Taking a Pass

When exercise is just out of reach.

Photo: teammarche

I didn’t make any resolutions this year. The older I get, the less interested I am in trying to become some idealized best version of myself. I know what I should be doing and I’m either doing those things or I’m not. I’m not saying that I’m perfect, or that I’m living my best life, but after years of throwing myself into resolutions with varying levels of success, there are reasons some behaviors stick and others don’t.

Of my most recent resolutions, there’s one that markedly improves my quality of life: exercise. Presently, I am not exercising. Is this some form of self-sabotage? Yes. No. Okay, maybe a little, but I’ll save digging into that for therapy. Despite the benefits that exercise can bring to my life, right now it’s financially out of reach for me.

I just heard the sound of dozens of personal finance and fitness bloggers gasping in unison. And before you comment with links to YouTube videos for at-home seven minute workouts or yoga DVDs, know that I’ve tried some variations on this theme before, without much success. I am well acquainted with frugality and have no issue with thrift store shopping or batch cooking homemade meals, but this time around, the frugal solution isn’t necessarily the right one for me.

I don’t like to exercise, but I feel better when I do it. A few years back, I was determined to make myself like exercising, so I joined ClassPass. I was instantly hooked. Where I once lacked motivation, I now had access to a never ending roster of inspiring teachers who cheered me on during spin class and adjusted my form during pilates, and I had classmates with perky butts who never sweated that made me think that perhaps that might one day be attainable for me. I got to use personal showers with great water pressure and lather up with bath products that I would never be able to afford for myself. When I left the studios there’d be bottled water and fresh fruit and hair ties, and I took comfort in the thought that as long as I was doing ClassPass, I’d never be hungry or have hair in my face. And then they raised the rate.

Although I couldn’t justify the higher cost of ClassPass, I was determined to keep exercising. I signed up for classes at a small studio near my apartment, but the classes weren’t as intense, and lugging my own towels and shower products was just one more obstacle that got in the way of me wanting to exercise. I tried doing YouTube workout videos at home, but my short attention span and fear of annoying my landlord with my elephant stomping made that short-lived. There was also no consequence if I didn’t exercise. There was no penalty fee if I no-showed and there was no instructor to guilt trip me and ask me where I’d been last week. Exercising just didn’t have the same appeal for me without the whistles and bells.

So I don’t exercise at the moment, and that’s fine for me now. I’ll occasionally look at my budget to see if I can squeeze out enough money for a ClassPass membership, but short of not paying my electric bill, it’s not financially feasible. Part of me worries that this is just an excuse to get out of doing something that’s good for me under the guise of my weakness for bougie fitness classes, but it’s important for me to weigh the benefits of this decision, as well. Ego depletion is real, and I have just enough emotional energy to motivate myself to work my main job, work my side gig, write, and maintain relationships. In order to make myself exercise, it needs to feel like an oasis instead of another responsibility, and that’s just not in the cards right now. I hope that changes soon though, because I miss the endorphins and having a butt that you could bounce a quarter off of, but for now I’ll save that quarter.

Dyan Flores is a musical theatre writer and playwright who lives in New York City. If her doctor reads this, she’s sorry for lying to her about how much she exercises. You can find her on Twitter.

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