Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9 Benefits of Not Exercising

When you read blogs and are around people who train/work out many hours per week, you can get kind of skewed and think that’s what everyone does. Not the case.

I realize Ironman training is slightly extreme (okay, mother eff’ing crazy).  Yet, this has become my new norm. Don’t get me wrong – it took awhile to adjust to the high volume and to not roll my eyes, panic and flip off the computer each time I looked at my training plan for the week (or maybe I am just pissed at how messy my desk is).


Yes, that is a bobblehead of myself to the right

I’ve mostly adapted to the 15-18 hour weeks and might even be a bit lost when this goal is finally met (or in the words of my mom, “You are seriously not going to know what to do with yourself”).

The other day I was reminded that while this training might be my norm, many people think I am ridiculous.

I was in the locker room at the pool, post swim. I see a woman there, about my age, almost everyday. Today she introduced herself as Jane .

Jane: I see you wear an Iron Girl triathlon cap. Do you do triathlons?

Me: Yes.

Jane: Are you training for one now?

Me: Yes, I’m actually going to do my first Ironman in November

Jane. So what is the Ironman? Is that a triathlon?

Me: Yes, it’s a really long distance one.

Jane: Oh, so what are the distances?

Me: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and then a marathon.

Jane (pausing, looking confused): Uh..well, do you get breaks between or just do it all at once?

Me: No, you just do it all at once throughout the day and into the night.

Jane (looking kind of disgusted): Wow. That is seriously my idea of HELL. I like to quilt.

To each his own. Maybe I’ll take up quilting in November.

I wonder how much people really do exercise. So, I did a bit of research. A Gallup poll done in July showed that Americans are actually exercising less than before. These days only about 53% of people exercise at least 30 minutes per day, three days per week. Not a huge drop from 2012 (which was 55%), but slightly.


So, that means 47% of people are either not exercising at all or doing it less than 90 minutes per week.

Okay, so not everyone likes to exercise. I get it. I can definitely see the benefits of not exercising:

1.  Less laundry to do

2.  You get a cute muffin top for free (I know this because I kind of had one when I was 30 lbs. heavier)

3.  You don’t smell as bad as often

4.  You don’t have to spend extra money on new clothes because your old ones are too big  for you

5.   You won’t lose your spot on the couch to one of your kids or pets

6.   Treadmills are boring and dangerous.

7.  You don’t have to remember to charge your Garmin, iPod, etc.

8.  More time to watch Dolvett on the Biggest Loser while eating ice cream

9.   Finally, locker rooms at gyms are dangerous

This is what happens in gym showers, and it's horrifying.


How often do you work out/train/exercise? I do 6 days per week, with one complete rest day (no yoga, etc). These days it’s high volume, but when I’m not IM training, it’s more like 7-9 hours per week.

Got any other good reasons to not exercise?


PS: I never heard from the winner of the $50 jewelry giveaway, so the new winner is Kasey from Stitch, Bake, Run.


  1. I train about 5-6 hours a week usually unless I'm training for something in particular. It's a mix of pole dance, running and core/stretch work....

    One time I didn't run because I met up with my friend for pizza and wine. A lot of pizza and a lot of wine. 100% the better choice!!

    Keep up the good work. Think of how much pizza and wine you can have while you're doing all that training?!

  2. I've "cut back" to 5 days a week. I have my first marathon in 19 days. I don't want to be "normal" any more! Keep kicking ass! Love your posts!

  3. I get so disappointed in people who have perfectly healthy bodies and don't use them. On the rare occasions that I'm not injured, I exercise 6-7 days a week, my ideal is running 6 miles/ day for 4 days a week, longer if I'm training, and hiking or backpacking the other days, I try to make myself do weights in there somewhere sometimes... But I have the worlds worst tendons and have always been prone to tendonitis and since July I have been having debilitating (and exhausting) muscle spasms. Today was the first day in a week and a half I could run, and it was... short, to say the least.

  4. I love to run, AND I love to quilt. :-) I spend a lot more time in a week running than I do quilting. I run 5-6 days a week, and am training for my first full marathon in November.

  5. As an ultrarunner, I get your insanity of exercising into the night... :-) But, I've learned that I can do ultras on 5 days of training per week and less than 50 miles total. Smart training rather than more training!

