I've been trying out a bunch of the fitness classes at our local recreation center over the last week because I'm not getting any younger and my body's not going to get into shape without some effort on my part. We all have underused memberships and I know I have more fun when I'm not just walking laps around a track or standing on a machine so I figured, why not?
First I tried Zumba. I've always thought it looked like a blast, I love music and "dancing" (I use that term loosely), so win/win, right? I got to class early to ask the teacher how intense her class was. She assured me that it was easy to follow. As other class members started to arrive I felt more confident. There were two guys who were at least 60. One was wearing a t-shirt that said, I Believe In The Right To Bear Arms with a picture of a bear holding a gun. The other guy had on a Harley Davidson tank top and a handlebar moustache. I decided I'd hang out near them because if they could do it, so could I! The first 10 minutes were awesome. I was a little behind but I could follow the teacher's basic moves and was getting a good arm workout. And then she said, "Great warm-up guys! Now let's get moving!" Huh? I thought we were already moving. What happened next I have no words for. But those 60ish year old guys? They were ROCKING it! Me? I stood in the back, a dazed expression on my face, limply lifting my arms and lamely tripping over my toes in an attempt to follow the dance moves that utilized muscles I didn't even know existed and required movements I just couldn't master. I walked out 20 minutes into class. A dancer is something I will just have to be content to be in my dreams.
Next I tried a spin class. Riding a stationary bike? Now this I could do! And I was doing really well until the instructor mentioned those words I was learning to dread: Great warm up! This class was actually doable since no one sees what level anyone else's bike is at. As long as I stayed about 8 gear levels behind what the teacher told everyone to switch into I looked like I was doing amazing. And then she told everyone to stand up. You know, like you used to do as a kid on your banana seat bike? In case you don't know, that hurts now. I don't remember it hurting when I was a kid. It just made me go faster back then. But on these stationary bikes? Ouch. Even if you discreetly switch down another 4 levels. I was on 2 while everyone else was pumping their hearts out at 18 and I looked worse off than every other person in the class. The worst was when the guy next to me tried to look over at my bike to see what level I was on because he lost track of which gear the teacher said to shift to. I just gave him a nervous laugh and told him I was the wrong person to ask. I was on 4, everyone else was on somewhere around 12. I'll probably try this one again since I have friends in the class. But it's not exactly a class where you chat while you ride. People just let out an occasional "WHOO!!" when they're feeling the burn. So, that's kind of fun. The only thing I really said the entire class was WHAT? when the teacher said we had a great warm up.
I looked in on a class called something like Super Insanity RIP Kick It Pilates and they all looked like ninja warriors compared to what I can do. Also, I'm pretty sure they were just warming up. Plus I try to avoid classes that have R.I.P. in the title. So I avoided eye contact, pretended I was looking for someone, then turned around and just walked away. With no regrets.
Another day I tried yoga. As I walked into the classroom I worried I had come at the wrong time because the lights weren't turned on. I went back to the front desk to ask if I had the right room and they assured me that I did. I went back in and saw two women laying on mats with their backs and necks propped up on foam blocks, talking quietly in the dark. I grabbed myself a mat as the teacher came in and turned on some music that sounded more like sounds of nature - waterfalls, an occasional chirp from a bird and wind blowing through trees interspersed with earthy flute sounds. The teacher promised me that this was a gentle yoga class and she was right. The only time I didn't feel calm and relaxed was when she told everyone to get into Happy Baby Pose, and all I could do was picture everyone in class like this:
I kind of wanted to giggle and say "we're happy babies!" but then suddenly my spine felt amazing with this awkward-looking massage I was giving myself so I snapped right back into relaxed mode and went with the flow. You know what they say - when in Rome... At the end of our session the teacher had us all lay on our mats with outstretched arms for like 10 breath cycles (I'm still trying to figure out what that means because I breathe in and out a lot more than she says is a breath cycle). I kept thinking, there is no way this is really exercise. But I like it. When the class was over the teacher said Namaste and everyone repeated it back to her. Except for me, because I had no idea I was supposed to. But you better believe I will next time! Because guess what? Yoga IS exercise you guys, not just stretching and getting into crazy positions! The big reveal happened the next day when I woke up with sore stomach and arm and leg muscles!
And as a bonus, the people in this yoga class are super friendly. One gave me a dozen fresh eggs that she had just gathered that morning in exchange for a promise that I would attend her handbell group's Christmas concert. And would I like some walnuts? Another mentioned that she and her husband have bees and is anyone interested in honey? It was like this class was made for me. I was tempted to look for a hidden camera. I was in heaven. Farmer's Market and yoga all in one?
I have found my exercise class.
T-Rex found here
Baby photo found here