This Thanksgiving, I will wake up and take a butter-and-lard-based pie crust out of the freezer. While it’s getting to a rollable temperature, I’ll head to the Y to sweat my ass off. I’ll spin on a bike for 30-ish minutes. I’ll do an interval workout that leaves my face cranberry sauce red, my thighs burning like brussels sprouts forgotten in the oven, and a puddle of sweat on the floor that has no Thanksgiving food comparison. After, I’ll be pumped with energy and endorphins. I’ll feel strong and happy as I do when I work out on any Thursday morning.
But I will not under any circumstances call this workout a “turkey burn”—or a TORQUEY BURN, as FlyWheel is calling it. “I WOKE UP IN FEAST MODE” already has a waitlist. Peloton offers incredibly popular turkey burn rides, bootcamps, yoga flows, and runs. One Friday-after Thanksgiving turkey burn Bar Method class I came across was 15 minutes longer than usual, which adds insult to injury. If you search #turkeyburn on Instagram you’ll come up with a lot of clip arty turkeys on row machines or quivering under heavy barbells advertising local gym classes. (Important sidenote: The turkey trot is exempt from criticism because it’s a family-time running race—no trainers will be yelling about your mashed potato thighs while you run around the freezing park.)
I don’t ride for tacos, turkey, or permission to eat. I don’t spend 30 minutes listening to mediocre remixes to assuage my food guilt. And yet trainers and gyms and fitness apps love to reinforce this bullshit. I want it to stop! It’s illogical, patronizing, and a subconscious way to make us feel bad about our bodies even as we turn those pedals, doing the exact thing (exercise!) that medical experts and Sanjay Gupta told us to do in order to live longer, healthier lives.