  6. I train about 6 to 9 hours per week, usually six days a week. It all depends on how long my long run is on the weekend and if said long run makes me want to take an extra day off.

    Also, did you just happen to come across that image or was it actually up in your gym?! It's really ... unpleasant! Reminds me of the time I went into a Walgreens restroom and there was poo all over the floor and walls. That sight can NEVER be unseen.

    1. No I found that online!! Thank God not in my gym. Or I'd rather not know. Ick.

  7. Bhahahahahaha...that sign is AWESOME. It never ceases to amaze me that people actually have to post stuff like that! I do 6 days a week with one day off completely. A throwback from my IM days that I've just stuck with. Unless of course I've had a really intense week (lots of speed work etc) then I'll happily take another day off. :) I usually net out around 7-9 hours a week when I'm not training for a marathon. :)

  8. I exercise between 9 and 10 hours per week. That's normal in my book. The farthest I've ever "raced" is a 10K. Would love to do a half mari someday.

  9. I love this post! I'm currently struggling with a VMO injury (any suggestions on how to deal with this son of a b*tch is welcome) and not running is making me insane. i said to a runner friend the other day "who are these people that just sit on their arse and not do anything?" i dont know how they stand it.

    i usually run 2-3 4 mile runs during the week with a long run on saturdays.

  10. During 'normal exercise time' -meaning, not training for anything specific, I run 3 days per week for 30-45 minutes each, and swim 2 days per week for 30-45 minutes each, so total of 3-4 hours per week. I find this to be manageable (it helps that I work at a university and get to use the pool for free, so I squeeze the swimming into my lunch break). I have 2 small children so my runs are either wicked early in the a.m., before they wake up, or long runs on Sunday when my husband is home to entertain them.

    The 'Less Laundry to Do' is a good one . . . there are days when my favorite running gear is sitting in the dirty basket and I kick myself for not having washed it!

  11. I'm up to 5 days a week, roughly 7 hours + stretching/strength, as I ramp up for a half-marathon in 4 weeks. My old excuse was "it hurts my knees", before I discovered that I was apparently built to run on my midfoot and not my heel.

  12. I run about 4 hours per week and try to mix it up with some swimming and walking for cross training. I'm definitely exercising more than three years ago, before this running bug bit me - working toward my second half marathon now. I think I'd run more if my knees would let me.

    Number 5 had me cracking up. No pets, but we have 2 teenage boys at home who are either eating or stretched out on the couch. The exception is when my husband and I get back from a long run. At that point the couch is ours.

    I love reading your blog. I once said I could never run a 10K, then I did. I said I could never run a half-marathon, then I did. I still don't think I will ever do an Ironman. Kudos to you! Very inspiring!

  13. I usually exercise 7 days a week, mostly running with a little spin, stairmaster and strength training thrown in. I'm training for my first marathon in early Oct., so I did start taking a complete rest day during my peak mileage weeks, but now that the taper is beginning I'll probably go back to light cross training on my non-running days. My outlook on life is always better when I start my day by breaking a sweat!

  14. Right now I'm running 7 days a week... till my 40th birthday next year. Or that is my goal at least. so far so good. I too am prone to tendonitis... especially in my Achilles tendons. I find doing runners yoga 3-4 days a week help keep my hip flexors, tendons and sanity in line. Great job on the triathlon training! Love the list of the benefits of not running. LOL!

  15. I run 4 days per week (about 3-4 hours), mountain bike 1-2 days per week (so about 2-5 hours), and bike commute 5 days a week (2.5 hours). So 7 to 11 hours per week, depending on if I got that second mountain bike ride!

  16. Run 3 days a week, cross train 2 days a week. I feel like a wimp compared to you!

    Another benefit to not exercising: You beat your husband home to the Oreos because you aren't at the gym after work.

  17. OMG that sign is hilarious and I seriously hope it's NOT from your gym. Gross. Beyond gross.
    I exercise about 10 hours a week over 5-6 days and I almost always take a rest day. Most of my friends think this is insane and my husband doesn't even realize how long I run on a given day until he has to watch the kids. You're going to run for 2 hours??? What???
    Keep it up. You're an inspiration to me when my crotch is killing me on my 30 mile rides.

