Mar 3, 2009

Personal Fitness Confessions

by Matthew Coleman

 Over the past few weeks, a battle has been raging violently in my mind. On the one side stands the desire to maintain an athletic physique and look good according to society’s standards. Waiting on the other side is a voice that quietly says, “Gee, that couch looks really comfy.”

As much as I try to sugarcoat it, the real question is whether to be a hard working and physically fit person or a relaxed and noticeably rounder person. There are ups and downs to both sides, and the battle continues on with no clear victor.

Until just recently, there was a legitimate excuse for my state of athletic hiatus. Merely four days after Christmas, I had all of my wisdom teeth violently yanked out of my mouth, without remorse. While the Vicodin was an interesting experience, and my liking of the show House has increased tenfold, the operation left me unable to work out for six weeks. Most people say that you do not need the whole six weeks, but the thought of all the freshly laid sutures and newly formed blood vessels in my mouth rupturing all at once killed any desire I had to even go for a jog.

But now the six week time period has come and gone, and I have still not seen the inside of a gym or gone near the a pair of running shoes, silently gathering dust in my closet. The desire to work out is alive and well, but the voice of laziness has been consistently winning out. When it comes down to it, the decision between “manning up” and hitting the weights comes in close second to couch surfing. Why workout while I can simply sit about?

Consider everything a semi-decent workout entails: get dressed, put on running shoes, stretch and run the half mile to the LaHaye Center. The pre-workout workout has already zapped half my energy while taking up 30 minutes of precious me time. Now consider that at least another hour must be devoted to actually working out, and an additional 15 minutes or so for the run back. That is an hour and 45 minutes that could have been used for a rejuvenating nap.

The way I see it, there are two types of people in the world: those who like exercising and people like me — lethargic couch potatoes of America. Sure, working out is good for my health and physical appearance, but there are so many other more enjoyable things I could be doing with my spare time. After a long day of classes, convocation and tests, the last thing I want to do is start lifting random, inanimate objects in the never ending pursuit of “perfection.”

Sure, every one in a while I stumble across an old picture of myself, its still-frame bedazzled by my former fitness. In fact, there was once a time when running three miles and a half miles in less than 20 minutes was a breeze. Now, my noticeably rounder self prefers to not even think about running for fear of breaking into a sweat. Were I to attempt such a physical feat today, my heart would most likely stop six minutes in.

By the standards I once kept proudly, my physical condition, or lack there of, is pathetic. From this line of thinking, I am trying to form the motivation necessary to get myself back into the groove of working out. It is a struggle, but at least I know that if I fail, the couch will always take me back.

Contact Matthew Coleman at


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