June 28, 2011


As I walked into the gym, I had a knot in my stomach.  After all, I was about to unfreeze my forever-frozen gym membership and take a class. 

I had never taken a fitness class in my life!

A friend of mine goes to three classes a week and she's in great shape.  I want to be in great shape!  (Besides the fluffy, round one I was quickly becoming anyway.)  I want more energy, less jiggle.  I want to feel good in the clothes I actually own, as well as not make myself shudder when I try on something in a store.  I don't tan well and would never just lie out in the sun to bake my skin (though I had done my share of that in my younger years!) but I am wishing that I could because, if the skin weren't actually white, I couldn't *technically* call it 'cottage cheese' on the backs of my thighs, now could I? 

I signed the proper paperwork, dropped 5YO off at the daycare, and wandered toward the crowd of people eagerly awaiting their next session.  I found my friend who gave me a few pointers while we waited.  Apparently, you have to be quick about rushing in when the door opens and grabbing your spot.  And the smaller handweights are a hot commodity.  You have to be quick to get your little 'area' set up properly. 

In a flash, the other class ended and people started filing out.  The instructor comes straight from a cycling class next door and immediately teaches the body sculpting class. 

I'm not completely sure she's human.

As she's getting her headset on and setting up her music and such, she's naming off all the equipment that each person should have.  Today it was a step with risers, a resistance band, an exercise mat, and two sets of hand weights-a heavier set and a lighter set.  In the blink of an eye, we were warming up on the step and I quickly found my own awkward refection in the giant mirror that covered the entire front wall.  The mirrors are helpful in making sure you can see that you're doing things correctly.  But, it was almost more of a distraction on the very first day.  I wasn't shaped like the people that were in this class.  I was bigger, rounder, and my face got really red almost instantly like a giant red flag, only it was part of my head, not just hanging over it. 

Am I sure I even belong here?  I almost feel like I should have crammed in a fad diet (or stomach flu) or two before I was ready to think I would belong here.

The music was a little too loud to understand the instructor.  Plus, I wasn't familiar with the terminology that everyone else seemed to understand perfectly.  I watched them all seem to fall into position accordingly.  I was a little late to begin each new maneuver, waiting to see what they were actually doing before I attempted it myself.  When I got tired, I did one rep for every two reps that everyone else did.  She must have seen the look on my face at times.  I'm sure I was looking at her like she was crazy.  All of the muscles in my body were ready to go on strike when I would hear "Last time!" and start to think it was over, only to realize that she just meant that certain set was over and she was not, in fact, through torturing my already numb and useless limbs.  Maybe it was the acoustics of the room with the blaring dance mix of the latest tunes or it could have been that I was already dizzy and shaking, but I swear her 'Four' sounded like  'One.' 

So I heard, "Last time!  Seven, six, five, one, three, two..."

Honestly, I was really just listening for the 'last time' and the 'one.' 


That's when I'm sure I was looking at her like she was crazy.  And each time, she would immediately shout, "YOU CAN DO IT!!!"  She was talking to me, I was sure of it!

Then again, it was probably in her best interest to keep an eye on me at that point.  You know...in case she needed to call the paramedics or start administering CPR.  From the way I felt, I wasn't sure I would make it through the entire class.  And my reflection made it look even worse.  She would then occasionally throw in a "HOW ARE WE DOING???"  She did not want me to answer that.  If I could have lifted either of my arms at that point, I would have used it to pick up the other arm and beat her with it.

At least I knew to slow down when I started shaking and the room started spinning!

That clock above the mirror moved more slowly than any clock I have ever seen.  Is this class really an hour long?  Throughout the class, I started noticing people modifying the moves assigned and I realized that it wasn't just hard on me.  This class was hard for everyone.

That instructor just had to be the perkiest, most cordial dominatrix I had ever seen.  Why was she so mad at me?  Had I cut her off in the parking lot or something?  Toward the end, she mentioned that she would be available after the class for any questions or comments. 

So, as the class ended I put away my share of stuff and then asked her who she was mad at.  ( I was only half-kidding, really.)  She politely laughed.  She's heard that joke before, I'm sure.  I also criticized her use of the term 'Last time!' and told her that I only expected to hear that the very last minute of class.  I then explained that this was the first class I had ever taken.  She told me I'd done GREAT.  (I'm pretty sure I was able to maybe actually do about 70% of the moves in that class.  But, if she's willing to lower the bar and pat me on the back anyway, I'LL TAKE IT!)  She was actually really nice and I'll take her class again each week.  (While channeling my inner masochist, if that's what it takes!)

I shook and felt weak the rest of the day, almost as if I'd had the flu the day before.  I ran a ton of errands and came home completely exhausted.  The following Monday, I was back at the gym to take another class.  That class didn't seem as tough, but made me even more sore.  That night, I felt SICK.  I'm pretty sure my body was just in shock.  Normally, my body prefers driving and lying on the couch as forms of movement and entertainment.  Everything in my body was telling me I couldn't do this.

But I'm doing it anyway.  Each class feels more attainable than the last.  They are all challenging and I no longer feel the need to take ibuprofen for the pain, or beat the instructor with my numb, useless limbs.  Sure, my muscles ache from yesterday's class.  But, that ache makes me feel like I actually did something with them.  I feel stronger.  I have more energy.  I have started to use my elliptical and ride my bike again.  I'm drinking 10-12 glasses of water each day.  And I'm tracking all of my food and exercise on SparkPeople.com.    That has to be the best free site for fitness and nutrition on the web!   

I can really do this.  So can you.

1 comment:

Trisha said...

Good for you, Leanne! You rock!