I have a problem.

(Well, I have many problems, but this is just one I’m choosing to highlight today.)

I think I may be a Serial Fitness Groupon Hoarder.

I don’t think I need to explain how Groupon (or Living Social, Deal Pop, etc.) works, do I? Basically, my in-box is flooded every morning with daily deals, and most of the time, I delete them without even looking. I know right away if the deal is something I want, and if it is, I do thoughtfully evaluate my likelihood to use it. If it’s for a restaurant we already love, I’m gonna buy it. If it’s for some service I’m already thinking about getting, I’m gonna buy it. But mostly, I pass up all the spa treatments, all the reduced price memberships, all the crap I just don’t need.

Except. I have a hard time passing up all the fitness deals. Currently, I have vouchers for five yoga classes, four NIA classes, and one two-hour trapeze session. One of yesterday’s deals was three one-hour boot camp sessions, and as I read the fine print and clicked the various links to learn more, I realized I may have a problem much greater than just buying too many Groupons.

See, I’ve been saying for months now that I need to start working out. For about a week, I was really gung ho on becoming a runner, and I wrote about how I’d started the popular Couch to 5K program. But then I realized after three (?) runs that running is just … not for me. So then I thought, maybe instead I’ll walk every night, and not just a casual stroll with the stroller. I’d actually put on my workout clothes and sneakers, and walk until I broke a sweat. Um, that didn’t happen, either. I’ve considered joining a gym — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked our local YMCA’s group fitness schedule and pricing structure — but our finances are just too tight right now, and I couldn’t envision when I’d actually go. In the evenings, after Rowan went to bed? Very early in the mornings before he woke up? No.

I’ve lamented to Roth for months about how unhappy I am with my current body and how out-of-shape I feel, suggesting that perhaps, we could figure out some sort of fitness routine we could do together. But, he hasn’t taken my bait. He just says, “I know, you keep telling me that. Do something about it.” I suppose all my prodding was in the hopes HE’D be the one to get my butt up off the couch. I know better, though. If I’m going to get in shape, I have to be the one to do it. I have to make the change in my own life. (Perhaps it’ll inspire him to do the same?) And I can’t sit around waiting for someone else to motivate me.

Lack of finances, lack of motivation — those are just excuses I’ve made for myself. It doesn’t cost anything to work out, if I really want to work out. No one, but myself, is holding me back. The stockpiling of fitness coupons, those are all just symbolic of my intentions. I totally intend to run a 5K/take up cycling/go to yoga/become a tap dancer/join a circus, but intentions are meaningless if they’re wasted. (And not to mention, a waste of money, if I don’t actually use the pre-paid vouchers. I think that’s precisely how these deal-a-day sites work. I’m sure businesses count on a certain percentage of customers just like me who intend to cash them in, but never do, and that’s how it works out for them, from a financial standpoint.)

I know for a fact that I just feel better when I regularly work out. I often think about the early part of 2005, when I became obsessed with spin cycling. I would take classes five days a week, and in a matter of a couple of months, I’d shed 20 pounds without doing anything else. (Also, I was highly motivated by my upcoming wedding.) I felt amazing. I looked amazing. I keep thinking I just need to do that again. But then, I’m not the same girl I was in 2005, before I got married, moved to Seattle, and had a kid. The thought that continually runs through my head is, I need to find a new Thing that makes me feel good, be it brisk walking, hot yoga, Zumba, heck, even water aerobics could be fun.

I think that’s why I’m drawn to buying up as many fitness coupons I can, in the hopes I’ll find that one thing. But, I’m scared I’ll just keeping making excuses, and the intentions will just keep piling up. How do I break the cycle?



  1. I agree, you have to find something you love. I recently accepted I have to work out for the rest of my life and the thought of doing the 30-Day Shred or the elliptical FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE makes me want to jump out a window but the thought of running or lifting weights for the rest of my life does not, thankfully.

    Finding that something you love is so key.

    But I want to try lots of new things, too, to see if there’s something else I love. Ballet, Zumba, boot camp, SOMETHING, etc. So I totally get it!

    (Also, for what it’s worth, I didn’t really love running either until the first day I ran a full mile without stopping. Then I wanted to take over the world.)

  2. I hear you on this (though I happily deleted the boot camp offer because I am not a sadist, ha!). For me it’s finding the time and the inclination. I’m so glad I’ve found yoga and it clicks for me. For a while water aerobics was it. Years ago it was walking every morning. I think if I could actually burn calories or get some cardio out of THINKING about working out or shaming myself about not doing it enough, I’d be in excellent shape.

    P.S. Water aerobics really can be fun!

  3. Mom

    Stop the groupon offer emails from coming in. It’s costing you too much money for nothing and now your accumulating guilt as well. When you decide to start working out, you will and it won’t cost you anything because you have everything you need to exercise: A healthy body that just needs to move more.

  4. I’ve been running (ha! “RUNNING”) for about 2 years and the only reason I keep doing it is because I gives me time out of the house BY MYSELF. But I’m all out of motivation – lost the baby weight, no upcoming bridal party photos – and that’s the hardest part, finding reasons to keep going. But at least you’re buying the Groupons – I just laugh and delete.

  5. Sorry, darlin’ – it’s genetic (WPS: Workout Procrastination Syndrome)! Same boat, different. Maybe with the furnace-like heat subsiding here, I, too, will get off the old buttocks and start moving (again). Good luck. You’ll figure out something.

