Part time-jobs / social groups / hobbies that are a great workout -- Help me find my Mr. Miyagi!
October 27, 2008 1:52 PM   Subscribe

What are some physical jobs or hobbies that I can get involved in to be more healthy, but also something that will be regular enough to require me to keep going?

I have a problem. I can't seem to stick to a workout routine.

You know how in Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi tricked Daniel into doing the household chores, while also training him awesome ninja skills and getting him physically ready to crush all the Cobra Kai jocks? You know -- wax on, wax off, sand the floor, paint the fence, etc.? I need something like that.

Whenever I get into a workout routine, it's great for a few weeks, then I tend to let other projects side track me or I'll get bored. I've tried changing my workout every few weeks but it doesn't really make a difference.

Back when I was in school, I worked a handful of physical jobs in warehouses to make good money, while also getting in shape. I need a solution like that to trick myself into working out. In general, I always seem to work much harder and stick to things when I'm working for or depended on by other people, but when it comes to myself I'll often let things slide. (Please hold your lectures on discipline. I know, I am weak and inferior to you.)

So I need to find a job, some sort of hobby or social group to be active with and I'm looking for suggestions.

For example:
Possible hobbies / social groups: Fight clubs, hashing, Grizzly bear wrestling, ???
Possible jobs: Construction, lumberjack, warehouse work, ???

Anyone have any other suggestions?

Ideally it'd be:
+ Available / easy to do in the evenings and weekends
+ Available year round so I won't lose focus when a sports season ends
+ Not too crazy expensive (Something that I can actually make money doing would be really cool, so I'm kinda leaning towards job ideas, especially since there's a rigid schedule)
+ Bonus points for activities that have social or personal development benefits

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
posted by jkl345 to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Habitat for Humanity meets regularly (especially on the weekends) is cheap and is social.
posted by mmascolino at 2:06 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

A friend once worked for UPS loading trucks, I think. He said it was super-physically demanding.
posted by Airhen at 2:07 PM on October 27, 2008

I have never been able to keep to a workout schedule either. That'll probably never change.

But when gas prices started climbing, I began riding my bike to work (11 miles each way), mostly so I could be a smug asshole. A few months later, I got a better bike, and sold my car, and commute solely by bike. Have shed about 20 pounds in the last year.

With the right gear, you can ride a bike year-round, I've met lots of fun people with whom I ride recreationally now. As a hobbyist, I have collected a few old bikes to tinker around with, so that's fun. And there are lots of competitive bike sports you could do on the weekends, too. It's not terribly expensive, and less dangerous/illegal than a fight club.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:08 PM on October 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

I read an interview a short while ago with a woman who got a weekend job with one of those 1-800-JUNK companies that come and take your garbage away. She lost 20lbs and had arms of steel.
posted by jamesonandwater at 2:27 PM on October 27, 2008

Gardening can provide a workout, and it can certainly be done year-round in some climates.
posted by scody at 2:28 PM on October 27, 2008

I didn't really feel the need to "work-out" when I started rock-climbing at a nearby gym. Friends got into it and it was a fun thing to do during lunch-break with a reasonable amount of thrill/risk involved. As a side-effect I noticed that I was getting WAY strong and my arms and chest swelled up to unprecedented levels. Within 3 weeks of starting up. More importantly, the difficulty level of the routes I was able to complete rose steadily soon after beginning. Which was very encouraging and rewarding and made me want to climb all the time!
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 2:28 PM on October 27, 2008

I worked at Whole Foods, where I was on my feet all day and also lifting and cutting 70-pound wheels of cheese, and hauling 50-pound containers of product, etc. This kind of thing was not restricted to my department; all the grocery folks lifted boxes all day; everyone in dairy moved big things of milk and yogurt, and of course mostly worked in very cold dairy cases. I was in very good shape.
posted by rtha at 2:31 PM on October 27, 2008

Get a dog.
posted by warble at 2:34 PM on October 27, 2008

Or, if you can't own a dog, volunteer at your local animal shelter as a dog walker.
posted by warble at 2:35 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I lost quite a bit of weight when I started blacksmithing.

