Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to Class

It's September: time to get more serious, even if I don't have a new pencil case and spiral notebooks to help me along.

Yesterday, I went to the gym for the first time in several weeks, an unusually long hiatus for me. I take a very challenging strength-training class twice a week, and I've discovered that if I skip more than an occasional class, I hurt all over for days after I return. And since our teacher likes to make fun of me during class, in his clever, low-key way, he gives it to me double whenever I've missed a class. So I thought I'd learned the value of staying disciplined and showing up, but guess I also needed a mental break from the monotony of suffering in those classes for two hours a week.

Missing three weeks or more of classes was practically like starting over. I'm surprised I have the strength to type this. I'd seldom skipped even two classes in a row in the past couple of years, so I tried to psych myself for re-entry and whatever scene my teacher would make.

So I got there very early; just one classmate was in the studio. I covered my face with my towel as I quietly came in the door, which made it hard to pick out an 18-pound body bar to take to my spot.

When I removed the towel, my teacher had fallen to the floor and was loudly simulating a heart attack while the classmate who always works out to my right was grinning and welcoming me back. My teacher was in no hurry to get off the floor, so I tried to poke him with the body bar. He got up and began his usual, teasing banter at my expense, about how lazy, overprivileged, and undedicated I am. Which is actually the truth, I now realize, not just his way of ribbing me. He asked me if I was back for good or just passing through. I said I was back.

So now I'm committed. Great. I don't think I can even walk down the steps to get to my front door this morning. But I have to go back to class tomorrow.

But I was glad for such a caring, warm welcome.

Class was even more difficult than I remembered. He's always changing the routine, and his newest exercises were no fun whatsoever. For one, you spend a few minutes alternating 15 seconds of the "plank" position with 15 seconds of pushups, and I could only manage eight military pushups; the rest were on my knees. And this came after a horrible new exercise which involves even more shoulder work: lifting plates from shoulder height to up over our heads for way too long. I had to use 2.5-pound plates instead of 5s, which annoyed me.

We were in the middle of that one when the teacher caught me looking in the mirror at the clock on the back wall. He came over and said loudly that, yes, class was only 15 minutes along. Around me, everyone smirked, in sympathy. Back-talk is discouraged, but I nodded and said I was well aware of that. Shortly after that, I became too exhausted to think much about the clock. By the end of class I was slightly dizzy, wobbly, and covered in sweat. I mean, I'm always like that after a class, but this time it was much worse than usual.

I'm happy I went, I'm thrilled that I don't have to go back until tomorrow, and I hope it starts hurting less soon.


  1. Sounds awfully OWIE to me! And here I have been pondering the risk:benefit of partaking in tap dancing again. I am a major league WIMP.

  2. I wish exercising was like armchair traveling, hahameow!


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