It’s A Fit New World

It’s an ordinary Tuesday morning before work. Lace up my sneakers, tighten my hair tie, mentally prepare for a sweat sesh, then … pick up my remote?! Yep. It’s time to log in to my on-demand fitness subscription. The good news is that I don’t have to worry about whether I shaved my armpits. There’s no one around except the dog.

I turn on a cardio routine and get started, immediately realizing that there’s an audio-visual lag: the sound is a split second ahead of the video. Darn. I’m really going to have to pay attention.

The attractive people on the screen manage to keep me engaged, but not enough to forget that they’re in a different world than I am. We speed up together and move sideways, enough that my living room rug slips a little. It’s a good thing I’m light on my toes or I’d have lost my balance. Shoot! Another thing to be aware of.

When I’m in a room full of people, all of us moving in the same direction—except for that one woman who just can’t keep the beat, God bless her—I can get lost in the routine. I don’t worry about whether the space is big enough or if I’m going to step on my dog. My brain can disengage from what I’m doing and process the argument I had with my teenager or how I should respond to my sister’s snarky comment on social media. You know, important stuff. The brain space that’s created by my hour of exercise is just as important as the endorphins, my drug of choice.

My attention is captured by a break in the workout with an on-screen message to, “Grab your weights.” I obey, and situate myself on my floor mat to match the posture of the instructors. Of course, my needy pet sees this as an opportunity to campaign for my attention, so she joins me on the mat. There’s only room for one of us, and my breath smells much better than hers, even though I forgot to brush my teeth—another good reason I’m solo. “Go lay down!” I command firmly, and she obediently trots off to the side of the room to watch me instead.

My weights are probably too light. In the studio I can adjust the amount of weight to how my body is feeling that day. I can even pick up a heavier or lighter set in the middle of a routine, if I decide to. That’s a luxury I can’t afford at home, but I’m committed to making the best of it.

When the abdominal-strengthening portion begins, I start wishing for a fitness ball, which is also available at the studio, but has long ago been repurposed as an outdoor kids’ toy at my house. I get bored by the moves and change them up. That’s not really any different from my habits in the class, I have to admit.

My sister calls and I pause the workout to talk her through a wardrobe crisis. It seems like we only talked for a few seconds, but when I look at my phone, I realize it’s been 35 minutes. Crap. I’ll have to forego shaving my legs before work.

I turn the video back on and finish up my workout. The instructors ask questions to which they’ll never hear my answer and admonish me for visiting the kitchen during the session (which I actually did—for water, though). It’s probably a common dilemma for the fitness-at-home tribe. The stretch always seems like a waste of time, so I skip it and move the furniture back in place until next time. My in-studio instructor wouldn’t let me off easy for that. She always says the stretch is the most important part of the workout. But, what she doesn’t know might only hurt me.

I notice that I didn’t sweat as much as I do in the studio, but maybe that’s because I had the fan above my head turned on full blast. In any case, I check exercise off my list for today and hop in the shower. I miss the chitchat at the studio—briefly catching up on everyone’s lives—but I appreciate not having to make the 30-minute round-trip commute. If I get up earlier tomorrow, that should give me time to shave and wash my hair after my workout … or I could sleep in and wait until Thursday. No one will miss me.


About the author: Gretchen Vaught has been communicating since she was age one, to the delight and dismay of many. She decided to make a living at what came naturally, eventually joining Smith Communication Partners in 2012. Her professional experience spans 20+ years and includes leadership positions in for-profit and nonprofit businesses. When she’s not working, she enjoys keeping her heart healthy in various ways. Connect with her at