In the 5th Grade myself and my best friend Alex Mattis would hide under the bleachers during track and field day. Not only did we not want to run, we did not want to run in front of people. Yes, because we were very lazy, and maybe the most out of shape people but mostly because the thought of running around the track in front of the girls I liked and the guys who wanted to beat me up scared me to death. Everyone would see how winded I got after 15 strides, and gym teachers wouldn't let you just quit once somebody won the race. Everyone would have to finish. Which meant I would be delaying the next event until I finished running a mile around the track, most likely 45 minutes. So, I hid under the bleachers. Since then I had never been the 'athletic type'.
It's certainly held me back when it comes to fun sporting excursions with friends. I'll bowl, I'll mini-golf, but if you want someone to join in on a game of pick up basketball I am once again hiding under the bleachers. During college I set foot in my school's state-of-the-art gym a total of 2 times. Both times as a joke. Moving my body in a physical way just never seemed like a real option for me.
Right before Keri and I got married we joined a gym to work on our (my) beach bods. I would plop myself on the elliptical for 35 minutes and watch episodes of Teen Mom 2. I hated it. After the wedding and after the honeymoon I continued paying for the gym membership but very rarely went, unless a friend would come along.
This past year during our debt snowball I decided to give the gym another shot. Sure, it takes $21 out of our budget each month but sometimes your health is worth it. What I have found after using the gymnasium for awhile is that... I like it. Dun dun Duuuuun! Not only is it exciting to be able to walk the groceries up the stairs without losing my breath, and exciting to see myself drop some added LBs, it is also something you can do for a very small amount of money.
Exercise is free-ish (after the cost of a pair of running shoes) and fun-ish (if you only think about the end result and not your sweat covered underboob). Think about it this way. I used to enjoy going to see movies in the theater. That's roughly $8 every time I would go, plus the cost of a little bit of popcorn, and maybe a Root Beer let's aim low and call it $14. If I did that twice a month it would be more than going to the gym, which I can do any day for as long as I want for one monthly cost. Now, I can see some of you saying "Gym's are NOT that cheap." What I say to you is, if you live in the Greater Boston area they are. I use GymIt, which has two super close locations to me in Watertown and Brookline.
Physical activity doesn't just have to be done at a gym though. Ricky Henderson, bro! Working out or just actively moving your body is a free thing and if you do it enough you'll start to like it. For me, going to the gym has replaced going to the movies. Financially smarter, physically smarter. I'm pretty much a rich, fit genius.
Stay tuned Friday for an update on the snowball and how we have managed to live in the 21st Century finally. -DW