My Hate/Hate/Love/Love/Hate Relationship with Exercise

Cycling, road cycling, exercise, orbea

Some people love exercise. Other people hate exercise. Still others have a love/hate relationship with exercise.

Personally, I have a hate/hate/love/love/love/hate relationship with exercise. I’ll explain what I mean by that later, but first let me give you some background.

As a teenager was very active in sports. I rode my bike everywhere, putting down hundreds of km’s every week. Loved it! I also played a lot of squash (what a super fun game that is), badminton, tennis, sailing, and golf.

Then through university, I played some squash, but that was about it. I hung my bike up for several years and didn’t ride much at all. I gained 30+ lbs through university. Pounds that I’ve since struggled to shed as I’ve gotten a bit older.

After university, I became a bit of a sloth. I didn’t do much exercise to speak of. I preferred sampling the tasty foods of the great Toronto restaurants and spent a little too much time in my pursuit of the enjoyment of good wine, beer, and scotch.

One evening after about 2-3 years of professional couch surfing, I remember one of my super-fit friends (we’ll call him Johnny) commenting after we had enjoyed a night of food, drink, and partying. He said, “Man, I haven’t worked out in 3 days and I’m losing my mind, I crave it so much.”

My reply was something to the effect of, “Whaa? You crave exercise? Are you nuts? I know exercise is good for you, but crave is a strong word, my friend.”

Fast forward a few years and that same friend, Johnny, arm-twisted me into doing a 50km charity bike ride with him. He lent me his old road bike and we did a couple of training rides in the week leading up to the event. Wow, that event changed my life. I fell in love with cycling all over again. Mind you, that 50km ride nearly killed me, having spent the previous 10 years on the sofa, but I was then reminded of my love for those feelings of satisfaction, good health, and high spirits you get after a workout.

Since then, my main sports have been golf and cycling. Of course, golf doesn’t really count as exercise since I usually ride around in a power cart and drink a few beers on the course.

I’ve had good and bad years on the bike, but each year I’ve ridden somewhere in the range of 2000-4000 km’s. And, for the past 6 years over the winter, I’ve participated in an indoor cycling training camp 2-3 times a week (from January to March) to try and keep the weight down and fitness up.

This brings me to my hate/hate/love/love/love/hate relationship with exercise.

1) I HATE the invariable struggle to get up the mental and physical energy needed to get off the couch and out of the house.

2) I HATE those painful feelings during the workout of your lungs burning, being out of breath, your muscles feeling like they’re turning into bricks as the lactic acid builds up and fatigue sets in.

3) I LOVE the feeling of calm, the fun, the sense of accomplishment and pride, and the feeling of good health you experience after you’ve finished a workout.

4) I LOVE the feeling of being able to eat and drink guilt-free after I’ve worked out hard. (well, I know I shouldn’t, but I do anyway)

5) I HATE the stiff and sore muscles you get 2 days following the workout.

Hence the hate/hate/love/love/hate relationship I have with exercise.

Our cycling training camp workout tonight was REALLY tough, so I felt all of those things, in spades.

All that said, on balance I really do enjoy exercise. And after several days away from it… I even find myself craving it.



  1. Great post Craig. I wish we lived closer so we could ride together – on the road or trails!


    1. Me too, Jules. Can’t wait to go for a sister/brother ride with you at the cottage this summer!


  2. I did a spin class last night… First one in probably 5 years that I rode as a participant and not the instructor. Damn near killed me. I was going to write a post last night about it but was too exhausted!


    1. I’m really surprised it was tougher as a participant. The instructors are setting the pace for everyone to see, so i thought they couldn’t “coast” when feeling a little overwhelmed.


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