Freak. Exercise.

Last evening was a fun one. At a friend’s with other friends. There were 12 of us. All north of 50. Driving back home, my wife and I landed at a not-too-sure-what-to-make-of-it conclusion. Irrespective of small sample vagaries, it was obvious, I was an outlier. An endangered minority. A freak.

From the 12 that night, 11 were gym-rats and half of them also doubled as yoga-cats.

So the question that kept tossing my sleep was: why don’t I gym? Or Yoga? Or both? After few hours the answer and the dwarf star both dawned. And the answer was: there are better ways to maintain supple and strong muscles. More fun ways to satisfy that endorphin itch. Better odds needed to bet against Hyperbolic Discounting. And smarter solutions yet to be devised to side-step that decision fatigue.

Logic says that exercise today will benefit tomorrow. If I exercise today, I will have more days to live. But for this, I need to sacrifice today. This save-for-a-rainy-day argument is ridiculous if:

(One) it rains not for one day but many months
(Two) it is sunshine and clear blue sky till the big hurrah and
(Three) does it really matter?

But I do feel good after an honest work-out. Like all of us, I love that endorphin rush.

I love it when my endorphin’s overflow while belting out classics on my guitar. I delightfully huff-and-puff through plates of spicy curry. I pang for that dark chocolate nibble post dinner. And I do enjoy making those stomach tucked in and chest puffed out poses in front of the mirror after my rather infrequent stretch-treadmill-crunch-push-up routine.

So its not all about some obscure future. Ergo, I should not be a victim of Hyperbolic Discounting. Maybe I am restrained by something else. Or maybe I am just too damn tired.

By the time I complete my need-to-earn part of the day, my decision making ability is numbed. Once back home, I sack. On my couch, I allow my decision-making to be sensory rather than logical. Exercise is a logical investment which requires a decision to bend-and-stretch. Compare this with the pleasure of beer, sports on tele and chicken tikka on the side. Logic vs Pleasure. And after a day of logical activity, it is only logical that Pleasure wins.

But what if some of these choices & odds were changed:

What if No-1: office included a daily appointment with exercise. A formal meeting of stretches and suits. What if all the plush chairs in my office room transformed into yoga-mats? No need to choose between beer-with-mates or treadmill-in-tights anymore. Office would include all the mundane, dull but logical activities like – pension plans and 50 sit-ups.

What if No-2: join a Gym which pays money. What if there was Gym, which I could join for a monthly fee and a deposit. And this deposit, supplemented with market beating yield, is returned if I successfully achieve the monthly exercise schedule determined by the Gym. But if I can’t comply with this schedule, I loose my deposit and the Gym wins. Do you think the Gym will win?

So, on this New Year’s eve, one of my resolutions will be to find a Gym with balls to bet against me. And the second resolution will be to convince my boss to replace those screens & projectors with  elliptical trainers & dumb bells. And though I may still not succeed in losing my freak flag, I sure will have fun trying.

#theyeahway: it is okay to be different; okay to be the same; but fun to be the same in a different way



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