  6. If I may suggest. I started with a couple weeks ago, and it’s made a big difference. It’s a calorie counter website/app, but the difference about this one is that it’s got a huge database of foods already set up. So rather than having to sit there and figure out how may calories are in my cheerios, I just search for cheerios and it adds the calories for me. You can even add the ingredients to your favorite recipes and it calculates the calories for you. It’s totally low pressure and lets you set realistic goals personalized for you. The thing I love about it is that instead of saying, “You cannot eat this or that EVER,” it merely encourages exercise and makes you aware of what you’re eating. So if I want to get ice cream after dinner, I’m totally free to, as long as I have the calories free to do so. It’s sort-of a similar idea to Weight Watchers, only it’s free and without the cake-hating.

  7. As a spin-off from the advice your mom offered, maybe the motivation you use to find your new “Thing” for working out is to tell yourself, “I have paid for coupons for X and Y and Z. Even if I try X and don’t like it, I will have done something physical, tried something new and moved one step closer to figuring out what my next ‘Thing’ is going to be.” That’s how I ended up liking yoga – my gym at the time offered classes, and I decided that was the perfect way to try it – because I was already paying for it (as part of my membership).

    Granted, it means still finding the time to go do X or Y…but don’t beat yourself up too much, either. At least you’re thinking about how to improve your health…and even if you get stuck in that place longer than you feel good about, you’re on the right path. =)

  8. Linda

    OK, I love groupon too. I just started recently to get them. I’ve got maybe 5 now. But I will use them. One is for a garden store, one is for a haircut, one is for wine, one is for a Pilates class and one, which I gave to Lisa, is for the Co-op market. Just start using the ones you’ve got. Go to the place and sign up. They probably don’t expire for a while. Mine last around 6 months. Go when Roth is home. I made a determination on May 9, my mother’s day gift to me, to get healthy. I’ve lost 38 pounds, I go to the local YMCA and work out some days and take a water pilates and a Zumba class other days. You have Talked the Talk, now Walk the Walk! You can do it! Good luck. And I feel great!

  9. I finally got my butt off the couch a few months after Lu was born, nothing like a vacation to a warm location and the threat of wearing a bathing suit in public to get me going. Of course that lasted all of 2 months and then I spent another 10 sitting on my growing ass making excuses for myself. I finally had a come to jesus with myself this spring and realized that I had sunk to that point of being uncomfortable in my own skin and needed to make a change. I had to be realistic, I won’t use a gym and don’t enjoy running so I use a growing library of workout videos and long walks up the hills surrounding our house with the kids in the double stroller. I now make time for myself to do this every single day and everything in my life has benefited in the last 6 months. Good luck!

  10. Sharon

    I actually was thinking of you the other day and the Couch to 5K thing. I agree with Jennie in that once you reach a certain point in running it gets easier (and for me, I also kind of got that conquer the world feeling – or at least a half marathon). Last summer, we were so close to running in a half marathon (up to 10 miles!) but then we found out we were pregnant and I got so paranoid about hurting the baby that I completely stopped running. I swore to myself that after Della was born I would start back up and the week I was released after delivery, I actually did start running. However, you can’t take babies running with you until they are 6 months old so it was time away from Della which I wasn’t as willing to give up. I feel like I’m in the same boat as you. The thing that has gone well for me is the walks with the stroller after I get home from work. I also use this time to multi-task and catch up with phone calls to siblings and friends. Something that may add a little more caloric burn to your day could be printing to a network printer rather than a computer at your desk (if that is an option), taking stairs rather than elevators, parking far away, carry groceries through the store on small trips, etc… some are now impractical with kids but I think that little things add up quicker than you think! Good luck.

  11. Ok, I haven’t even finished reading this. You think spa treatments are “crap” that you don’t need!? Girl, who are you? I snag the cheapest massages that are VERY MUCH needed for a busy, tired mama of a 2 year old as much as I can! :)

  12. Okay, I finished reading now. :) I know how hard it is to fit working out into your already busy work/daycare pick-up/dinner/kid in bed schedule, believe me! I’ve marked off Tuesday and Thursdays after work as my hour of workout time while Huz is with Claire. Then we try to do a walk/run as a family on Saturday. That’s 3 days a week. I also try to walk the 1/2 mile from my parking lot to my office twice a day. Can you do something like that or use your lunch as a walking lunch?

  13. Shannon L.

    I wish I had the answer to your question b/c I need the same advice. If you’re like me then you need an event to look forward to, i.e. wedding, vacation, etc. I’ve been threatening myself with signing up for some race or something but those tend to be empty threats. The first year I moved here I really wanted to do the Women’s Danskin Sprint Triathalon they have in Seattle every year. It sounds very doable. Apparently it is VERY popular and I missed the deadline. I would love to accomplish something like that though. How ’bout this? If you sign up for the mini-triathalon then I will.

  14. What about one of those video/fitness games? That way you can do it after Rowan goes to bed and you don’t have to go anywhere.

  15. Jen – I thought about this after reading your post the other day. If you have no intention on using those Groupons you already purchased, I’d sell them on Craigslist pronto before the expiration dates come. That way at least you’re not out any cash!

  16. Oh, how I totally get this. And I LOVE Groupon fitness coupons. They are like crack to me. I have to stop myself from purchasing each and every one that comes flying into my inbox.

    But, for me, getting myself out the door, and back in the woods, was key. I love running, hiking, walking anywhere in nature, and I had forgotten how peaceful and beautiful and awesome it is to sweat under a green canopy, or while staring at an amazing view.

    I had a huge disconnect about running/walking/doing anything active on my actual neighborhood streets (like I physically could not get myself out the door), and then when I started trail running almost two weeks ago now, I was instantly hooked, and have barely missed a day. (And in fact have only missed days when I can hear my body saying, “OK, REST, KERRI; don’t kill me yet.”) My body remembers the activity and has begun to crave it again, now that I’m not denying it the pleasure of movement and endorphins. Pretty awesome.

    That was a really long-winded way of saying: I believe in you. And you’re totally going to find something you love to do and just do it, and when you do, it’s going to feel amazing.

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