  18. I'm in taper mode for my half and am finding myself with extra time on my hands. It's weird. I don't think I like it.

    Normally I run 4 days/week with 2 days of cross training (usually yoga and/or bike). I wish I liked to swim, my husband is so grateful I don't. He doesn't exercise. He's cranky and overweight. Not exactly touting the benefits of no exercise, IMHO!

  19. Is that sign for real?
    I train about 6 times a week sometimes 2 times a day, but not for an Ironman. That's a totally crazy idea - for me anyway. And I don't need to train for an Ironman for my family, friends and colleagues to think I'm completely nuts. The other day I asked my daughter if she'd go to the pool with me but I warned her that I was going to swim for about 45 minutes. That's what pools are for after all. Her reply: when are you not going to swim (read play with me at the pool instead)?

  20. I do around 6-8 hours most weeks, mostly biking and some running, some yoga, some strength-training.

  21. That sign is awesome!

    I run 3-4 times a week and bike 2 times a week.

    My mom asked me like a million times how long a marathon was when I was training for my first. She told me it just wasn't natural for someone to want to run that long.

    Maybe I'm adopted...

  22. 2011 I was pleasantly happy to do nothing. Not one exercise related thing during the week. I would do Bolder Boulder and then a week long bike ride and very little else.

    2012 I ran my first half marathon

    2013 I will run my first marathon

    I run 4-5 days a week, usually a minimum of an hour at a time. I sometimes remark to my husband, "Remember when I just laid on the couch?!" He replies, "You weren't much fun back then."


  23. I run 6 days a week, about 10 hours total. Unfortunately, I always have good intentions of cross training but NEVER stick to it. I do know the benefits but I just don't do it. Someday.....I will cross train and I hope it's before another injury.

  24. I am injured right now, but when I can run, I run for about 4 hours per week. Pitiful, I know

  25. I'm currently exercising 6 days per week, around 7.5 hours or so total. I'll be doing more once I start full on marathon training.

    That sign is just... wow.

    Another great thing about not exercising is sleeping in and not getting up at the ass crack of dawn while the "normal" people are still snoozing away to get your miles in.

  26. I run and exercise 5 days a week, yet I still have that cute little muffin top. Lucky me.

  27. My norm is doing a three mile run 4-5 days a week as well as lifting weights three days a week for an hour. Sometimes I throw in a couple of hikes in the mountains or a mountain bike ride. So, I guess that comes to at least six hours a week of exercise.

    However, I'm now having physical therapy for some weird lumbar/hip injury that I have no clue of how I obtained. So the norm for the next few weeks is ice packs twice a day, a few stretches, an hour of PT in office once a week and an hour of PT in the pool once a week and....walking backwards. Yes, backwards.

    In regards to the shower pooping, it's actually quite normal. My husband worked for the State Parks Dept. for a year and people pooped in the showers all of the time. If you ever shower in a campground shower wear sandals.

  28. I don't get angry with those who aren't/can't - I envy those who currently can. (injured)

    I was running 7 days a week in training for a marathon 2 months from today - and loving it (up to 4h on Sat long runs, had gotten into 70mpw with some good mthon pace runs) until I picked up an injury 8/24. AAAH!

    Those who have tendon problems, I sympathize!! (this is my first marathon training cycle since injuring my PTT in 2004, now it's a different set of tendons, which appear to be improving, but there may be some nerve impingement). I am unpleasant to be around (and I make myself & DH crazy) w/o daily workouts. I took just a couple days completely off because there was nothing I could do that didn't hurt (before I was able to get to pool) and it was pretty bad...DH said he realized I was actually physically addicted to running (in addition to obsessed with it) and was having sort of biochemical upheaval from the withdrawal.

    I started pool running within a week of the injury and have been doing that 6d/wk (Sunday the hours are bad) and have been able to add in cycling on my bike at home on trainer. I have done a few miles on my treadmill in last few days, but quite nervous about it. Seeing expert in musculoskeletal stuff on Th, he will evaluate, give me exercises. Have already seen podiatrist who didn't like my orthotics/shoes, made me new of the former, directed me to get new of the latter. (shoes...unprintable comments on shoe quest) Joined fitness center at work yesterday so I can have access to their arc trainer at lunch (& showers) and potentially their treadmills. Throwing everything I can at getting back to running regardless of whether I go forward for this race as marathon (unlikely to BQ now, so not sure), downmode to half or what - already looking at December fun runs and a mid-March marathon (I need goals and plans!).

