Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Athletically Askew

Exercise. I hate to start the blog with a four letter word like that, but it was on my mind. I began a nine week fitness class today and hopefully I will look like the teacher when I'm done. She's very toned, like a pro athlete without the scary big shoulders and overdeveloped thighs, so more of a Jennifer Aniston body. She's also beautiful, with a golden tan, long straight hair that doesn't seem to need ironing - very wash and wear, and then spectacular eyes of some light shade that I can't name because the people at Crayola have not prepared me for this color. The odds of me looking like the teacher are slim I know, and even "slim" is a remote chance, but I needed to shake things up anyway, so I'm giving it a go.

Before we go further in the story, you'll need just a little background on me and the "e" word. Until I was 29, I didn't do it. At least not intentionally. Any exercise I got was of the incidental variety. I have always enjoyed sports, no matter what my skill level may be, and I dabbled in those growing up and into college, where intramurals were a bloodsport. But while I was always up for a game, practices and conditioning weren't my thing, so after junior high I didn't join any teams. I managed to keep my weight up during these years by offsetting a weekly sporting challenge with six other days of eating enough calories to sustain a small horse. And I found that after college, the opportunities for playing sports disappeared. I mean, no Pampered Chef party I've ever been to has broken out into a game of flag football. This would be cool though, right? And any other exercise growing up was unintentional, like trying to outrun my brother after he caught me using something of his that was supposedly "off-limits". Anyone who knows my brother knows I've never outrun him and never will unless he loses a leg in some kind of tragic stock broker accident.

But I changed my ways after my twins were born. I decided to eat calories more on the level with an adult woman than an adolescent horse. And I reluctantly began exercising. This initially consisted of walking a couple of miles a few days a week. Then I noticed that didn't feel much like exercise anymore, so I nervously incorporated a little jogging in my walks. I remember feeling embarrassed out there on the sidewalk where the whole neighborhood could see me jogging, jiggling. Then I had this epiphany where I shouldn't be embarrassed to be out there doing something about my weight when it made more sense to be embarrassed about squeezing into a booth at Chili's and ordering a Big-Mouth burger, cheese fries, and Coke, with a milkshake on the side. Not that the last part of that sentence doesn't make my mouth water!

Anyway, where was I before the cheese fries, oh yeah, so one thing led to another with the running and soon I found that I could run a whole mile. This was a first for me. Remember those President's physical fitness tests in school? Yeah, I couldn't run a whole mile without walking a bit. And don't worry, my phys. ed. teacher made sure to belittle me about that and announce my pathetic time out loud as she recorded it in my permanent records. I really wanted to call her after I ran my first mile (just under ten minutes, but hey I was pushing thirty) and tell her I did it and could she please correct my file. But then I realized that she had probably been murdered long ago by some other youth she humiliated and thus wasn't around to tell. And a few months later, I could run all three miles without breaking for a walk. I know there is a program that takes you from couch potato to 5K in like nine weeks, but for me it was more like nine months. Or 29 years, depending on how you look at it.

But I've never joined a gym or anything. I've gone to a few cycling classes with my best friend, thanks to her guest passes. Well, once I didn't have a pass and I snuck in. I don't know what level of misdemeanor that constitutes, but I'm sure I can trust you guys not to inform the Y authorities. So, the opportunity to mix up my work out regimen with a class sounded perfect. And confident of my high level cardio shape, I took a spot in the front row of participants. Cardio shape is one thing, coordination is another beast altogether. As this was my first experience with trying to follow choreographed and intricately timed moves, I can't say for sure that I'll always move in the wrong direction, kick the wrong foot, and collide with the person next to me, but I suspect I may. I'm sure I got the same amount of exercise as the other ladies, but I know I must have looked like I needed to be in the timing-impaired women's fitness class. I'll be going back on Thursday, but I probably won't be in the front row.


  1. I think you did Awesome....you kept me smiling today!

  2. The 'uncatchable brother' here ... let me just say how proud I am of my sis for taking it upon herself to start exercising and eating with more of a nutritional focus! No personal trainers or fad diet programs; just a girl, a goal, and a Gatorade. Keep up the good work! P.S. - on behalf of the YMCA (part-time employee), we pardon your endorphin-induced indiscretion.

  3. Bravo!

    My mom would always tell me not to be embarrassed about my crooked teeth because my extensive, long-term orthodontia advertised that I was working on fixing them. I think the same applies to fitness.