Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Club Strength

I am a machine. Yesterday was Member Appreciation Day at the Boston Sports Club, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Before the Club Strength class started at noon, the manager came in and thanked us very graciously for being members. She said the instructor was going to make the class "extra hard" and that we might win prizes.

I am seldom in a position to know if Club Strength class is "extra" hard because it's always borderline too hard for me. I can do a respectable number of military push-ups, X push-ups, and 30-second planks, and I can heave barbells and dumbbells with the best, but there's always at least one moment during the 55 minutes when I'm lying panting, with my face on the mat, unable to persuade my muscles to perform whatever painful activity we're being exhorted to do. Our instructor likes to work certain muscles to exhaustion— and then make us do an even harder exercise that works the same muscles. We might have to do a long series of push-ups after a few minutes of chest presses, for example.

Yesterday, our instructor turned off the music (a sure sign that we are about to suffer) as we alternated pec decks and shoulder presses. He'd warned us to make sure our weights were light because this was going to drag on for awhile. Whenever someone dropped his or her weights, he made an obnoxious buzzing sound to "disqualify" them. Soon there were just two of us left, a very fit young father who is a regular, and me. We were side by side, lifting our weights in sync, while everyone watched us and waited. For some reason, I don't find those exercises hard and I was only using 3-pound weights, having paid attention to the instructions. But I was getting tired. So I called over to the guy, "Keep in mind, I'm old enough to be your mother!" As everyone laughed, he dropped his weights.

We both won black BSC T-shirts that say "Strong" on the front. I also got a BSC knapsack and a talking key chain that says things like "You've lost weight!" The manager tried to give me a jump rope, too. Now that I think about it, that would be an ideal way to drive neighbors crazy, indoors and out, but I foolishly declined.

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