Sochi and the Call to Exercise


Have you seen them yet? The little ads scattered throughout the Olympic coverage that direct the viewer to Olympic training programs nearby? So far I’ve only caught the ads for snowboarding and biathlon training. Of the two, I think being a biathlete would be pretty sweet. It seems like it’d add a certain gravitas in my home to know that Mom is a sharp-shooter in peak shape.

I suspect, though, that my attraction to the ads may have less to do with Olympic dreams and more with simply being in better shape. At the moment my exercise consists of carrying around the twenty-pound-baby and folding Sochi-sized mountains of laundry. Not easy work, to be sure, but it doesn’t really get the heart rate going beyond the initial reaction to the laundry or the screeching baby.

This past weekend, though, I’ve seen more exercise commercials and people in stretchy clothes than I have in a long time, and it makes me want to jump on board. Working up a sweat is strangely alluring at 30 in a way that it never was at 20. It begs the question, though: can a mom really get in shape in the middle of winter with lots of little people at home and cake constantly in the fridge?

The other night when my husband was out, I put together my getting-it-together exercise plan: I’d buy a used elliptical and use it for maybe half an hour after the children were in bed. It’d simply be something I’d tack on at the end of the day, and no one would be the wiser for it.

Yesterday, though, that plan was dashed upon learning that used ellipticals in my area are still about four hundred dollars. I’m afraid to spend the money on it only to find out that it doesn’t work. Or it does—and I have to keep using it. Either way, I learned that I’m not emotionally ready to commit to the equipment. That leaves me with viewing online exercise videos.  Perhaps I can get my husband to promise that he won’t watch as I try to follow along.

Also, I’ve had to have a serious coming-to-terms with my caloric intake. A few weeks before the Olympics started, I had the misfortune of reading a piece in the paper about the workout and diet routines of a handful of Team USA members. As I admired their photos and shook my head in disbelief at their exercise regimens, I noticed that I consumed just about the same number of calories as one Olympian and sometimes twice as much as another!

I tossed the paper aside dismissively—after all, that just can’t be healthy—but the numbers stayed with me. I decided to devise a calorie chart on the side of the fridge that probably more closely reflects what I ought to be consuming and which I need to remember to flip around when we have company. It’s divided into snacks and meals, and I check off the boxes as I go along the day.

So, that’s the plan: exercise and eat less. It sounds a little radical to me, but it’s hard to deny the math.

Even as I write this I’m shrugging off the nagging feeling that this is going to end up in great disappointment—that getting in shape is about as likely as me winning the biathlon. I guess only time and the stretchy clothes will tell.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” -1 Cor.6:19-20

 Have you had any fitness success? Any tips for someone who’s feeling the call to exercise?

Copyright 2014 Meg Matenaer


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  1. my personal experience is that when you save your work out for the end of the day, it never happens!!! what i have found DOES work for me, is a 20 minute video…just 20 minutes!…each day…because i know i can spend 20 minutes reading blogs or looking at twitter..i HAVE 20 minutes! and i try to fit it in EARLY in the day. But most importantly, for me, the real change was in my DESIRE. I used to work out and count calories because i wanted to LOOK GOOD. I wanted to be thin. But as i get older…and my body does not function like it used to…I do not care so much about how I look,but how I FEEL. This changed my entire approach…I make time to work out because it will benefit my family…I will live longer, be happier, be stronger. A much better incentive than “being thin”. Start small…baby steps, really, set reasonable goals.
    Another good idea..when the weather is nice, I take a long walk and pray the rosary!!!!!!
    everything is better with prayer!

  2. Hi, Laura! Thanks for your message. I’m so happy that small, daily exercise really has made a difference for you. I was hoping that would be a good approach because I just don’t seem able to muster up the desire for anything beyond that! And I love your idea of taking a long walk and praying when the weather is nicer…oh, spring can’t come soon enough! Thanks for the encouragement and blessings on your exercise! Meg

  3. OK, so I’m TOTALLY guilty of not being inspired this way. I should be, though. Confession: I hate exercise. Period.

    So thank you for inspiring me to think about it differently. 🙂

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