What Buying a New Car Can Tell You About Your Exercise Routine

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The first major purchase I bought when I graduated college was a new car.  Okay there was that, a Playstation 2, and what was probably the 7th “limited edition” release of Star Wars on DVD – but who’s counting?

The year was 2002.  Like I said I had just graduated from college, The Bachelor was all the rage on tv, and was lucky enough to land my first real job as a “health and fitness specialist” at a corporate gym located just outside the Syracuse, NY area.

Purchasing a new car was uncharted territory for me as all I had driven up to that point was my parents minivan (not exactly a chick magnet if you know what I mean), a 1984 Ford Tempo which was a deathtrap waiting to happen (but it was MY very first deathtrap car, and I loved it) and a 199somethingorother Oldsmobile Achieva that was a hand-me-down from my grandmother.

A brand spankin new car was kind of a big deal in my book. And after having done a little research on a few options within my price range and budget, I elected to go with a Hyundai Elantra based on its unparalleled warranty and climbing reputation as a reliable car.

Armed with my step-dad, who’s negotiation skills are only matched by that of a thrifty ninja, I walked into the dealership and ended up paying what I felt was a reasonable price.

And without getting all sappy and sentimental, that car served me well for over a decade – through two Presidents, three relationships, and two god-awful Star Wars prequels. Although, giving credit where credit’s due:  Revenge of the Sith was okay.

Heck it even made a cameo appearance on this very blog YEARS ago when I filmed a video of some of our younger athletes pushing it to the gas-station in our back parking lot as part of a fun finisher.

It’s something that I’ve been sitting on and contemplating for probably two years now, but alas, two radiators, countless brake pads, wheel bearings, and a few parking tickets later (not to mention 199,939 miles)…….it was time to turn the page and get a new car.

The decision didn’t come without any trepidation, though.

You see, I HATE confrontation.  Lisa makes fun of me, but I’ll avoid confrontation at any cost. Even if it’s something completely benign.

There have been times where we’ve been out to eat and I’ve ordered a steak with two sides, and maybe only one side comes out. Rather than say something, I’d rather avoid the awkwardness and just roll with it and eat what’s put in front of me.

Sometimes I’ll even refrain from asking for help at the grocery store if I see that whatever it is I’m looking for – frozen blueberries, a certain flavor of Ezekiel bread, etc – isn’t on the shelf.

Not that I feel that those situations would be in any way “confrontational” (in the literal sense, anyways), but I don’t know, I’d just prefer to avoid them as much as possible, as ridiculously weird as that may sound.

So you can only imagine what was going through my mind when the notion of sitting in a room negotiating a price for a car with your prototypical, shady car salesperson was running through my head.

All without the help of my step-dad no less!

To be honest I’d rather jump into a live volcano.

In my defense, though, I did a solid year of research reviewing all the cars I was considering (price points, test drives, etc), and even took the advice of several people on this blog who recommended that I seek out the help of www.FightingChance.comwhich proved invaluable in the long run.

If someone held a gun to me head, though, and asked me to be honest with myself:  What I really did was spend a year dragging my heels and opting NOT to have a car payment.  But I digress.

I stayed loyal and opted to go with another Hyundai Elantra – albeit a new(er), flashier, included 3-freaking-months-of-XM-radio version.  Holla!

NOTE:  for any Hyundai executives reading this blog:  if you’re looking for a spokesperson to sing your praises, I can be reached at…..

Tony Gentilcore

101 Reduced Car Payment Blvd.

I Heart Hyundai, Massachusetts, USA.

call me…..(wink wink, nudge nudge).

But still:  there was the whole negotiation thing that I had to deal with, and something I wasn’t looking forward to.

Long story short:  I had to get comfortable with being UNCOMFORTABLE.

Despite being what I felt was well-prepared and informed, I wasn’t comfortable.  Like I said, I hate confrontation and I was worried that I was going to collapse under the pressure, give in, and end up paying way more than I felt was necessary.

But I made a promise to myself that I was going to stick to my guns and be willing to walk if I didn’t get a price which I felt was fair and justified.

And for good measure I made sure I wore a smedium t-shirt to elicit a bit of an intimidation factor myself.  Anything to set the odds in my favor, right?

And it all paid off. After a solid hour and a half of talking things through, and what easily resembled a Western stand-off,  I  I walked out of the dealership a proud owner of a new, “holy shit this thing comes with an iPod attachment!” car.

So what does all of this have to do with fitness and exercise?  Well, it’s simple:  you need to be comfortable with being UNCOMFORTABLE.

