I keep thinking there will come a point when the public realizes turning politics into a religion is not just unfruitful, but potentially personally devastating. Politics and politicians are fickle and will always fail you given the opportunity. But, we’re not there yet.

Bridgid Delaney quit going to the gym when Trump won the 2016 election. The owner of the gym Delaney once frequented and Delaney entered into a pre-election bet, if Trump one, Delaney would have to pull 70kg on a “sled” machine. If Hillary won, the gym owner would have to pull double his personal best.

The sled was the beginning of the end of Delaney’s gym career, at least for some time.


Writing in The Guardian, Delaney explained:

I didn’t want Trump to win – he’d grabbed women by the pussy and mocked a reporter’s disability. He’d promised to build a wall and called Mexicans “rapists”. The thought of his presidency was frightening but so was pulling the sled. What if I herniated a disc?

After Trump claimed victory, I went up to the gym in a foul mood. “Just fucking load up the fucking sled, all right, and let’s get it over with,” I said without much grace as I strapped a belt around my waist.

I pulled the sled like a human oxen while being filmed and the gym staff cheered. I did it. But the Trump victory soured my successful show of strength.

Yeah, I could pull a pretend sled. But how was that going to help me when the world had been destroyed by nuclear weapons or climate change?

Hungry and sore, I repaired to a restaurant down the road that I had never visited and where I had never seen anyone come or go from. The silent restaurant – no background music, no other diners – seemed like the perfect place to welcome the end of the global liberal order.

What new political order had been born tonight?

An elderly waiter appeared and handed me a menu. Most things on it were not available. The one dish that was was unspeakably awful and the colour and texture of cement.

I never went back. But I also didn’t return to the gym. I associated it now with Donald Trump, the bad meal and pulling the sled.

Delaney claims she tried adopting Trump’s personal health philosophy (if he has one): walk a little, run between buildings, eat at McDonald’s, drink Diet Coke…

In the spirit of the Donald, I drank more bottles of Diet Coke and ate more McDonald’s. I dropped the gym – embracing Trump’s belief that we are given a certain amount of energy and if we use it then we are depleting a finite resource.

According to the book Trump Revealed: “Trump believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted. So he didn’t work out. When he learned that John O’Donnell, one of his top casino executives, was training for an Ironman triathlon, he admonished him, ‘You are going to die young because of this.’”

I didn’t want to die young, so I didn’t go to the gym.

Trump explained his exercise routine like this to Reuters: “I get exercise. I mean I walk, I this, I that. I run over to a building next door. I get more exercise than people think.”

I walked. I this. I that. Months passed. Then a year. Trump was going to be in power for another 1,000 years. Or at least that’s what it felt like. Could I really avoid the gym for the entirety of his presidency?

I missed being strong enough to open jars and carry groceries.

So Delaney returned to the gym. “I returned again this week – to the boredom and pain of the gym – trying to build up back to the strength I had before Trump became president,” she wrote.

The Oval Office is taking up way too much real estate in far too many heads.

Which leads me to my perpetual soapbox: true change is not born in D.C. or anywhere else in the political world. Change happens with you. With me. Change is made possible in and through relationships, in our homes, our communities, and families.

And if you’re lamenting your inability to open a jar because you let an election wreck your life, perhaps it’s time to get a life filled with substantive meaning and purpose.