Do you know what I don’t like? Going to the gym. You know what I do like? Watching sitcoms. You know the only thing that will get me to the gym? The promise that while I’m there, I will be able to watch sitcoms. I know it’s probably not healthy; I should be focusing on having the right form and breathing during my workout. But the situation is what it is, so let’s all find our January workout inspo from these characters who got swole on TV.
Run in the park like Phoebe and Rachel on Friends
This episode is actually full of good advice. 1) Don’t be self-conscious! 2) Run with a buddy! 3) The park is free! 4) Cardio! 5) Look out for the horse!
Juice it up like Jess and Robby on New Girl
The New Girl gang is gym AF. They run marathons, coach basketball, pass the LAPD’s fitness requirements and oh yeah, one of them is a personal trainer. But in true Los Angeleno fashion, no workout is complete until someone has ingested a disgusting, probably expensive green juice.
Jazz-dance-fight like the Happy Endings crew
Ever since the pilot when Penny confronted a judgy fellow gym-goer (“I am gonna go and bawl my eyes out and then I’ll be back to physically fight you”), everyone on Happy Endings has been super-active. Dave loves to frolf (frisbee-golf) in his foot-shaped running shoes (“They weren’t bad for your calves. They were bad for my thoughts to want to have sex with you,” explained his ex Alex) and Jane loves to, uh, demolish all others physically, emotionally and mentally. But generally they all love to dance dance dance, whether it be for joy at a wedding or in self-defense, as we see above. #FosseFist #NowYouKnowIt #NowForgetIt
Make the gym a social place like Barney on How I Met Your Mother
Barney has an, um, interesting strategy when it comes to gym culture: flirt with women who are trying to lose weight (read: not-thin and therefore not-desirable, eye-roll), so that they will get attracted by you and sleep with you when they have shed the pounds and become “hot and worthy of attention.” So, first of all, no, don’t do that. Barney is a satirical caricature of a certain kind of guy, not a role model, y’all. But one way in which he is admirable is that he takes his friends to his gym so that they can pump together. Studies show you’re more likely to stick to a workout plan if you have a buddy, so this makes sense to be honest. Even if the train is all kinds of mean.
Get paid to the gym like Abbi and Trey on Broad City
Abbi is at Soulstice every damn day, and sure, she might spend a lot of that time plunging the toilets, but do you realize how much plunging toilets tones your arms? Eventually, she does accomplish all her Soulstice goals, like teaching a class and making out with Trey. If you’ve ever said, “I wouldn’t go to the gym even if it were my job,” try having it be your actual job. You might change your mind!
Take an indoor cycling class like Kimmy and Jacqueline on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sure, SpiritCycle turns out to be a cultish scam led by an instructor who isn’t even really on a bike, but before she learned all that, Kimmy worked up a pretty good sweat!
…or Jill on Odd Mom Out
N(Y)ACHO benefit at SoulWheelz, anyone? Even though Jill seems to detest the tony UES workout hotspot, there’s a certain logic to paying top dollar to a charity for a class: you’re less likely to bail.
…or become an instructor like Marnie on Girls
We get it: New York writers have been to SoulCycle. Honestly, Marnie seems like a terrible instructor, and maybe that’s why this scene ended up getting cut. She’d have good playlists, though.
Hate yourself like Chandler Bing on Friends
Butt clenches at your desk…might work? (Or you could try these moves).
Treadmill like CJ on The West Wing
We literally meet CJ on the treadmill at 5am, and later she goes to the Secret Service gym to exercise (and shoot guns) with her bodyguard/lover Simon Donovan. Actually, the whole Bartlet staff hits the gym on a regularly. We see Amy Gardener on both a stationary and actual bike, watch a pickup basketball game at both the White House and at Camp David, and of course, Leo is taking a walk in the woods (why though?) when he has his heart attack. Plus, we know Josh has biceps because he punches his hand all the way through a window during a PTSD episode.
Perhaps most importantly, the staff’s devotion to fitness prompts one of the better exchanges my dear Aaron Sorkin has ever scripted:
I love Aaron Sorkin and you will never make me not.