As humans we’re creatures of habit.  We like what we like, and more to the point, we like to do what we’re good at or what comes easy.

As a quick example, for many, hopping on the treadmill and watching Ellen is a helluva lot more easier than spending that same amount of time in the squat rack performing squats.

Squats – when performed correctly, and with appreciable weight (and NOT in a Smith machine) – is a lot more daunting and hard compared to a treadmill or an elliptical trainer or a Yogalates class.

Not surprisingly, those who opt for the former generally have a hard time making any significant progress in the gym.  These are the same people who look the same as they did three years ago and usually complain that, no matter what they do or how often they go, they just can’t seem to lose those last 15 lbs.

Typically said while crushing their Starbucks latte that’s bigger than a Cadillac.

I had a guy come in for an assessment a few weeks ago who, to no fault of his own (he mentioned how he worked with a “reputable” trainer in his hometown) was miffed that he wasn’t making much, if any, progress with his training as of late.

All he really wanted was to get rid of his beer gut, address some aches and pains, and maybe get a little stronger in the process.

As noted, he worked with a trainer in the past who had him do a bunch of machine based circuits for high-reps.  It worked for a while, but he noticed that after repeatedly doing the same thing, for months on end, he kinda stalled.

I won’t go into the finer details of what he and I covered, but I will say that the guy didn’t move very well.  He literally could not perform a lunge without falling over, his squat pattern was less than to be desired, and he could barely eek out five push-ups without puttering out (and making his shoulder flip him the middle bird).

How, then, if he worked with a “reputable trainer” for a number of months, was he not able to do ANY of those things? Like, at all.

While most of the finger pointing goes directly towards the abysmal trainer he worked with prior, some of the culpability should be directed towards him as well.


Well, despite working with the CP team for two hours, feeling infinitely better, and actually being able to perform a decent looking squat by the end (although it was damn hard for him), he elected not to come back.

He wrote the following day to say that he was very appreciative of the time spent, but that he couldn’t commit to a new training philosophy.

Maybe he hated it.  Maybe my breath smelled like a fart passing through an onion that day.  Maybe any number of other things. I’m not going to sit here and say that my approach and my way of doing things is the bees knees.

But my intuition tells me that he wasn’t comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And that, sadly, is what’s going to hold him back.  And possibly YOU as well.

Just some food for thought.

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Comments for This Entry

  • Shelley

    Awesome post!! I think this really applies to women when it comes to strength training. I started strength training about 6 months ago. I have always been in pretty good shape, but the changes in my body since I started strength training are amazing. I look as good or better than I did before kids (and I've had 5). The best part is, I love working out now. The biggest challenge for me when getting started was walking into the free weight section that was filled with guys...not one woman on the floor. Initially I would have to give myself a little pep talk on the way to the gym and then stand at the edge of the free weight section for a few minutes mustering up my courage. It's probably the most uncomfortable I've ever felt, but I so glad I moved out of my comfort zone. Thanks so much for your blog - it's so encouraging and helpful!

    June 11, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thanks so much for sharing your story Shelley. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for a woman to muster up enough courage to walk into the free weight area for the first time and deal with all that cologne guys wear.....;o) All kidding aside, I'm really happy to hear that turning to the "dark side" has worked out so well, and that you've seen amazing results thus far/

      June 13, 2013 at 6:27 am | Reply to this comment

  • Thorsvald

    Tony, I feel you as a fellow avoider of conflict. But you're right, i make the most progress when I do the things I hate most. Good article.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:13 am | Reply to this comment

  • Danielle D

    great post! congrats about the car! i also recently bought a new (new to me! 2010 civic) car and felt the same way. the idea of breaking away from the norm is really hard to most people, and i don't think they even realize that's why they do/don't do things! i jumped off the cliff and decided to go back to school for nursing, even though my job is EXTREMELY comfortable, secure, relaxed and I basically can F*** off all day for a fair pay(like i'm doing now!) but I wanted more. after i applied, i felt sick! thinking about bailing but i've been working on doing just that...pushing out of my zone, albeit, slowly but just the same. putting myself in situations that i don't necessarily want to do, because i'm not experienced, or its awkward (hello social ineptitude..ugh) its amazing how bad we want to stay in our comfort zone, no matter what the actual issue/environment/topic.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:36 am | Reply to this comment

  • Hudson Mobil

    Great purchase! We're REALLY looking forward to seeing you soon.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Reply to this comment

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    July 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Reply to this comment

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