    I figure to get back to where I need to be once I can put in more miles, I need to run, continue pool running at least 1d/wk (that would be my "rest" day), add in some arc trainer time 3x/wk continue core work, add in strength exercises and daily rolls w/ roll recovery device, stretches and yoga at least 1/wk. I was adding it up and it would probably be 20-25 hrs a week, which is probably double what I was doing. Getting back from injury and getting to be a stronger runner as I get older is time consuming! But given that I want to BQ and then move into ultras, no way around it. :)

    I was thinking I need time efficiency tips from triathletes who deal with this kind of heavy workload all the time. I'm already working on a spreadsheet of my time during the week down to 15 min increments, figuring out what else I can drop/streamline (you should see the house! thank goodness I don't have kids, just DH who can mostly fend for himself) and continue my getting up by 3:45am.

    Any and all tips welcome!!!

  29. With obesity rates continuing to climb, it doesn't surprise me that the amount of exercise people do is dropping. When you get heavy, it sucks to move around! And I'm NOT going to judge - in 2010, when I weighed 240 pounds... even a 1 hour yoga class was hard for me.

    Simply training for a 5K race 2-3 times per week, which equated to running for about 90 minutes each week, I slowly worked myself away from that 240lb mark. Of course, I eventually added more activities to get myself to where I am today (read: not obese).

    That being said, I always give kudos to anyone who does anything - even if it's just 90 minutes a week. I see that as a step in the right direction, with lasting health impacts if maintained... or even better if the habit leads to even more healthy habits in the future.

    So what do I do now? Well, I've worked myself up to a group fitness instructor and a half marathoner, so my workout schedule is vastly different. I run 5-6+ hours per week plus cross train 3-5+ hours per week (more in the summer when it's nice and I can bike ride). I also set aside one true rest day every week - and maybe let myself splurge with a beer or ice cream when I watch TV that night, too. :-)

  30. There was a time when I was completely guilty of watching the Biggest Loser and eating ice cream at the same time. I still eat crappy food, but I also run 4 times a week and am trying to talk myself into doing strength training 3 times a week. I hate to exercise, but I love to run! =)

    Also, I laughed OUT LOUD at your interaction with Jane. Her last line? Priceless. =)

  31. I only run 4 times a week, or about 5 hours all told. So I feel like a slacked compared to most!

    Have you read "Born to Run"? The author's name is escaping me, but it is fantastic. It's really all about how our bodies ARE made to run long distances. It's fascinating stuff!

  32. I workout 7 days a week - 7 to 10 hours total. I mix it up, run, bike, lift weights, yoga, x-ski, cross ramp, treadmill.. Rest days only when on vacation or really too sick to get out of bed.

    (this is my reason for working out but it clearly was my excuse for years!!) I'm too busy feeding my buns to workout.. they might shrink if I exercised.

  33. So cool to be picked as the back-up winner! I've tried to email you twice, but keep getting a message send failure notice. I'll try once more from a different email account just to be sure.

  34. I workout 6-7 days a week for a total of 10-14 hours (with a few bigger weeks every once in awhile!).
    I think everyone just has to do what works for them - my husband is perfectly happy with his 1.5 - 2 hours/week (weird - just kidding!!).

  35. After taking the summer mostly off (due to ITB issues and busyness), I'm just getting back to regular workouts/runs. My norm is 3-4 days per week, usually 90-120 minutes per day. If I'm at the gym, I'll run or do the elliptical, then stretch & a weight workout. If I'm doing a longer run, then I just stretch, do some core work and call it good. So when I'm in my routine, I probably manage 4-8 hours a week.

    This fall/winter I really want to start doing more strength stuff and cross-training, in hopes of doing some tris in the spring. Never done one, but I think it might be what's up next for me.

