The single most expensive purchase I made in 2018 wasn’t a pair of designer shoes, the lamp I’ve been lusting after for six months, or a new iPad; it was a $300 mini trampoline. Long considered a fitness relic of days past (specifically, of the 1980s) it has been a total game changer in my approach to both exercise and my mental health.
I know you may be thinking, $300*? On a mini trampoline? Most people stare at me—incredulous—when I mention it’s now my preferred mode of exercise. It’s like something a five-year-old hopped up on sugar might ask for at a toy store.
This seemingly ridiculous purchase was initially the result of being Insta-influenced by Busy Philipps. Before this point, I’d tried everything. I suffered through anxiety-inducing Spin classes and knee-busting barre workouts. I wallowed in the existential dread of a 90-minute yoga session. After 34 years of avoiding cardio-based workouts like the plague, I had all but given up on ever finding a routine that I actually enjoyed. Working out would forever be a punishment to endure.
Not only that, for years I was terrified exercise would trigger my past disordered eating or overexercising patterns. At one point I figured it was better to just avoid it all together. I resigned myself to the fact that a little extra squish around my belly was better than falling down the rabbit hole of bad habits. Instead, I did the work of self-love and body acceptance and avoided almost every Internet fitness craze, since they all seem to lean heavily into the patriarchal ideal of female physical perfection. Who wants to buy into that load of hot garbage? Certainly not me. (Not to mention the fact that being asked if I’m pregnant is certainly an efficient way of weeding out the assholes of the world.)
Enter Busy Philipps. She made bouncing away on a trampoline look like so much fun that I dropped the entirety of the money I’d been gifted for Christmas in 2017 on an Amazon order in early January. And here I am 12 months later, a full-fledged member of the LEKfit cult. I can honestly say that it’s impossible to do this workout without a huge smile plastered on my face. Glimmers of a familiar youthful glee surface while jumping away in the comfort of my own home—without witnesses. (Please believe me when I say that nobody needs to see this.)
For $20 a month, I now have access to Busy-approved trampoline and mat dance-inspired workouts at my fingertips. There are tons of free trampoline workouts on YouTube, but I’m an avowed left fan. The vibe is right up my alley: All classes are filmed in LEKfit founder Lauren Kleban’s black-and-white garage studio and accompanied by the best playlists I’ve ever encountered in any workout scenario (girlfriend has taste). Gone are the days of joyless, dread-inducing workouts. My ClassPass membership was promptly reduced to the bare minimum for the occasional Pilates jaunt, and I can honestly say that I look forward to working out now.
The best part is that this trampoline workout is just as effective as it is joy-inducing. Given that it’s a low-resistance workout, I was worried that it wouldn’t feel like much, but it wears me out without depleting me. Instead of leaving more anxious than I began, I feel happy.
The second-best part is that having a trampoline in your home makes you the coolest aunt in town. What my home lacks in children’s toys or chicken nuggets, it makes up for with hours spent jumping up and down on a trampoline. There’s nothing like the surprise and elation on a child’s face when I pull this bad boy out. It’s instant fun house.
Sure, it’s a space hog in my small apartment. But I’ve found ways to make it work. In ten minutes I can take it apart and store it under my bed, or I just leave it in the living room and use it as a footrest while lounging on the couch. Laziness dictates that for the most part, so the trampoline is usually just hanging out. It’s a bit of an eyesore, but it doesn’t bother me since I use it so often and both my boyfriend and dog enjoy lounging on it.
I had always heard that everyone finds the right workout for them, but I didn’t think it would ever apply to me. I assumed I’d just be the kind of person who hates working out, and I’d move through life. But it turns out everyone was right. I hope, if you haven’t already, you find your thing.