If You Don’t Like It, DON’T DO IT


Every six months for the past several years, one of my former teammates and longtime friend from the U.S. national rugby team, Pam Kosanke, asks me to enter some sort of endurance event with her.

Among her requests have been an urban adventure race, a Tough Mudder and a half-marathon, to name a few. Last night, she added to the list with her invite to do a triathlon.

My answer is always the same: No way, José.

iMessage Pic

I posted the image above on social media with the caption, “My friend Pam is not getting the hint that I’m not so into endurance training, personally.”

Let me be clear: This is no knock on endurance training. It’s just that I don’t enjoy swimming, biking or distance running, so these events don’t hold any appeal for me.

Shortly after I posted it, a Twitter friend said that she didn’t think I was the type to back away from a challenge.

This sort of “tough it out” thinking is pervasive in the health and fitness culture, and I suspect it’s no coincidence that flaming out spectacularly is, too.

No adult version of a double dog dare will convince me to pursue a goal I’m not fundamentally interested in — therein lies the path to failure and burnout. As my friend Jill Coleman says, “Stop doing shit you hate.”

Notice I didn’t say that the pursuit of a goal cannot and will not be difficult or challenging — there will absolutely be trials during any worthy endeavor — but to pursue something you loathe is, in my opinion, futile and unnecessary.

What are your strengths? Can you think of any reason to choose a goal that doesn’t more fully develop that skill set, rather than approaching fitness goals like a bitter medicine you have to force yourself to take?

If you love to lift, consider entering a powerlifting meet, an Olympic lifting meet, a kettlebell sport meet, a strongman competition or a cross-training competition. Join a softball team, a badminton club or a basketball league. Do something you are fundamentally interested in, because contrary to popular opinion, there are no rules against enjoying your training.

On that note, I’m off to the bouncy park, and then I’m going to heft some iron. (Maybe my next fitness goal will be to compete in trampolining.)

What fitness goals have you set for yourself, and are you fundamentally interested in meeting them?


Author:Jen Sinkler

Fitness writer and editor, workout connoisseur, meditator, proponent of spandex, former rugby player; never, ever without lip gloss.
Comments: 8

8 Responses to “If You Don’t Like It, DON’T DO IT”

  1. phoebe

    But I hate all exercise 🙁

  2. Shannon

    I couldn’t have said it better. I found myself doing an activity I really didn’t LOVE but because I was getting great approval I kept going. I’d almost talk myself into why I had to do it while driving there.
    After an injury that kept me from going, I’m doing other things I really enjoy and love and am so much happier. Stay true to yourself…there’s strength required to do it!

  3. Amen Jen. As fitness professionals it’s almost as if people think we have a “challenge me to anything” mentality.

  4. Colin

    Interesting post….as someone who likes both types of exercise equally, I find the ‘wars’ between both interesting. Each brings it’s own pleasure and benefit. Life is too short not to have it all.

  5. Nailed it! I totally agree. I’m currently debating signing up for a half marathon soon because “You have no choice,” “You’re a runner,” and “You’ve done it plenty of times!” I run when I want, long if it feels good, but there are times that I’m not into running more than 20 minutes of sprints. I didn’t commit, and I’m weighing my options, trying to figure out if it’s what I WANT to do or if I feel pressured to do it… I appreciate that your mentality isn’t that you can’t turn down a challenge but rather that you’re doing what you love and pushing yourself in those areas. Thanks, Jen!

  6. In the competition world – but as you pointed out, most prominently in the running/triathlon community, there seems to be a misconception about not wanting to do something “challenging” because it scares you vs simply not doing something because you do not LIKE to do it. I’ll be the first to say, some runners and triathletes think of themselves as elitist because they’re the ones that “push through the suck” and accomplish the feat, whereas those who don’t just “don’t get it” or aren’t disciplined enough to do so. I can say that because I was one of those people. Now that I’m “out” of that scene and accomplishing other things – It’s easier to see the “unhealthy” attitudes that can manifest in sports (to include continuing to push yourself into unhealthy territory and experiencing overtraining and injury.) I’m sure your friend was NOT like the former me – and has good intentions! 🙂 Keep doing what makes you happy.

    I so so so adored this Jen.

  8. Rod

    Couldn’t agree more. Great post!

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