    You're a frickin' machine Beth. Seriously. You're going to do SO amazing at your IM. I wish I could be there to cheer you on in person and watch your awesomeness as it zooms by me. :)

  36. OMG, do people REALLY defecate in the shower at your gym?! YUCK! Those stats make me so sad, but it also makes me want to get all my non-exercise obsessed friends out to a road race or just a walk. ANYTHING. Hang in there with IM training. Also, your conversation made me giggle :)

  37. I run 6 days a week for about 8-10 hours a week. And then I usually end up walking 4-5 more miles additionally on the weekends since I try not to use the car.

  38. I train about 10-15 hours per week, running mostly, spinning, strength-training, yoga, and sometimes surfing (more like tumbling in the waves). I like to look at quilts, they're very pretty, and nice to sleep in. My friend who runs distance is a quilter, keeps her busy until the next run : )

  39. I run 3-4 days per week and also do pilates 2x week and bootcamp 2x a week. I always make sure I have a rest day though. I'm really enjoying following your blog. I turned 40 in January and my goal for the year was 13 half marathons. I've got 10 down 3 left. Just for fun I'm tacking on a full in December.

    Go Broncos!!

  40. Clearly running has skewed my view of the world. Most of the blogs I read are fitness related so it FEELS like everyone in the world exercises. I guess...the statistics prove otherwise? I guess it's not all about running/working out (Even though.. it totally is)

    Goal is to run at least 4 days, XT 1-2 days (Jillian DVD's, Nike Training CLub) and 1-2 Rest Day.

  41. Weird, I would think January's percentages would be higher - you know, New Year's resolutions and all that.

  42. "I like to quilt." When I got to that line I laughed out loud. As for the sign, there was one similar to that in a tanning facility I was going to. It was asking the customers to please not pee in the wastebasket, or under the rug, as it was hazardous to others and the employees who had to clean it up. Seriously? Get your butt dressed, shut the tanning bed off, and go use the restroom! Better yet, go before you get in! I try to strength train/run 5 days a week. I enjoy it though, so that helps. People try it once, and decide it is too painful and give up.

  43. This most made me laugh... Especially your conversation with the quilter. :-)

    You also made me think about my exercise habits. I run 5 days a week and do other cross training, too. So, I work out 6 days a week and am averaging 5-6 hours per week.

  44. Anytime I get pissy in the near future I am revisiting this blog post to look at the picture of you flipping off your computer. ROFL!!

    I'm thinking in the case of the Shower Pooper that it's going to take a lot more than a sign to change their clearly mentally skewed behavior ...

  45. I started running in March. now i run 3-4 weekdays with longer runs on weekends. Doing a half in a few weeks. Turned 45 this year. this is my halfway to 90 half-marathon!

  46. I started running in March. now i run 3-4 weekdays with longer runs on weekends. Doing a half in a few weeks. Turned 45 this year. this is my halfway to 90 half-marathon!

  47. I would have though more people exercise! I wonder if the "population" includes babies, kids & senior citizens though, maybe the numbers are skewed?
    My only exercise really is running (bad I know), 4-5 days/week, about 6 hours/week.
    Just enough to train for halfs and even a full and still work full time, take care of my kids, dog, house etc. etc. etc.
    It's inspiring to read about your IM training, good luck!

  48. I'm anywhere from 5-14 hours a week depending on what I am training for. Peaked when I was training for half iron over the summer, but it's less now with marathon training only. I can't wait to see what I get up to next year for my first Ironman!

    Love your posts, always leave me laughing :)

  49. I'm only doing 4-6 hours a week depending on when the other half's home to look after the kids (1 1/2 & 2 1/2). I do 5 - 6 days a week (I like to have one complete day of nothingness). A mixture between running and cycling at the moment as i have my first "Sprint Duathlon" in November and i am hoping to get a podium finish :)

    I love your commitment. I'm sure your gonna feel somewhat lost after the race is done. After my first Half Marathon (i know that sounds pathetic in comparison)I felt very lost and had no idea what i should do exercise wise.

  50. OMG that sign! Who freaking takes a poo in the shower at the gym? I'm training for a marathon so getting into 6 days a week with one day off. Some days it's half hour jog, but most are 1 hour plus and long runs on Saturday. I also play frisbee golf about once a week which take 1-2 hours for a round so I'm definitely more active than the average bear. But happily so!