Depending on your location, look for any park-service owned/operated historic villages or recreation centers. They usually have someone smithing who can show you the ropes. Or take a class at a forge - little bit more of an expensive route. I did both and heartily recommend this traditional art form. Plus, you get to make stuff.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is definitely a workout, and there is something about smashing a rubber ball into a wall that just makes you feel good.
posted by clearly at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2008

I have the same problem. I'll be all pumped to start a workout routine and it'll be good for 2 weeks but I'll skip a day and the day will turn into a week and so on.

What has recently been helping tremendously are 5k runs. A friend of mine signed me up against my will so I attempted to train for it and did horribly. But, I signed up for another and I've been running and working out consistently for 3 months now.
The availability significantly decreases during the winter (but there definitely are some available). It might depend on where you live. I know Chicago and the surrounding suburbs have races often.

It can get pretty pricey to sign up for every race (and some charity races will ask for sponsors) but I think the monetary investment helps keep me from quitting.
posted by simplethings at 2:59 PM on October 27, 2008

Being a mover? Playing on an intramural sports league team? Martial arts that has a class calendar and a schedule for testing for belts? Set up a buddy system for working out?
posted by *s at 3:05 PM on October 27, 2008

Fencing. It's a great workout, and you get to hit people with a metal sword.
posted by COD at 3:15 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bike to work.
posted by GuyZero at 3:29 PM on October 27, 2008

Not what you were asking for specifically but what about just finding a friend as a workout partner? You just need someone to keep you accountable to working out on a set schedule.
posted by junesix at 3:53 PM on October 27, 2008

Bike to work.

Bike AS work. Become a bike messenger.
posted by dersins at 4:08 PM on October 27, 2008

I deliver a free newspaper three days a week. In my case it's about an hour a day walking on each of those days though routes are variable. The work is very late night or early morning though rather than evenings.
posted by Mitheral at 4:30 PM on October 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the feedback thus far!

I actually do have a dog, and walk her frequently, she's small though, so she doesn't like really long walks.

I used to have a work out partner, but he moved and again, I just get bored with traditional work outs. For some reason, logically, I just see it as wasted time. -- If I'm going to walk on a tread mill, why don't I just walk to work? (Which I already do.) I want to accomplish something tangible like a pay check, creating something or arriving at an immediate goal. (The promise of physical fitness for some reason isn't enough for me. I know, it's stupid.)

And also, I like the bike to work suggestions, but I already walk to work (it's not far).

Some of these are interesting ideas I hadn't thought of -- who would have thought Whole Foods could be a work out? I love that place. And blacksmithing! Or Habitat for Humanity! Great ideas! Please keep them coming!
posted by jkl345 at 4:38 PM on October 27, 2008

Working in a fast paced kitchen helped me keep fit for quite a while. If you can stand the rush rush rush mentality, then it might be a good idea. Lots of running around with full 10L buckets-o-slop and lugging steaming pots the size of you across the room. Just don't eat all the fried junk on (or off!) shift...

One great thing about kitchen work is that, if it's busy enough, time flies and you hardly notice how hard you're working until you get home and pass out before your head hits the pillow.
posted by sunshinesky at 4:47 PM on October 27, 2008

Dancing. Find a style you like and take classes, and go to social dances for extra practice. You'll meet lots of people, and if you stick with it there can be quite the community feel.

As for a tangible goal: I don't know where you are, but where I am there are two salsa teachers who lead three dance performance teams - one comprised of students who are at the level of their intermediate classes. You could work your way up to performing. Also you can compete in ballroom dancing. There are standard classes and competitions all over the place.
posted by expialidocious at 4:55 PM on October 27, 2008

any sport or physical art form that holds classes should help. look for ones where you have to sign up for a multi-week session (you're more likely to make friends with your classmates if the same people are there each week, and your less likely to skip class if you've prepaid). also look for something where there are levels (like martial arts or figure skating) or progressions of skills (like gymnastics or flying trapeze) or competitions. stuff like that can keep you motivated for years. finally, find a place where you click with your fellow students and can see yourself becoming part of the community.
posted by nevers at 7:41 PM on October 27, 2008

Join a recreational Ultimate Frisbee league. You'll probably have games about once a week, you'll do lots and lots and lots of running, and your teammates will provide motivation to show up. Even if you know nothing about Ultimate, rec league players tend to be more than happy to teach new converts. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to wait until the spring for this, depending on your local climate.
posted by Commander Rachek at 8:02 PM on October 27, 2008

« Older Freemasons and early america?   |   Second perm in my life - how I do this thing? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.