A Special Hell

Of late I’ve attempted to go to more of the fitness classes offered by my Big Fancy Gym. For one, it helps my cost-ratio-comparison calculator (hello, Excel!) and for two, it keeps me honest when it comes to working out. It’s very easy to beg out of the cardio bike at 30 minutes because there aren’t 12 other people doing it with me, and there isn’t a preternaturally chipper fitness freak in front of me eyeballing me and 12 other people on said cardio bike. Classes start at 60 minutes and some are 90.

Disclaimer: I do actually love my instructors. But it’s that special kind of love that smacks of… well… smacking.

Today’s experiment was “Group Fitness”; actually it’s one of 3 group-type exercises offered at my Big Fancy Gym. It’s the first time I had gone to this class and for sheer entertainment value (yours, mine, and ours) it cannot be beat.

It was helmed by a woman who is probably 2 years my senior, 50 pounds lighter than I am, and I would not want to meet her in a dark alley. Folks, when I say she was ripped, I mean that the girl in the Bowflex ads wishes she were this gal.

This class revolves around weights — as in, weights on a barbell that you lift and reach out with in various poses (on your back, in squats, in lunges, sitting, etc.) and other weights (not on a barbell) that you do the same, and then some good ol’ fashioned crunches that make your abdominal muscles scream at you for days. Also, she plays classic 70’s and 80’s buttrock for the soundtrack. I got my money’s worth.

What was wholly unexpected is that, upon entering and looking lost (my best defensive mechanism to date), the most frail-looking older lady came up to me (85lbs soaking wet, maybe) and offered to help me set up. She encouraged me to take lighter weights (“Don’t try to be a hero”), set me up, and then did her set-up. Her set-up was a little more aggressive than my set-up but boy howdy am I glad I followed her advice.

Many parts of my body want divorces from other parts of my body.

Our instructor kept checking in with me — publicly (“How’s it going Bobbie? You doin’ okay?”) — and all discourse was in that chipper post-Cheerleader “I’m loving the burn” voice you get only from people who, well, love the burn. “And we’re doing this for 8!” “In twos!” “Double time!” were common chirpy cheers.

Let me make this perfectly clear: if there were a way I could have ditched this class halfway through in favor of a couch and a Cabernet, I would’ve. As it was, I had cheerful participants all around me offering me helpful advice and if there’s one thing I can’t *stand* is the thought that *someone else* thinks I can’t do something. I don’t mind ME thinking I can’t do something, but that is not an opinion that is okay from anyone else. That sort of thinking got me into two half marathons, a triathlon, a two day bike ride, and a master’s program. Okay, so we can all agree that it’s a good sort of thinking.

But my biceps, triceps, quads, hammies, and glutes all agree: What the (*deleted expletive*) was I thinking?

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