I have a new song that I like to sing. I didn’t write the song. Ms. Alicia Keys did. But I’ve totally bogarted it and made it my own. It goes a little somethin’ like this:
“My thighs are on FIE-yer!
My thighs are on FIE-ah-ah-ah-yeeerrr!”
I mostly sing it when I’m walking up or down the stairs. Or getting in or out of the car. Or just whenever. Sometimes I substitute “knees” for “thighs”. Sometimes it’s “arms”. Or “calves”. Or gluteus maximus. But that’s mostly because I just like saying “gluteus maximus”. It sounds like a super hero. I…am…GLUTEUS MAXIMUS! Fear my ASS!
If you’re a Facebook friend of mine (and lucky you!) then you know I’ve recently joined a gym. If you live with me, you most certainly know it because you’re either routinely being dropped off in the gym’s childcare room or you’re trying not to laugh when I am wholly unable to get myself out of a sitting position several times a day.
So, yes. I joined a gym. This gym is very close to my house, which is why I joined. I could walk there. If I did walk there, I wouldn’t have to join there, which is a little embarrassing, but, hey. By the way, it’s called The Wellness Center. Which is another nice way of saying that I feel very young every time I go — very young and very nervous about maybe breaking a hip one day. Those who have broken a hip and go to The Wellness Center look straight up pissed off. Whether it’s at their broken hips or at me, I don’t know, but I don’t make eye contact, and I don’t ask. See, The Wellness Center is attached to the hospital. (Said hospital will come in very handy should I really, seriously not be able to get up out of my chair soon.) Little old folks (bless their hearts) go to The Wellness Center as part of their physical rehab after breaking hips or having heart attacks or one of any number of conditions that might land them a part in a bad infomercial. And they are just not happy about it. At all.
There are other little old folks, of course, that Rock. It. Out. With their head bands and crazy-loud spandex and full jewelry, they take those recumbent bikes to school, y’all. God bless ’em. I love to watch it when a particularly provoking story flashes across Fox News on the TV’s above them. Those legs get to goin’, sister. I hope to be in the shape they’re in when I’m eighty. I hope to meet my best friends at The Wellness Center for a walk on the treadmill and a gossip about the friends that aren’t there.
As for me, the treadmills and I have a good relationship. We don’t throw down or anything, but we get the ol’ heart rate up and a good sweat happening. You see, walking and I go way back. Waaay back to the fat days. No, not those fat days. The fat days before those. I love to walk. I love to throw on my big white tennis shoes, strap on an audio book and my pedometer and geek out on down the road. Walking’s low impact, low maintenance and good for the soul. However: Florida. And hot. And I left more than my heart in North Carolina. I left my elliptical. People, over the past week I’ve come to know an important truth: getting our cardio right under blowing air conditioning vents while gazing up at The View, sipping Dasani and mopping our brows with free towels are our God-given rights as Americans.
So that part’s good. And familiar. And awesome. What’s new to me about joining the gym are the classes. The classes are why I channel Ms. Alicia Keys fifty times a day. The classes are why I may end up in traction at the same hospital where I work out.
The first class I took was Pilates. Here’s my experience with Pilates: nothing. I bought a Pilates DVD in 2001. I watched it one time. Watched it. One time. I didn’t actually do any of the Pilates exercises. Should this keep me from taking an advanced Pilates class? Please. Reckless is my middle name, bitches.
Ow. And also, ow. It hurt. It hurt so bad. It hurt all over. It hurt in places where I don’t think any muscles resides. I really think my actual fat was hurting. Is that possible? I don’t know. But, ow. The body is not supposed to do some of that stuff, I’m convinced. And that instructor must be on PCP or something because she was actually doing it. All of it. I looked over at her a couple of times as I lay prone and helpless on the floor, fully expecting to witness a full-body levitation. Crazy.
Later that day, as we lounged by the pool (which is always what I should be doing instead of taking Pilates), I told my friend Kelly that I was sore.
“You’re already sore?” she said. “Oh, boy. Wait until tomorrow.”
She was right.
That was Pilates. The next class I took is called Total Body Toning. Being that I’ve totally got cardio covered, I really wanted to try some strength training. You know, to keep from getting The Hump. My grandmother is currently looking down at me and shaking her head because lifting weights is so unladylike. Given that she’s the one from whom I will inherit The Hump if I don’t work to strengthen my upper back and improve my posture, she can, and with all due respect, suck it.
Upon entering the Total Body Toning class, I found that the same instructor who taught Pilates taught this class. Wonderful. Undaunted, I introduced myself and thanked her for a great Pilates class on Friday.
“Oh, yes! I remember you!” she said and smiled.
She then began to pull out the class’s equipment for me and give me a brief rundown on what we’d be doing.
“And don’t worry about routines or coordination or any of that. We don’t really focus on coordination in this class.”
I ask you, why did she feel the need to mention coordination to me? Twice?
Anyway, I enjoyed this class much more than Pilates. Working with free weights and body bars and big inflatable balls, etc. is, although strange for me to admit, fun. Really fun. I huffed and I puffed, sweated copiously and turned red as a tomato. Very unladylike. I also kind of liked watching my itty bitty muscles pop meekly out like little bald groundhogs testing the weather, seeing if it’s safe to come out. It’s safe, little muscles! Come on out and keep me from looking like a blonde Quasimodo! And after the class I felt really good and not like I was gonna die. Always a good sign.
(Also, just between you and me, that big inflatable ball is much fun to roll around on. I’ve got plans to take it for a spin around the room one day after everyone else has left class. If you come with me, it’ll be like a party!)
But, sore. Another friend told me sore was good. That it meant I was gonna get a great ass. Since that existed before the gym (hee!), I’m hoping for my burgeoning batwings to shrink. That’s a new and concerning problem.
In closing, let me admit that when I joined the gym, I worried that I would feel out of place. What if I did something stupid or violated some unspoken code of gym ethics? What if I turned the treadmill up too fast and went flying off backwards? What if everyone stared at me? What if I didn’t belong?
The first time I climbed gingerly up on their elliptical and tried to figure out the controls while trying not to look like I was trying to figure out the controls, a lady hopped up on the machine next to me and took off on her workout. She was very trim and fit, with tight, tight spandex and a severe platinum-colored haircut. “Great,” I thought. “This is the person who’s gonna work out next to me? Really? Should I move? Was joining a gym really a bad decision?”
It was then that the woman starting humming. Sporadically. Unmelodically. Loudly. I nonchalantly checked to see if she was wearing headphones. That would be no. More humming. Random, short bursts of loud humming. Then a bit of incoherent mumbling. Then more humming. Then a little chuckle.
I couldn’t help but smile to myself. This gym is right where I belong.