This post was inspired by a prompt from my online Story Republic writing group – “Maybe This Time.”
I’m late for the class. As a result I have to rush to lace up my running shoes and scurry around other women already engaged in the lively warmup.
I nab a bosu and plunk it down at the front of the room. This is only my second time attending this particular “Cardio and Core” class and I quickly assess I am the oldest and likely the least fit in the crowded room. I cringe that everyone will be witness to both these realities, plus my general clumsiness.
But what the heck, I’m here. The instructor, my buddy Kelli, smiles as I put the Bosu down beside her. There is literally not another clear space in the packed class. Catching my grimace she gives me a thumbs up.
Kelli and I are about the same age but she is ridiculously fit. The week prior I’d shared with her how bad my depression was, and she “ordered” me to come to this class. When I arrived, she had even paid for me! There was no turning back.
This week, I made it on my own but was caught behind a slow driver for the entire 20 minutes into town. I hate being late, avoid it whenever I can as it causes me unreasonable stress. Coming to this class was stressful enough – as all things are when you’re depressed.
I know that. Stuff it into the back pocket of my gym shorts and press on.
As I enter the gym, knowing I’m late, I contemplate saying to heck with it and just head to the pool and sauna. But I had promised Kelli I was going to try and make this a regular thing.
The tempo in the class is high right from the start. I haven’t taken this level of class with Kelli before. For the past few years I’ve been part of an online fitness class with her that is mostly with women my age. There’s more room to “hide” in an online class than here in the brightly lit studio with floor to ceiling mirrors.
Kelli is in her element. Moving up and down from the bosu with precision and energy. Even adding a hop!
I am floundering almost from the get-go. My kick back is an unsteady lift just a few inches off the floor. Not the graceful bend forward kick out move Kelli is demonstrating. Same with my kick forward.
I do much better with the steps off and on the bosu and the hamstring curls despite being wobbly.
Then Kelli jumps off and announces “Jacks”! I start with high impact but it quickly becomes apparent that I need a much more supportive sports bra or a much baggier t-shirt. I switch to the low impact version but do add my own little hop. There!
I pretty much make my own modifications to most of the workout. Side planks knee down when everyone else’s are up. Then try the high speed running with one foot on the bosu and one on the floor. I give it a shot but soon move both feet to the floor. Kelli repeats the sequence again….and again… I’m somewhat gratified when I look around on the third round and notice that pretty much all of the class is also now running on the floor.
My saving grace is there are no burpees. I know how Kelli loves burpees. I’m not usually visible in our online classes for her to see my on the ground burpee pushup “modification”. I just don’t do them! Usually just take a quick break and jump back up looking like the star only I know I’m not. No one is the wiser – well except me that is. Wiser?
I make it through the class, more red-faced than anyone and the stretches are glorious. I can keep up with those!
When Kelli asks us to do our heart rate she holds up an age chart. Seeing my grimace a class mate says “Ah just lie about your age!” Is it that obvious?
I then decide that despite the demands at home, I’m going to hit the sauna and hot tub. They are equally glorious although two chatty men in the sauna harsh my mellow a wee bit.
I’m back in the dressing room just towelling off from my shower when Kelli walks in. She got held up talking to someone but said she was sorry she didn’t know I was staying.
I say “that class was tough!” She laughs and answers, “It’s my toughest one!”
What? So she had made a point of insisting I join her toughest class?
I feel pretty good about that as I make my way home.
I also notice I am not sore and the troubled feelings I’ve had around isolation, depression and generally the shape of my body these days have not accompanied me out of the gym.
There could be something to this.
I have started and stopped fitness programs many times but I’m thinking the stakes are a little higher now.
Maybe this time will be different.