With Christmas in the rearview mirror and the new year approaching, a lot of us will be making (and, let’s be honest, probably breaking) resolutions in the upcoming weeks.
Near the top of the list for most people, including myself, is the promise to become more healthy. That typically means trying to eat better and exercise more.
The last person you should turn to for advice on healthy diet is someone who works at a newspaper and thinks a balanced meal is a cup of coffee in each hand, but I would like to offer up some help when it comes to exercising.
Whether you join a gym or simply hit the nearest walking track or trail, you need to be prepared for what you’ll encounter — and I’m talking about people, not the equipment.
None of these people are bad, but if you let them, they can throw you off your routine. Be ready to meet:
At the gym
Helpful Hal: Hal is in pretty decent shape, but he isn’t dedicated enough to put in the work it takes to become the personal trainer he desperately wants to be. That doesn’t stop him from telling anyone within earshot how they could get better results on the treadmill if they bumped up the speed a little. Thanks Hal, but if I want to increase my speed, I’ll walk outside where large animals might chase me.
No pain, no gain Nancy: There should be some pain or discomfort involved in a good workout since you are stressing muscles and joints, but if you sound like you are giving birth to a full-grown porcupine, you’re either showing off or doing it wrong.
Bluetooth Betty: She really loves technology, so much so she doesn’t mind other people listening in on her phone conversations. I now know Betty plans to dump the broke loser she has been dating, because Ted at the office just got a raise and she’s had her eye on him for months anyway.
Song-butchering Bob: No, Bob. There is not a “bathroom on the right.” There is however a “bad moon on the rise,” and Lucille did not leave Kenny Rogers with 400 children and a crop in the field. It was four hungry children. Get it right, or I’m telling Bluetooth Betty you have a crush on her.
At the track
Power-walking Phil: He’s not running, but he’s also not really walking. He looks like the kid at the pool who keeps being told by the lifeguard to quit running, but he can’t make himself walk at a normal pace like everyone else.
Style point Sally: The interchangeable band on her workout watch matches her hat, shoes and socks.
Chatty Cathy: Her pace seems to slow when you pass her, because evidently everyone needs to know who she voted for, her kids never call her, her sister needs to lose 20 pounds but refuses to walk with her, her husband threatened to leave her if she says the word “kale” one more time ... and she hopes he leaves because she’s got her eye on Ted at the office since he just got a raise. She and Bluetooth Betty are about to throw hands.
Boom box Bobby: You can hear him coming from half a lap away. I’m not sure how that much sound is produced by the little gadget he’s wearing, but Jason from the “Friday the 13th” movies could approach us from behind with a running chainsaw and we would never know it.
Me: I don’t talk. I stroll at the same pace at all times. My workout clothes don’t match, and I don’t listen to music.
And, I bet my fellow walkers think I’m the weirdo.