimental Exercise I: Problem and Procedure

If you ask anyone who has spent some time with me “What are some of the things [I] dislike the most?” they would probably be able to tell you that they are:

  1. Mean-spirited people.
  2. Spending money.
  3. Exercising.

Yep, that about sums it up.  Maybe I hate shopping because I feel like it always involves all three.

I decided that this summer I needed to challenge my hatred of exercise. I didn’t want to hate it.  I did, however, need first hand evidence to convince me it’s worthwhile.  Sure I know of the health benefits, the endorphins, and the anti-aging properties… but my couch is so much comfier.  Without hard proof, the couch would always win.

So, I performed a bit of an experiment on myself this summer, which I alluded to back in August.  To get the experiment going, I needed to put a barrier between myself and the couch.  I needed to force myself to exercise by doing something I else I dislike: spend money on it.  Because I wouldn’t want the money to be wasted, I’d be forced to exercise.  But many people have tried this logic before, and usually in two typical fashions.

#1. Purchase equipment.

That wouldn’t work for me.  I couldn’t trick myself by buying exercise equipment, like a treadmill.  I already did that when I was 14 years old, using up a chunk of my birthday money I’d saved over the years.  That treadmill is loud, outdated, and rather boring.  A new one would take up way too much space of our little Manhattan apartment, and I’m certain at some point I’d feel like I earned my money’s worth and I’d stop using it.

#2. Purchase a membership.

That wouldn’t work for me.  I couldn’t trick myself by buying a gym membership.  I already did that when I was 24 years old, using up a chunk of my paycheck monthly. The first few months were great, and then I got tired of the parking-spot-battle in the gym and mall lot near Christmastime.  Convenience won out, and the bill was so low it didn’t really matter to me.  Of course NYC gym memberships are much more costly, so this time we’re on the flip side and a full-priced gym membership is not doable.

So what could I do?  Spend money the thrifty way: Living Social deals.  Obligation to use by an expiration date matched with low prices!? That’s my kind of motivation. I purchased two deals that made up a core part of my summer: one month at Crunch fitness and five classes with Circuit of Change.  Nestled between mid-July to mid-August at Crunch and September’s two weeks with Circuit of Change was Yoga to the People’s donation-only classes.  By bringing my own mat I could skip the $2 fee and donate it to the studio.

Today, with the completion of my last Boot Camp class, the summer of fitness has come to a close.  The results and conclusion? That’s another story.

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