Several weeks back some friends treated us to a weekend away at their family cottage in Michigan. While snow fell gracefully outside, my dear friend and I sat catching up on recent events. She chanced to mention that she was helping to train a group of novice runners for this spring’s mini-marathon in Indianapolis. Sitting curled up all fat and a little less than happy about my current need to wear only pants designed with a drawstring, I wondered out loud if I should consider taking up running. I have never been the running type, but was curious to see if I could do it.

Taylor University has an excellent student activities center, but after a disastrous attempt at running around the indoor track, I opted for the treadmill. As many can tell you, I am definitely an externally motivated gal, and I have hit it off pretty well with the conveyor belt of health. A few months in, I am feeling like a pro and thought I would share some bits of wisdom, and some folly as well, that I have picked up on my road to nowhere.

1. Securing the iPod is essential. If you are like me (i.e. cheap) and refuse to pay $20 for a piece of elastic in order to securely fasten your iPod, then you might want to reconsider the iPod altogether or come up with an alternative plan for ensuring that your precious bundle of handcrafted playlists doesn’t go flying down the treadmill. Yes, this has happened to me—twice on my first go. To make matters worse, a gentleman hurried over at the sound of screeching tennis shoes (the sound of me chasing after my iPod) and then announced in a loud voice “It’s okay! It was only her iPod!” Just the icing my humiliating incident needed—thank you, sir. A little P.S.: still refusing to pay good money for the armband, I created an iPod snuggie of sorts by cutting off the sleeves of an old fleece. I sweat like a pig but no more skidding after my possessions.

2. There is no reason to have words printed on your bum, even if it is scripture. The trend of placing various phrases and slogans on your behind has long baffled me. Ladies, if you are under 30, I guarantee you, men need no inducement to check out your rear. If you are over 30 like me, no one should be looking at your bumper, even you. Even if you have carefully chosen words from the Bible, as I’ve witnessed, we are all better off in a world free of butt literature.

3. Do not try to gain moral superiority by pretending to read a book while exercising. I am not buying it. Maybe if you came in with a People magazine or a comic book, I might be convinced that you are capable of reading and moving your legs at a rapid pace. But beyond that, plug in your ear buds and get off your high horse.

4. Never—I repeat—never, ever, ever look at the person on the treadmill next to you in order to check out their speed, etc. Unless your ninety-year-old grandmother is jogging beside you, chances are the person next to you is going faster.

5. Judge not lest you be judged; or think not yourself to be judged for in truth by judging others guilty of judging you, you are really judging them and therefore judging yourself. Got that? Perhaps an example will help. You see someone looking in the general directions of your sadly sagging abs. You take the high ground and think how terrible it is that people can’t come and workout in peace without sizing up other people’s mid-sections. But perhaps that person wasn’t even looking at your middle and all these thoughts are more a reflection of your values and perceptions than theirs. You hate your bulging belly so you look for others to feel the same. Take the real high ground, smile back at anyone looking your way and keep on moving. Maybe, if you (and I) can put those hang-ups behind us, we really will get somewhere after all.

6 Responses to “Tips for Working Out”

  1. Kristin


    Love it! You go girl and let’s get together at the well soon. I’ll make sure to secure my Ipod (or my cheap version of said device) and leave my book at home!! Give me People and some Single Ladies!! 🙂

  2. Eric


    Amy, I always enjoy reading your posts… but I think you have coined a new winning phrase with the last two words of tip #2. Hilarious stuff, keep it up.

  3. Devon Trevarrow Flaherty


    Once again I read your blog and daydreamed about how if you just lived here in Durham we would be BFFs. Hope all is well, and check out my blog. It might make you laugh or smile or want to be my BFF, too. 😉

  4. Abby


    I just wrote your husband about how much I enjoyed his book The Making of an Atheist. I then found your blog and read some of it. Came across this post and it definitely took me back to the days in the old fitness center (way back when) when silly girls had words on their bums. Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I read your husband’s entire book on the treadmill. Seriousy, I did! Are you impressed?

    • Amy Spiegel



      i am impressed. i can barely change my playlist without falling off the treadmill. glad to hear you are not only talented but have such discernment in your choice of reading material.


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