(This is an excerpt from a piece I did for a magazine.)
I don’t believe in working out in groups or even around other people. I’m now a proud, new member of the solo workout club. Just recently, I had the epiphany that I was better off exercising in solitary confinement. (What’s the sound you’re hearing? It could be a collective sigh of relief from the people who have had to witness me attempting to do a burpee.)
I think my long, meandering journey to cardio aloneness began in middle school P.E. If there’s anything that’s going to make you apprehensive about demonstrating your lack of athletic gifts in a group setting it’s the shaming ritual that is a co-ed physical education class held in the cafe/gym/atorium. Decades later, I’m still having bouts of PTSD.
Over the years, I’ve forced myself to steadfastly and enthusiastically embrace almost every kind of ensemble (or commingling in misery) workout. There was “friend Pilates” which I so thought was for me. I mean, come on, how could it not be? You’re laying down for all it. The problem is the thing that looks like a cot with some cool ropes and pulleys is really a rack stolen from some third-rate medieval museum in Europe or the examination room table from the office of a psychopath gynecologist.
Then, more recently, I signed up for a military grade boot camp where you wake up way too early and drag a tire from an 18-wheeler down the street while being encouraged to grunt your way to fitness. The pack of us, “tire pullers,” sounded like a herd of terminally constipated cattle groaning our way to the stockyard. And I was this close to doing some F word fitness (I think it was fusion or fission) until a friend told me most newbies vomit and/or cry during their first week of class. Hmm, tears and throw up, I think I’m going to have to take a pass on that.
As for the workouts described as being kinder to your body, like yoga, well, true confession time here – I have, what I will politely call, a very robust, vocal lower intestine and I don’t wish to share that in a serene workout environment. The one and only time I tried yoga I made my daughter go with me so if things got, shall we say, noisy, I could blame it on her. It did and I did.
All this exercise angst is why when the FitBit came out I thought I had finally found the perfect workout friend. My husband got one first and he fell in love, like love, love. He and his FitBit are inseparable. I’ve caught him, too many times to keep count, gently caressing it. I’ve even heard him talking to his FitBit. I called him on it and he tried to cover up his FitBit affair with some lame excuse that he was just “thinking aloud.” Yeah, right. Who thinks aloud by cooing love sonnets? One night, I, not so gently, suggested he take the FitBit off when he goes to bed. He gave me a look that said, “I’d sooner sleep on the couch.” I had no choice, for the sake of marital harmony, but to concede that his FitBit fetish is now a part of our relationship. I also thought two can play this game and got myself one.
My FitBitting couldn’t have happened at a better time. I had recently sworn off Spanx, well, really any sort of shape wear, due to a near death experience I had while driving I found myself in the epicenter of a full-blown Spanx panic attack and while attempting to rip, claw, and gnaw off my Spanx I almost killed myself. The primary problem was that I was dual wielding Spanx. That’s right, I had done Spanx over Spanx and it was cutting off my circulation to such an extent that it had to come off ASAP.
I’m telling you it was one thing getting the Spanx tights off, not easy, but doable, especially if you let them rest at your ankles, but getting off a Spanx Power Brief with one hand on the steering wheel and the other crotch adjacent is a whole other story. The good news – I lived and made a vow that I would never wear shape wear again. This meant I had to really step up my exercise game and the FitBit was going to be my BFF.
Things started off great at first. How could it not? My hot pink FitBit was just darling. I even named it Xnaps (which is Spanx backwards and yes, I know, naming my FitBit makes me weird). It seemed like she knew me, like she got me. You know those relationships where there’s an immediate connection? That was Xnaps and I. She didn’t talk, but she buzzed and when she did it was so positive, life affirming really. But then after a couple of weeks things got bad. Xnaps got all pouty. She stopped buzzing for me. Oh, sure she would buzz on and off, but not with the same level of affection she used to buzz for me. And, even worse, I felt like I was being judged. Xnaps had turned into a passive aggressive witch.
Every time I looked down at my left wrist I felt bad and maybe even a little sad. Who needs that? Not me. Because do you know what happens when I feel bad and sad? I reach out for the healing, and some might say the medicinal, properties of Chips Ahoy and Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies or currently Nothing Bundt Cakes bundtinis (yes, that was me stalking their booth at last month’s Holiday Boutique, but hey there was no sign that said “just take one sample”). My paralyzing fear of overdosing on carbs and sugar left me no choice, but to part ways with Xnaps. It was an ugly break up. I didn’t just put her away in my sock drawer so I could possibly reunite with her down the road. Nope, I kicked her to the curb or more accurately to my husband’s wrist.
You see Xnaps is a newer version of the FitBit and all my husband had to do is change the band from pink to black and he had himself a brand new tech lover. Weirdly, he didn’t stop wearing his old FitBit. In fact, sometimes he’s wears both, like he doesn’t want to have to choose between them. Good for him if he believes he’s man enough to handle two FitBits. Whatever. None of that matters because I’ve now gone old school with exercising. The only thing I bring with me is my dog and, trust me, she’s a lot better company than that judgey FitBit. In fact, I couldn’t recommend a better workout partner.
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**For more Snarky check out my book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.
Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.