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nightlife

Exercise

  • 1st Feb, 2005 at 1:02 PM

Yesterday, I went to the gym.

For people who know me, this is probably quite the shock. My parents have nagged me to go. Julie has suggested that I go. My friends encourage me whenever I make noises about going. I've been reticient without really knowing why. But until about a month ago, I didn't want to take care of myself at all.

But the opportunity cropped up. My reflexes kicked in at first, and I caught myself about to refuse. But then I convinced myself that I should go, and changed my mind. This was the most difficult and painful part. However, it lasted only two seconds. The rest of this story lasts an entire night.

Jeff called up Angie and arranged for me to show up. We walked to a Good Life Fitness Centre, which is a rather popular gym. There, we employed social engineering to get me past the front desk, and into the men's changing room. After changing into familiar T-shirt and sweatpants (how odd these clothes feel now) we walked to the exercise room.

We arrived fairly early, so there was another class finishing up their lesson. Angie was waiting for us and waved happily when we showed up. It was a horribly nerve-wracking time for her: she was going to lead part of this exercise class. Next to her stood Sharon, who introduced herself to me in this incredibly friendly way. Overwhelmingly friendly, but I was polite. The two of them side-by-side made an interesting contrast. Angie is a tall, lithe dancer who moves with the grace of a doe. Sharon is a small, curvy woman who is warm and grounded. They were dressed in white and black respectively, the shades of opposition.

The people in the room finished and began to percolate out, so we trickled in. There were some yoga mats stacked in a pile, and I staked out a spot on the floor. As I was unrolling my mat, Camille rushed at me screaming, "Out of my spot! Out of my power place!" Of course, I had no idea that this wild-eyed, dreadlocked woman was named Camille; but her presence was intense. At least, that's the sort of impression that waving hands gives me. I moved over a bit, and chatted with her a while, discovered her name and noticed that she has a most novel smile. It's a smile you'd have if you knew something the other person didn't know.

I soon discovered that exercise classes are really more like dance classes. Except they don't expect that you have rhythm or that you do anything remotely correct. The instructors exhibit such exhuberance at your flailing about, that it's easy to think that you're back in kindergarten again. I say it's like a dance class because all the movements and choreographed and timed against some music to set the tempo.

We started with a mockery of tai chi that was far too fast, and far too imprecise. Then some nice stretches that seemed yoga-inspired, which really challenged my flexibility. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do basically everything. I guess my joints aren't so stiff and stubborn as they were last year. We did lots of lunging and balancing, for which I'm glad that I figure-skated as a child. Then came the pilates-style abdominal workout that really put me out of breath. That stuff was far more intense than I expected for a beginner's workout. Although maybe I'm just really out of shape, even for a beginner. Finally, the lights went out and there was a relaxation portion of the programme—I've never meditated before in my life, but I think that was what we were supposed to do.

After the whole thing was over, I sat around and watched people. Some of them started putting on their shoes and walking out even before the lights came back on. Busy, hectic people who need to stay in shape. An old woman rolled up her mat, and gracefully placed it on the pile. Two gay guys who looked really pleased at spending quality time together. A crabby woman who insisted that this wasn't intense enough.

Once most of the people were gone, only Jeff, Angie, Sharon and I remained. All three of them are far more flexible than me, and I also noticed that Angie has a really nice radio voice. It's very calm and crisp. We were all rather famished, so we decided to head to a sushi place whose name I forgot. Since I'm always polite around Jeff and Angie, I didn't get a chance to try any of their fish, but since it was near closing-time anyway, this might have been a wise decision. Halfway through the meal, I realised that the wasabi eating away the insides of my sinuses was no match for the burning in abdominals.

Now I don't feel as shy in a gym environment, although it would be nice for the classes to be smaller. Perhaps I'll do some sort of fitness class again. It will be motivation to show up at a prescribed time every day, and seems to be more in tune with what I want to do, as opposed to lifting weights.


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
spider88
1st Feb, 2005 19:36 (UTC)
This was a highly amusing post, thanks. :)
f_law
5th Feb, 2005 15:24 (UTC)
SHOCKED
Wow! i'm still shocked that you worked out! YAY!!!! I can't believe I missed you working out...how unexpected is that? :P

I can't wait to see how much you've changed since last month! See you for Chinese New Year!!!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )