How to get fit without noticing

Get fit so you'll never be dinner for this guy.
Get fit so you’ll never be dinner for this guy.

If you want to learn how to get fit you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been fit enough to escape a charging anteater, and unfit enough to fall prey to a charging tortoise (luckily I didn’t, but I easily could have). Even more helpfully, I’ve figured out what causes the difference.

It’s mostly about how you set up your life.

Does your everyday routine motivate you to stay fit? Does it require you to stay fit?

If you just answered no to both questions, you’re probably not fit. But don’t fear! With just a few tweaks to your life, you can become the meal that got away.

Good and bad ways to set up your life to get fit

The first step to ensuring you get fit is to evaluate your current situation. Take the quiz to determine whether your current lifestyle is setting you up to be peacock chow. For each question, pick the response that best matches your life, and add up your points.

1. What era do you live in?

a) The Stone Age: I catch my dinner by chasing it down and stabbing it with fire-hardened sticks. If I don’t run faster than my dinner I don’t eat. 5 points

b) The Modern Era: I live a comfortable modern lifestyle in a developed country where I can go to a shop and buy food that has been pre-grown, caught, and killed. However, sometimes I am forced to walk several blocks to work when I can’t find a closer park. 1 point

c) The Future: I was frozen in stasis for a thousand years and woke to a world where humanity has evolved from having bodies, and thus no one takes the stairs. Ever. -2 points

2. What is your occupation?

a) Accessible office job: I have an office job on the ground floor of a building with a working elevator. 0 points

b) Inaccessible office job: I have an office job on theย 50th floor of a building without a working elevator. 2 points

c) Dragon slayer: My job is to kill the dragons that threaten my village. If I’m not always in top condition I’m liable to get eaten or incinerated. 7 points

3. What are your hobbies?

a) Playing video games: I spend all day on the couch surrounded by packets of chocolate and popcorn, with beer in a bucket of ice at my feet so I don’t have to walk to the fridge when I run out. My thumbs are very strong from working the game controls. -2 points (No one cares about your thumbs.)

b) Being in a video game: I run around carrying two broadswords and four complete sets of plate armour. Slaying five ogres, two wolves, and a kraken and running halfway across the world is a slow day. 5 points

c) Cocktails on the beach: I spend all day on the beach drinking cocktails with tiny umbrellas. That doesn’t mean I never exercise. Every hour the shade moves and I have to reposition myself so I don’t get sunburned. At sunset I swim in the ocean. 1 point (only because I’m feeling generous–I know the sort of swimming you have in mind)

4. What kind of people are in your social group?

a) Couch potatoes and actual potatoes: Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference until the actual potatoes sprout green leaves, which the couch potatoes never do. 0 points

b) Tarzan and Genghis Khan: A good night out for us is swinging from jungle vines or ravaging Europe. (Riding a horse might look like sitting down, but it’s actually a lot of effort.) 4 points

5. Who are your neighbours?

a) Wildlife: I live in a dangerous neighbourhood. On my way to collect the newspaper I am habitually chased by zombies, bears, zombie bears, and baby dragons. 3 points

b) Puppies, kittens, and fawns: They’re pleasant to look at and don’t require much attention except when the puppies start chewing on the kittens and the kittens start chewing on the fawns. 1 point

c) Housekeeping droids: Once they’ve cleaned their own house, they come over and clean mine. Then they cook my meals and fetch me the sequel to the book I’ve just finished. -3 points

How many points did you score?

Get fit and you'll escape the tortoise.
Can you escape?

Negative points: You seem to have set up your life so you never need to do anything physical. Great effort, but not so great for escaping that hungry tortoise.


Will you be a porcupine's dinner?
Will you be a porcupine’s dinner?

Positive points, but not many: Occasionally you have to stand up and fetch things for yourself. You’ll probably escape the tortoise, but a suitably hungry porcupine will catch and devour you.


Lots and lots of positive points: Liar.


At this point you might be saying, “Hey, Lucy, I scored negative points but I don’t know how to fix my life so I won’t be devoured by a porcupine.”

To which I’ll reply, “Go away, my name’s not Lucy.”

Before I go, I do have some suggestions on how you can transform your life.

How to tweak your life to get fit

No matter how bad your life appears, you can fix it. Just pick the solution that matches the number of additional points you need, and you’ll be fighting fit in no time (or you might be someone’s dinner).

You’re only a few points short: Elevate your house to the top of five-storey high stilts and build a staircase up to the front door. For best results, always leave your cellphone at the bottom of the stairs.

You’re quite a few points short: Import a family of dragons to take up residence near your home (but don’t forget to keep the cat inside).

It would take a miracle to get you off the couch: Start the zombie apocalypse (or pay a friend to). There’s nothing like having creatures shambling after you trying to eat your brains to get you up and running. And zombies are better than dragons at doors. No, they won’t wait while you just finish this quest.

Now you know all the secrets to getting fit without noticing. You’re welcome. I accept payment in pies.

While you’re getting active, why not grab a horse and join my posse? It’s free, it gets you five extra points, and I promise I’ll only send you one email a month.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

10 thoughts on “How to get fit without noticing”

  1. Erm. I scored negative points. I want to live in the future and have household droids do all the chores for me. I’m a professional couch potato. I couldn’t outrun a tortoise. I’m fond of the idea of having a pack of dragons move into the next building, that’d at least make trips to the corner shop more exciting. I know you say that I should use zombies in my situation, but I do think dragons would make me run faster.

    On a different topic, have you made progress with Ulysses? I haven’t consumed any broccoli books lately…maybe next year I’ll try to read healthier.

    1. At least we can get eaten by tortoises together. I’m a bit of a couch potato right now too. How about we share a family of dragons?

      Um, . I’ve been wondering if I should do a poll about whether I should keep reading Ulysses. I’m about 100 pages in, and from time to time I read a few pages, but I generally feel like I don’t get it and I’m not getting a whole lot out of reading it, so maybe my time would be better spent elsewhere… I don’t know.

      1. Sharing a family of dragons is a great idea! It’d lead to super fit dragons because they’d have to fly back and forth between Germany and New Zealand all the time to scare us both. Super fit dragons would force us to become super fit, too, otherwise we’re toast!

        Oof, what you describe there sounds like the way I felt about Moby Dick, which is why I stopped reading it. I think there’s no point in forcing it if you’re not getting much anything out of it. We can always pick it up again later (is what I tell Moby Dick when it stares at me accusingly from the shelf).

        1. Sharing super fit dragons it is!

          Ulysses is still sitting beside the bed. I haven’t entirely stopped reading it… I’ve just read about ten books in the meantime. I might stop. I can’t decide…

  2. I’m not the biggest fan of Tarzan (he still owes me ten bucks), but I like the sound of this Genghis Khan guy! Ravaging Europe (and everything between there and Mongolia) sounds like a hell of a vacation! Where can I find him? Plus horseriding? Count me in! How do you not get a workout doing all that? Those centers of civilization and culture aren’t going to raze themselves!

    In all seriousness, very funny blog! I lol’ed a few times (inhaled sharply through my nose, I mean), then actually laughed out loud at a couple points.

    Stay sharp – and watch out for those tortoises!

    1. I’m playing golf with Genghis Khan on Saturday. I’ll let him know you’re up for ravaging Europe with him. I’m sure it will do wondrous things for your fitness.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. ๐Ÿ™‚ My aim is to spew random silliness at the web so you get warm fuzzies about me and volunteer to join my secret robot army.

      No, I didn’t say that. There is no secret robot army.

  3. As an author, I lead a very sedentary life, except in my imagination. Excellent ideas for getting fit, particular dragon-tending. I did take sword-fighting lessons (for real) but I wasn’t very good. I couldn’t stop laughing.

  4. Out-running a porcupine depends whether the porpentine in question is fretful, or not. The opening chapters of Ulysses are a remarkable exercise in trying to get inside someone’s head, but after that it descends into word-games and general showing-off. Ends well, though. And I’ll tell you what gets you fit. The bus service to your hilltop village getting cancelled, that’s what.

    1. Oh, I wouldn’t want to try to outrun a fretful porcupine!

      You’re probably the second person I ever met who actually got to the end of Ulysses. I take my hat off to you. Actually, I’m not wearing a hat, so I’ll have to take a sock off to you instead. Either way, I’m very impressed. I think I might have had an easier time with the start of Ulysses if I’d realised I was trying to get inside someone’s head.

      Poor you! I can see how that would help on the fitness front. I used to live 100 steps up from the road. That was pretty helpful too, especially when I accidentally left my wallet in the car.

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