Lightning Review

Work It Out by Sarah Kurchak


Work It Out

by Sarah Kurchak

I loathe exercise. I don’t mean that I dislike it. I don’t mean that I talk about how much I hate it as a form of humble bragging i.e. “You know running is just SO HARD on the knees but it was SUCH A RUSH finishing the marathon in first place.” No, I really, really hate it. I would never, ever, ever have expected to fall in love with a book about exercise but…I think I’m in love!

Work It Out: A Mood-Busting Exercise Guide for People Who Just Want to Lie Down is specifically for people with depression and other conditions that make exercise extra important but also very difficult to do. While the author doesn’t tackle specific disabilities, everything in the book can be applied to all kinds of challenges, especially since the main thread of the book is to do whatever you can and chill out about everything else. It’s very anti-diet and anti-guilt and has a whole list of exercises that you can do without getting out of bed. This book will not help you train for a marathon or for climbing Mount Everest, but it can help you get more movement into your day.

This book doesn’t go into any specific plan in a lot of detail. Instead it gives you a philosophy, a tool kit to stay motivated, and a starting point that you can implement along with your own preferences or recommendations from your doctor. The book does list a “F-It Workout” with a standing version and a modified version to do in a chair or in bed. Given my long list of impediments, I was amazed that I could do everything on the list with a few modifications!

example of a flow chart from the book titled "How to Use This Book"

This book is full of humor, it has adaptations for different personality types and motivation styles, it includes all kinds of fun ideas including breaking out old Richard Simmons tapes, and above all it is supportive, compassionate, and encouraging of any level of movement. It debunks the “no pain, no gain” credo, is body positive, and it avoids any kind of guilt or victim-shaming.

I truly enjoyed this book and am planning to implement the “F-It Work Out”…some of the time, which is better than none of the time. If you are having trouble getting more movement into your life, this is a positive, encouraging, gentle guide.

Carrie S

Frank, funny, and sympathetic, this fitness book offers realistic tips, encouragement, and dozens of activity ideas for times when exercise is the only thing that will help—and the last thing you want to do.

Exercise is the most reliable way to improve mental health. But if you’re depressed, anxious, burned out, or struggling, it may feel impossible to get started, get serious, or even get up.

Written by an neurodivergent exercise professional, Work It Out busts myths about fitness while providing clear, actionable advice on how to:

Work It Out meets you where you are—even if you’re lying on the floor.

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Add Your Comment →

  1. LisaM says:

    Neither of our libraries has this,so I think I will have to venture to an actual bookstore.

  2. wingednike says:

    Woot woot! My library has it, so placing it on my wishlist.

  3. kkw says:

    Lolol I was actively looking for things to read to avoid consciousness that it’s time to get up and perhaps move my carcass, a normal and lengthy part of my day, when I found this review, because of course this site is extremely useful in my quest to always have something better to do than get out of bed. I feel equal parts helped and betrayed that this book has been brought to my attention! I had literally thought, c’mon, you could find that new fit and bendy video on YouTube, the one that is mostly in bed to gently coax your body from bed to standing, your joints could really use some help. Farm out the motivation to someone else! And then countered that with nope everything hurts don’t wanna oooh why don’t we look for new books instead?

  4. Lori says:

    OMG this is exactly what I need! I really love how this site talks about all kinds of books because I find so many of the most awesome books for me through you.

  5. Kareni says:

    Thank you, Carrie! I’ve just put in a purchase suggestion at my library.

  6. Star says:

    I really wish this book had existed five years ago when I told my depressed self that we had to get back in shape! We did manage, but I bet it would have been easier and smoother if this book had been around.

    For everyone who is here now, knowing you need to get exercise but too depressed or out of shape etc so it all seems impossible: you can do it. You really can. Believe me, I didn’t think I could either, but I was wrong. Be kind to yourself, be realistic, aim for consistency over ambition, and remember that the beginning is the hardest, worst, most brutal part by far. If you can get over the initial hump, your brain will stop believing that all this highly suspicious MOVING stuff threatens your survival, and anything else exercisey you might subsequently do will be easier.

  7. ChefCHeyanne says:

    Thanks for sharing this book. WOrking thru emo &
    limitations with new disability and the struggle is real.

  8. Tam says:

    I have always got a decent endorphin rush after working out, and was so baffled when my husband confessed that he’s never experienced the post-exercise endorphin rush. He’s just in pain and miserable while working out, and then, afterwards, feels sore and grumpy. No wonder he hates going for a run, whereas I spent my twenties and thirties relying on a good run to alleviate stress and boost my mood.

    People’s brain chemicals are very different. I don’t know that the exercise-mad crowd always gets that.

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