I covered a Nike Women campaign for Adweek last spring, and unlike your typical fitness campaigns — you know, the kind where every person shown is sinewy and sexy — it showcased the average athlete and the sort-of gym goer.
There’s one moment where a cynical beginner thinks “Okay, yoga, change my life.”
I live for the life-changers. I’m a sucker for every article with titles like The One Thing Most Fortune 500 CEOs Do Every Day and Five Mistakes Creatives Make and Change Your Entire Morning With This One Trick. I am a clickbait title writer’s dream come true.
Oh, the Pomodoro technique? Lemme run to Target and buy a timer.
Oh my God, this timer ticks really loudly and I’m going to turn into a sociopath before I hit Minute 17.
Maybe it’s all in an effort to streamline things, become more productive, better myself, run faster, jump higher, but trying new things becomes exhausting.
For example, using a slow cooker changes your life only if you’re willing to “finely chop” (ugh) a million vegetables and declare, for the thirtieth time, that it’s time to replace your ten-year-old knives.
Waking up at 5am only changes your life if you’re not injecting Diet Coke intravenously to stay awake by 2pm. In fact, I discovered that it only becomes life-changing and successful if I’m in bed by 9pm — a huge sacrifice for many parents, because it cuts down on that cushion of time between the kids’ bedtime and parents’ bedtime.
Other things that have actually changed my life: bralettes (no worrying about cup and band size!), buying four of the same shirt and rotating them (your mileage may vary on the people around you eye-rolling), and cleaning my car out every weekend. Easy enough.
Harder things. Getting a gym membership only changes your life if you actually go. (Apparently I’m really good at donating money to gyms because I am a generous benefactor who hasn’t stepped on an elliptical machine since circa 2007.)
I recently did a trial week and “got duped” (if you’re my husband) into signing up for an extra trial month at a local gym. It offered sessions right in the time-slot where I need it (around 5:30am), eliminating my excuse for being unable to “really, find anything at all, why aren’t there 5:30 am yoga classes?”
It’s an all-women’s gym where women of various ages and sizes lift heavy weights and amass an impressive amount of back sweat to a mix of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Missy Elliott.
“It only takes 21 days to make a habit, which is why they offered the discounted trial month beyond the trial week. They’re trying to hook you,” warned the sage vegan, as I body surfed on a foam roller on the kitchen floor and begged him to bring me Icy Hot.
“If I can drag my ass to the gym at 5:30 in the morning a few times a week for an entire month, that’s a habit I’m willing to pay for.” I’m not convinced I can make a habit of it, I who stay up late for deadlines and sleep in until forced to brush little-girl-hair at around 7:30 and bail on protein shakes a quarter of the way through.
Last night, by the time I got the girls in bed (7:00p), and puttered around, putting away dinner dishes and answering a couple of emails (8:00p), I looked at the clock and realized that I didn’t want to go to bed at 9:00p without having downtime. I wanted to hang out on the couch for a couple of hours and eat candy and watch the next Harry Potter film in my line-up (no spoilers; I’ve only just started watching them) and absolutely not wake up at 4:45am to be at the gym by 5:30am.
But I crankily went to bed, and — somehow, in spite of my steady relationship with the snooze button — made it to the gym, and somehow did more push-ups than I had the week before. Which is more than I could do the week before that.
Noticing improvements in what I can do is wildly more motivating than gauges I’ve used in the past — have I lost weight? am I any closer looking like an elder member of Taylor Swift’s squad in my swimsuit?
Instead it’s more like — I can lift that thing now! I am showered before my kids are up! I can totally have a chili dog and a Diet Coke at lunch today!
Things that haven’t changed my life include the Whole 30, Konmari (yet), running (ugh), lukewarm water w/lemon (Gwyneth loves it), and Making a Murderer. Because it makes me really anxious and angry for an hour at a clip when I could be misunderstanding every plot theme in Harry Potter instead. ⚡️