(This could also be titled, “Where’s My Leg Warmers”, but I don’t think anyone wears them anymore… in public anyway.)
The gym was doing me good, but boredom was setting in. Then I recalled the conversation I’d had with my old mate Rob, about how he’d been Mr. Fitness in Brisbane back in the 80’s, and how he’d achieved it by doing some serious aerobics. So over the next week I sort of kept an eye on the ladies doing aerobics in the room that adjoins the gym. “Yeah, I can do that,” I thought… and I probably sneered as well. Which would explain some of the dirty looks I was getting from the sweating masses that crowded the room!
Hey, how hard could it be?
So, a week later I lined up for a class. The instructor seemed impressed that there was a ‘man’ in the class, and asked me, “How co-ordinated are you?”
Shrugging my shoulders I replied, “Well, I could dance a bit as a young bloke.” What I didn’t tell her was that my dancing style looked as if was having an all out brawl with The Invisible Man… and losing… badly. She smiled, “We’ll see in a moment then won’t we.” I didn’t like that smile.
Then she asked, “How’s your flexibility?” I was honest with this one, “Shocking. Can’t touch my toes, and haven’t stretched in years.” The smile drifted off her face.
The music started and we warmed up. It was ok. Actually it was quite enjoyable, and in no time at all I had a bit of a sweat up. Then after the last stretch and running on the spot exercises were over things got serious.
How’s my co-ordination? Well, after three minutes I’d opened up a space nearly twenty feet in diameter around me. The only person I didn’t crash into was the bloke picking up rubbish in the car park. For some reason I seemed to be at least two moves behind everyone else, and it got worse. The next song came on, at a faster tempo. Sweat was pouring off me, my arms and legs were screaming for a break, and spots were appearing before my eyes.
You can guess how grateful I was to see the clock hit 10 am. Grabbing my towel and water bottle I made my way to the door, “Where are you going?” called the instructor.
I smiled back, “Class is over isn’t it?”
She laughed, “No, have a quick drink then get ready for the second half.”
It’s the closest I’ve come to crying in a very long time. That last half an hour felt like days. Somewhere during that time I crashed through the pain barrier and was on autopilot, flinging my limbs in a haphazard way, out of time, and synch with everyone else. I was beyond care.
Afterwards, as I lay on the floor focussing on my breathing, and looking at the pretty patterns the spots were making on my closed eyelids the instructor wandered over, “So what did you think? Will you be back? Not many men come back.”
A tatter of pride rallied, “Oh, I’ll be back,” I said in what I hoped was a ‘devil may care’ voice, but it came out as a series of croaks and squeaks. Her grin widened, “Would you like some advice?”
I nodded. “Come to the 8.30 class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s not as intense, and you’ll learn the steps. Most of the ladies in that class are a bit older so we don’t drive them as hard. You’ll like it,” then she added, “I think.”
Afterwards I staggered outside and stared at my pushbike. Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a good idea to have ridden to the gym today. By the time I got home I was shattered, and wondering if certain body parts would ever function normally again. On the bright side, I had a couple of days recovery before starting the ‘easy’ class.
Hey, how hard could it be?