My least favorite person to exercise with is my friend Curt. He’s super nice when we’re working out together, but I can tell he’s giggling on the inside when he has to water-down his routine so I don’t die. Really. If I did half of what he did, my body would give up the ghost. He can curl, press and lift two of me. His biceps are the size of my thighs. I always feel less like a man when I work out with him. When I’m exercising by myself and I do something really well, I think, “If only Curt could see me now.”
My favorite person to exercise with is my wife. I am motivated to work harder when she’s with me. I think that subconsciously I’m trying to impress her with my manliness. The downside to this extra push is that I’m not that attractive/manly when I’m gasping for breath, scrunching up my face with effort, and dripping sweat on the floor.
If I exercise when the kids are home, they usually join me. I honestly enjoy their company and the challenges they present. They “help” me with sit-ups and push-ups by sitting on top of me for both. Then they say, “Dad, why can’t you do more?” They also make sweet comments like, “Dad, you really sweat a lot.” When I go running, they ride their bikes or scooters. I get a good workout the first 5 minutes trying to stay up with them. I feel the burn when I push them or “boost” them up hills. Usually 10 minutes into the run, I’m “boosting” them on the flat parts too because, “Dad, my legs are tired.” We have to stop a lot to explore insects, dirt, and more recently, dead birds:
Me: STAY AWAY FROM THAT BIRD!
Me: Because it’s dead and it’s got diseases!
Daughter: How did it die?
Me: It got old.
Daughter: No. I mean HOW did it die.
Me: It just got old and it’s heart stopped beating.
Me: Because when you get old things stop working.
Daughter: Grandpa’s old and he’s not dead.
Me: (Good point.) Just stay away from the bird. PUT THE STICK DOWN!
Son: But I’m just moving the bird so no one else will touch it on accident and get sick.
Me: (Why do you have to be so nice?) That’s nice of you. But just leave it alone. Pick up your bike.
Son: But my legs are tired.
Me: How can they be tired? You play soccer, you swim, you run with your friends and you never complain about your tired legs.
Son: But they’re tired.
(Struggles to get on his bike with a 5-foot stick in his hands.)
Me: Just leave the stick here.
Son: I want to take it home and show Mom.
Me: (Sigh) OK. But I’m not carrying it. You’ll have to carry it on your bike.
Son: OK. Can you give me a boost home?
Son: Dad, are you frustrated ‘cause you wanted to exercise and we’re making it hard?
Me: (You are a genius.) No. I love exercising with you guys.
(Begin boosting both of them)
Daughter: Your hands are sweaty.
Whether I’m exercising humility when I’m lifting with Curt, exercising restraint while working out with my wife, or exercising patience while running with my kids, I’m a better person the more I exercise.
I love my life.