  51. That list is great! The shower sign- not so much....
    I run 3 times a week probably equaling 4-5 hours. Plus random other exercises when I "feel" like it.

  52. I turned 60 in August and feel it's so important to have exercise in my life. I added a gentle yoga class a month ago knowing flexibility is critical too. I exercise at least an hour a day - take 4 days of varied classes at the Rec Center here in Longmont. I keep moving. I bike and walk. With the recent flood I have to take to the road on my bike as the paths are washed out. I'm not as fast nor young as some, but I keep moving.

    Cycling "doesn't always have to be about grueling, hammering, 80 mile rides," it should be about "pedal[ing] in wonder."

  53. My training plan calls for five days of running, three days of weightlifting, and some yoga. Of that I do about 80%. When I start ironman training, though, it will be seven days a week, with a bunch of two-a-days. Ideally. Maybe. I'm lazy and do a lot more gut-checking than I should.

  54. I trail run for at least 60 minutes 3 days a week, yoga Friday mornings when I wake up in time (say 3 out of 4 days a month) I also skateboard (skatepark or downhill) at least an hour 3-4 days a week. I get irritable (my wife has less polite words to describe it) if I don't exercise

  55. I would be majorly frightened by a sign like that at the gym. I hope you found that online and not in person. Yikes! And we only have problems with people improperly dressed in the hallways of the family lockers rooms....

    You could do a lot more cooking, baking, or crafting if you worked out less. Those are the things I like to do when I am not working out so much. I did the slacker IM plan last year, and I had a few weeks in the 15 hour range, but usually my volume is a lot lower. The bummer is that even with the reduction in training, I am still feel like it takes up a huge time of the day because if I am working out for an hour or 30 minutes at the gym, it still takes over 30 minutes of travel time, another 15 minutes of getting the kids checked in, and another 20 minutes of shower/changing time every time I go to the gym. That is where I think I get bogged down even when I am not doing super high mileage. That's over an hour of my day that I need to add to every workout, no matter how long or short when the kids are involved.

  56. That conversation was hilarious to read. Ive been asked similar questions with similar responses. I train because the reward is worth it. I cannot wait to do a half and full Ironman one day!

  57. What I'd like to do and the schedule that is on my fridge: 1 hour of something physical 5-6 days per week. (Spin, run, bodypump class)

    What I typically do: Bodypump once, run on Sundays, Spin once a week.

    UGH. Time to DO the plan.

  58. 6 days a week, 30 miles plus about 3-4 hours crosstraining. And there is some truth to #9, btw!!

  59. Yup I would say 6 days a week is right...7 days a lot of the time cause I just enjoy it. I keep tossing around the idea of a long distance tri...I just want to not live in florida to train :)

  60. I train because it gives me a good feeling, no matter how tired I am at the end of every workout, I'm still smiling inside because I can feel I'm stronger and healthier. Was shocked with this though- 9. Finally, locker rooms at gyms are dangerous - I'd probably change gyms right away. :=)

  61. I run 4-5 days a week and usually strength train at least 1 other day (and 1 day of nothing - I just have to have it!). Except right now, I'm all discombobulated because my youngest just started pre-K and, while in theory I should have 9 extra hours to myself, in reality it doesn't exactly work out like that. It's a work in progress. Also, I'm not training for anything specific so my motivation to figure out HOW to make it work is non-existent.

    Not exercising DOES cost you money for new clothes because they don't fit...it's just because you're bigger, not smaller! And someone asked who all of those people are who don't exercise? Check the stats - something like 60% of the population is AT LEAST overweight with something over 40% being morbidly obese.

  62. After a 25 year hiatus I started running last summer. I currently swim/bike/run/yoga 5 days a week(training for my 1st Olympic distance tri October 13th)with weekends off to rest for long run on Monday(training for my 1st 13.1 in November).
    Crazy? Maybe.
    Did I mention I am in my mid-60's?

  63. Oh my goodness too funny! I especially love the Dolvett one with ice cream...cause it's so true! Haha! I exercise about 4 days a week, sometimes 5 if I have a chance. I've noticed that my knees can't take running more than 4 days a week so that's what I do! :0)