In which I ramble on about exercising (you’re welcome)


By Sarah Mansheim
Managing Editor • Mountain Messenger


I hate working out.

I’ve come to realize that my general state of consciousness is just one notch above being asleep. When my girls were babies, I discovered that I could drink a cup of coffee, followed by a Coke, and immediately take a nap. At the time, I thought I was just sleep deprived.

A decade later, I can still do it. Heck, I might be asleep right now.

Thanks to my general tiredness, I drink coffee all day. It’s embarrassing how much I drink. I drink my coffee black, and between all the trips to the kitchen to refill my mug and all the cuss words I fling around the office, you’d think I was some 1960’s-era middle management guy on a one-track trip to Heart Attacksville. I’m like Mad Men minus the martinis and love affairs.


I still have to work out – otherwise, I’d blow up to the size of a tank and just roll down the street, flattening pets and children on my way to some sunny spot to catch a few z’s. Not good, right?

Here is an exhaustive list of exercise regimens I’ve undertaken over the past couple of decades: karate, step aerobics, tennis, flamenco dancing, yoga, hiking, running, Pilates, Zumba, high intensity interval training, kickboxing, Billy Blanks’ tai bo (remember that?), CrossFit, Bar Method, and miles upon miles on the treadmill and elliptical machine. Usually these routines are pretty short lived because, frankly, I don’t exercise because I want to; I do it because I have to. And, once I don’t have to do it anymore, I don’t. Until I do. And so on and so on.

This week, after a couple of glasses of wine, I agreed to sign up for salsa dancing classes at Hill and Holler next month. We’ll see how that goes. Anyone who’s ever seen me in Zumba class is probably sniggering right now, but whatever, I think I’ll be better at salsa dancing because the shoes are so cute.

Anyway, after dropping out of CrossFit last winter, I struggled to find my new niche, and, remarkably, I’ve stumbled upon one that seems to work for me.

About 10 years ago I convinced Tom to buy me a thousand dollar Nordic Track elliptical machine from Sears. When we got it home, and Tom assembled it, we realized that it was much bigger than it appeared in the showroom. Seriously, it was a Clydesdale. Also, it was really, really heavy.

So, the elliptical machine has sat in the same corner of our living room ever since. I’ve used it sporadically, but we’ve also discovered it makes a great place to hang jackets and scarves. At one point, we had three or four boxes stacked on it for about six months. I’ve wanted to get rid of it several times, but it was so expensive, and I have no idea how to get it out of my house.

Anyway, for the last three weeks or so, I’ve been back on the elliptical every morning for a half hour. Here’s the trick: I get up and I immediately start working out. I don’t even have my coffee yet. I just get up, put on my clothes and tennis shoes, turn on MTV and get on the elliptical.

Here’s a secret: at 5 a.m., MTV still plays music videos, so in addition to working out, I’ve discovered all kinds of new songs I don’t like! Win-win, right?!

I think that the reason this new routine is working for me is that for the first 15 minutes, I’m still asleep. Then, by the time I actually wake up and realize, “Hey! I’m working out! Wait! I don’t want to work out!” I look down at the timer and realize I’m halfway done. I figure, well, I might as well finish.

So, I just trudge on, watching Puff Daddy light money on fire while naked white ladies dance around him. I try to take inspiration from those ladies and tell myself that if I run faster, maybe I can look like them. Then, I remember that they’re, like, 18, and I’m, like, not, so, that’s not going to happen, and then I just walk for a while and think about how far we’ve come as a society now that a black man can star in a video full of nearly naked white chicks while racks of cash burn behind him in the background.

Then, maybe, I watch “The Golden Girls,” and laugh at good old Rose, still dumb as ever, and dear old Blanche, she’s such a slut.

Then boom! I’m done!

I promise to give y’all an update after the salsa dancing lessons. Pray for Tom, I’m sure I’ll be stepping on his toes, but no more than usual.