Words of Wellness: 'Working Out Sucks'

You either have it or you don’t: The willpower to consistently exercise.

Chuck Runyon, CEO and co-founder of Anytime Fitness, realized that working out isn’t necessarily fun for most people – so he set out to write a motivational book that could kick-start a plan for total fitness in 21 days.

The result was Working Out Sucks! (And Why It Doesn’t Have To), which also features advice from a registered dietitian and a behavior change specialist.

“Have you ever seen someone on a treadmill dripping sweat with a smile on his or her face?” Runyon said. “No, because working out sucks. And, I think the first thing we need to do is admit that fact. But, we all must realize that the alternatives (are worse) – from heart disease to premature aging, diminished income and unhealthy kids, to name a few.”

Runyon said he wants to start a “fitness rebellion (in America) aimed toward all the excuse-makers and busy people who hate working out.

“Have you ever seen someone on a treadmill dripping sweat with a smile on his or her face?”

— Chuck Runyon, author

Check out Runyon’s book – and maybe you will find a way to make working out more fun.

Q: What made you decide to write this book – on this particular topic?

A: Well, it’s really two-fold: First, I wanted to motivate readers to get off their butts and live better lives at a higher capacity. Secondly, I wanted to expose the macro-trends of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles that, left unchecked, will negatively impact this country for generations to come. And, as someone who has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the very personal struggles of those who  want to look and feel better, but can’t seem to find the motivation to get off the couch.  Today, 80 percent of Americans do not exercise regularly – this needs to change.  Working Out Sucks offers a way to get back on track for those who have been hindered, hampered and brainwashed by unhealthy habits, destructive attitudes and misinformation about health and exercise.

Q: What is the most unique excuse you’ve heard about why someone can’t work out?

A: Here’s just a couple I’ve heard over the years: "I don't need a gym membership,” I get plenty of exercise fishing,”  or “I’m afraid I’ll have a brain aneurism,” and “I don’t like to sweat.”

Q: What do you think is the number one reason people should be working out?

A: My personal philosophy on fitness is very simple: Your health is either an asset in your life or a liability. If it’s an asset, it fuels you to do more things – become more engaged, make more money, have better self-esteem,  stronger relationships, etc. If it’s a liability, it detracts you from being all you can be. Make no mistake, your personal health affects every nook and cranny of your life: your physical and emotional states, your relationships, your income, your pets, your sex life – everything.

Q: You mention pet obesity in your book, and how dogs and cats should be working out too. What made you decide to throw that in there?

A: I was struck by a report that came out by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention that stated that pet obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in the U.S. It made me realize that, just like the state of our kids, the state of our pets reflects our unhealthy lifestyles. We  are responsible for their well-being – we feed them, bathe them, and provide vaccinations. To not keep them active and feed them in moderation is animal cruelty. The old adage that pets and owners are starting to look alike is proving true.

Q: How should one go about starting a workout program – especially if they’ve never been very active before?

A: The first step is to get off the couch, and start moving, and this is what (my book) is all about.  In the first part of the book, I help you find the motivation to do just that. Midway through the book,  Rebecca DeRossett, a behavior change therapist, will teach you how to set goals and follow through with them. Lastly, Brian Zehetner, a personal trainer and registered dietitian, provides a common sense 21-day kick-start plan for nutrition and fitness. Once again, this book is designed for the four out of five people who don’t work out. In fact, my favorite parts of the book are the sections that reveal success stories from real people around the country -- people of all different backgrounds, ages and circumstances who used their personal willpower to overcome unhealthy habits and transform in their lives. I can promise you that at least one of those stories will trigger something inside you that will give you the hope and inspiration you need to get on a path to greater health.