by NATALIA HAWK
Friends: I have become an evening exerciser.
I am now one of those people who straps on their joggers after a long, hard day at work, then jogs merrily out the office door and all the way home.
I know. I hate those people too. I used to sit on the bus, staring out the window at all the healthy exercise-y people, snorting with derision as my bus sped past 800 times faster than them. Idjits.
But I quit the gym several weeks ago (my boss had to sign a letter to get me out of the contract but that’s a whole other post) and had to find another time to exercise. Since mornings and I go together like beer and toothpaste (i.e. not at all) the evening was the only option.
So I got inspired by those bus-route-running-home people. After all, it’s summer and daylight savings and still so nice at 7pm and running SAVES THE ENVIRONMENT because running uses no petrol. Someone get me a medal already.
Here’s how my first evening of running home went down. Broken down by kilometre.
9km from home: Leave office. Am tired already, but whatever. Tell colleagues I am running home. Colleagues say: “Won’t it take you several years?” Me: “Google maps says it will only take 2 hours to walk. And Google maps walking pace is measured by turtles, so I am estimating I will be home in 20 minutes.”
8km from home: Running through the city, feeling fit and fantastic. This is because I have to stop at a different intersection every 15 metres to wait for the green walking man signal. This is excellent for resting. I’m like an old lady who looks forward to red lights when driving so she has time to collect her thoughts. But still, LOOK AT ME RUNNING HOME.
7km from home: Intersections become less frequent. Body remembers that it hates running. Really, really hates running. Everything starts to hurt. Running home suddenly becomes a very, very, very terrible idea.
6km from home: Boyfriend calls and asks what I’m doing. “Running home,” I pant. “WHY?” he says. “BECAUSE I AM EVIDENTLY INSANE AND QUITE POSSIBLY ON THE VERGE OF DEATH,” I snap. He pauses. “I’ll ring you back in January 2014,” he says. “You’ll probably still be going.”
5km from home: Get overtaken by a pensioner. Start to cry.
4km from home: Cue drool dripping from my mouth at the sight of buses, beautiful sleek buses with their wheels and their engines and comfortable seats. I am like a thirsty camel in the desert.
3km from home: Boyfriend calls back. “I forgot to tell you that I used to run 10km after work every day. So you’ll be fine.” Try to remember why I even like him. Come up with nothing.
2km from home: Fitness Fanatic Freak Friend texts me. I tell him I am running home (he lives right near me so he will understand my pain, plus stopping to text means I can take another ‘rest’). “From the city?” says Fitness Fanatic Freak Friend. “I did that once. It took me 27 minutes. How are you going?” Decide not to reply.
1km from home: Dying. Dying. Death. Dying. Goodbye cruel world.
Home: One hour and fifteen minutes after leaving work, I am passed out on the floor of the living room. Family members carefully step around my limbs as I sweat on the rug and try to explain that I ran all the way home. Despite the overwhelming exhaustion, there is also much pride. “I will do this every evening!!!” I say to myself. And then I go to bed at 9pm.
And that is how I became an evening exerciser. A runner-of-the-bus-route. ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. And I tell you this, you don’t hate them when you ARE them.
So I have proved a point to myself and the world and that is – the best time to exercise is not morning, nor immediately before breakfast, nor during your lunch break or late at night. The best time to exercise is WHENEVER YOU’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO DO IT.
This from Fairfax:
Research has shown that exercising first thing in the morning may aid weight loss and that the body is best primed for physical activity in the late afternoon. But, as the excellent fitness coach Alwyn Cosgrove likes to say, “psychology trumps physiology”, and I will change that to, “practicality trumps physiology”.
The most important thing is picking a time of day when you can actually get your workouts done because if you can’t get them done, any talk about optimising them becomes irrelevant because they’re not getting done.
Just pick a time you know you can work out and if that isn’t practical , then try another time. If the second attempted time doesn’t work, try something else.
That’s easy enough for me.
When do you exercise? How do you motivate yourself?