I may joke about my weight a lot, but I am keenly aware that I need to do something about my habits if I still want to enjoy comic-cons in the future. For the past couple of months, I decided to add exercise to my daily routine.

I hate it.

I work in a school, and for much of my career, the athletic-minded teachers around me – mostly gym teachers – would tell me that there’s nothing more satisfying than a good workout. They say it’ll energize me, wake me up in the morning, and leave me feeling stronger and more positive.

As with most things in life, exercise isn’t one-size-fits-all. I have yet to experience a runner’s high. I am just as tired as I was before I started this. I ache constantly. I’m not any less depressed than I am on a normal basis. I still need my regular medications. And I haven’t seen any weight benefits! If anything, exercise makes me miserable. I hate waking up in the morning and doing it, so my alarm goes off and triggers a sense of dread. I trudge downstairs to the treadmill, warm up, get on, and try to decrease how long it takes me to run a mile.

The current time is pathetic, by the way.

That’s not to say there are no results from my workout. I have managed to smack my hand off the bar of the treadmill, giving me a nice bruise. I slipped and earned a beautiful brush burn on my leg. That forced me to buy better shoes, so I spent money. I have new aches and pains. Oh, and I’ve dropped my phone and launched it across the basement!

Sure, this is a summer exercise plan, but I have to make it last long term. That will mean getting up at 5 in the morning to exercise when school starts.

I hate mornings. I often tell people that I love going to work, but I hate the whole waking-up part that happens before that. I only live two minutes away from work, so I don’t have to get up too early most days. If I keep my morning workout routine going, I will lose the main benefit of living so close to my job!

The biggest lesson that I have learned from exercise is that I must be wired wrong. I have friends who post their workouts to Facebook, excited about how much they’ve accomplished. I know people who go to spin classes, which I’m pretty sure is just a repackaged Spanish Inquisition torture machine. I have some friends who search for 10Ks and such to run or get excited about bike races like the Tour de Brockway, but I can’t get any kind of positive emotions for an hour workout that is mostly spent lying on the floor trying not to throw up.

The danger here, I think, is comparing myself to others. There are people who do get benefits from diet and exercise, but I don’t seem to be one of them. This is what has killed my exercise endeavors in the past. Throughout my 20s, I tried exercise, but the lack of any benefits usually left me debating if more time sleeping wouldn’t serve me better. I have spent my late 20s through my 30s starting to resemble my couch. People tried to inspire me by saying that I need a goal to work towards, which was usually some amount of weight lost.

But not this time. This time, I have a goal that doesn’t involve pounds or inches. I want to be able to walk around a comic-con, stand in line, and get back to my hotel without gasping like a drowning moose.

The brush burn on my leg should tell you how well that’s going.

But I have a clear goal in mind, and I will try to keep going. Maybe I’ll eventually build a habit or something. Maybe I’ll see some real benefits when I make it to comic-con again, probably in 2021 or 2022 when we get out of this COVID mess.

I wish I could tell you something inspirational, like “It’s never too late to take your health seriously” or something like that, but I can’t. The only thing I can tell you is the truth.

Exercise is miserable, but I’m going to keep doing it until I don’t.

Yeah, that didn’t inspire me either. Excuse me while I go see how far my phone flew this time.

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Andrew Bundy is a husband, father, teacher, writer, and nerd. You can reach him at bundycolumn@gmail.com.

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