keep it dark (snidegrrl) wrote,
keep it dark

The Workout Time Fallacy

Often, when someone tells you that something will take XX:XX time, they neglect to factor in all kinds of things. This applies in particular to working out; more often than not people are focused on the length of the workout: "Just 15 minutes every day!" or "Just 30 minutes 5 days a week!" or what have you. But this is actually lies.

For instance, if you go to a gym, there's the 10-15 minutes getting there (assuming you don't work or live within moments of walking into a gym, in which case THAT IS NICE FOR YOU), possibly not even counting walking through a parking lot or checking in or whatever it is you have to do before your workout actually begins.

Then there is the whole workout clothing thing. Now, if I could wear sweatpants to work (and maybe you can do this, or you work from home, same thing applies: I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU) then fine, I could take this out of my time accounting. But I have to wear at least jeans to work, so I count the time to change and stow my other clothes. This generally still applies if you work out in your home, so go right ahead and count it! I suppose if you have it down to a total science and you are a fricking robot this can take seconds. In reality, it probably takes a few minutes, particularly if you have some kind of long hair to put back or you have to queue up your ipod or what the hell ever other gear you need to prepare. I for one also have a hell of a time getting in and out of your average sports bra. Add another 5 or so minutes for all this.

THEN if you are planning on doing a reasonable workout that actually, you know, works you out, you are probably going to be gross afterwards. If it's the morning, your de-grossing can coincide with your morning shower. If it's the evening and you need to go out to dinner afterwards, you have to take a whole other freaking shower and basically do your morning thing all over again. Or if you are particularly gross after said workout (like when I play softball) you can't even sit on your own furniture or lie in your own bed, so you need a shower. Add another 15 minutes, at least, from the time you enter "workout time" to the time you are back to "normal time".

If you're a gym person, add another 10-15 minutes to go home. 5, if you're lucky and you live near the gymn and the lights are with you.

Now, best case estimate, your workout has cost you just over an hour of your day. That's for a lowly half-hour workout. I have heard tell that some people, the Workout People, actually like to do an hour or more of exercise a day. For now I will fantastize about becoming a Workout Person, and surrendering precious email opening and web browsing to the goal of becoming an American Gladiator. In reality, I will try to figure out how to fit this 01:05 adventure into my daily routine.

I considered trying to fit it into my morning. Running was my preferred idea for this; no driving involved, no stupid machinery in my home, no feeling like a damn fool in front of a workout video I'm being halfhearted about. I have to get to work at 9am which means I need to leave the house around 8:10. It takes me 30 minutes to get ready (more if I want to pack a lunch, let's not get into how much time food takes, jesus that's a whole other post) so that puts me at finishing my workout at 8:30 or so. This means getting up at 7:45. That should be doable on days when I don't have class, right? OK, that's my best bet, but lately it's been below freezing. ALOT. Which makes the running thing sort of untenable, although I guess if I were really badass I would suck it up. (Amusing note: I posted a craigslist ad for running buddies but the one woman I wasn't completely terrified to meet didn't write me back.)

Then, given the freezing, I considered the gym option. So I get to work at 9, I'm there until 5:30, I don't realistically get home until 6:30 (on non-class days). I take my ass over to the gym and get started at, let's be honest here, 7pm, finish up, get home by 7:45. I promised myself 30 minutes of drum practice every day, so now it's 8:30. Then I have 3.5 hours to eat dinner and do everything else I want or need to do.

Actually I guess that doesn't sound so bad now that I write it all out. And on class days I could maybe go to the gym (if I joined SportFit it's directly next to the building) before class, assuming I wasn't so gross that my classmates keeled over. Just... the idea of not being "free" until 8:30 (and then having to figure out dinner) sounded so awful to me. Realistically those 3.5 hours will disappear like snowflakes on a spring day. But what I have to get my mind around is that this is how I want to spend my free time. That time from 6:30 to 8:30 is free time which I have chosen to fill with efforts that will help me be the person I want to be.

But the reason I call this the time fallacy is that it's NOT like I will get home at 6:30, work out, and be done at 7. I have to reckon with the REAL time this will take up. I think about all the things I want to spend my time on - photography, games, tv, reading, crafts, socializing, bowling, reading teh ljs, wikipedia meandering and a long list of other fun things - and know that some things are just not gonna get done. Tonight I find out just how much homework is in the mix. I offer this not as excuses, but as a sort of get-real approach to my own excuses: these are the facts, ma'am, and you must work with them.

I know, those of you with kids are laughing at me right now. This is why birth control is very important to me.

I guess there is a pro-con matrix going on:

Running Pros: Free/Cheap, takes less time, right outside my front door
Running Cons: Requires earlier wakeup, Seasonal/weather issues, public and terrifying

Gym Pros: Access to professional trainers, equipment, surrounds me with Workout People
Gym Cons: Expensive as hell, sucks up percieved free time, requires driving, public and terrifying

Someday I would like to be a Workout Person and do both. Yes, I hear the peals of laughter. I admire Workout People though. I think they are better people than I am, if I am going to be completely naked in my feelings.

EDIT: OH and I totally forgot STRETCHING. Which is like another 10 minutes they don't count in those "work out in a half hour" things.
Tags: health, time
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