And that includes the Semester of Hell in my Public Speech Class in College. And the time I had all my wisdom teeth pulled and got four dry sockets at the same time.
Let’s see, where to begin, where to begin? As you know, because I’ve certainly griped enough about it in the past, I’ve been carrying around some *cough* a lot *cough* extra weight since my last pregnancy and have been working hard to lose it. I’m actually sixty-five pounds lighter than the day I delivered Nicolas, which sounds fabulous until you realize I’m still at least thirty pounds overweight which means OH MY GOSH I WAS 100 POUNDS OVERWEIGHT AT THAT POINT!!! Sad, but true. So I’ve been dieting and doing ok, but the weight loss has plateaued, which is usually a sign that like it or not, it’s time to add exercise to the program if I want to see more results. (Did I mention GAG?)
In a stroke of perfect timing, a friend told me yesterday that a friend of hers is leading free tae-bo/aerobics classes at a local church three evenings a week, and would I like to join them??? So, because I haven’t exercised in at least five or six years, unless you count that brief, unfortunate period shortly after Kendrie was diagnosed when I decided to mall-walk in the mornings, with her in a stroller, and the old-people-mall-walkers were carrying hand weights and using ankle weights and still leaving me in a cloud of dust .... Well, if you don’t count that, it’s been forever. So I went out in preparation for the first class tonight and bought some new exercise clothes and tennis shoes, which Blaine says is silly (in his defense, he *does* know my track record with exercise programs and can see for himself that the treadmill in our bedroom is still used primarily as a dumping ground for clothes that need to go to the dry cleaners) but I keep reminding him the classes are FREE so actually I’m saving him money. Why he doesn’t *get* that, I don’t know. (sigh) Obviously, these new, adorably cute gray and lime-green Avias are going to make me perkier and more energetic in class, which translates into more calories burned … duh!
So anyway, tonight was the first class. My friend kept reminding me, “Now, you have to remember that the girl leading the class is not an actual instructor. She’s just the only person who was willing to stand in the front.” Fine, whatever, my expectations aren’t that high. Anything beats sitting on the couch, right? Warm up, jump around, cool down, as long as I break a sweat I’ll consider it progress over my normal course of activity, which is using my legs to roll my chair from my computer desk to my scrapbooking table across the room, stopping for a snack along the way.
Let me preface the rest of this story with the disclaimer that I despise it when someone complains about a problem but isn’t willing to do anything about it. Like the parents who hate the way the PTO is run, but won’t volunteer at the school. Or criticize from the stands, but can’t be bothered to help coach their kid’s soccer team. That sort of thing. This lady, this psuedo-aerobics-tae-bo-instructor, is willing to take her own time and come to the church and drag her boom box and stand up there without payment to lead this class. And I appreciate it. And you sure don’t see my fat ass up there. But oh my Gosh, DOES. SHE. SUCK!!
Now, I’m far from any kind of exercise goddess, as evidenced by the size of my thighs, but I’ve taken my share of aerobic classes over the years. Add in my six years of marching band and dance team in junior high and high school, and I can say, that while Richard Simmons isn’t worried about me replacing him on any new Sweating to the Oldies videos, at the very least, I DO have a sense of rhythm. I can follow along with the thump of music and understand that aerobic music normally beats to a count of eight.
This woman? Did not understand that.
She was nice. She was friendly. She was willing to stand up there and lead, which was more than I would do. But it was painful. Very, very painful.
First of all, the music? Terrible. All 1970’s and 1980’s R&B stuff. Like she was walking through someone’s yard sale and saw a bunch of Mo-town 8-tracks and though, “Hey! This will be perfect for that tae-bo class!” and so she bought them and then made a tape for herself by recording random songs off various 8-tracks. This song playing now? It was the last song we heard tonight on the tape and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all night.
And it wasn’t even that the music was bad (it was) but that there were long stretches of silence between each song on the tape. Stretches of silence where we just stood or marched in place because there was no music. Like the kind of crappy home-made tapes you used to listen to in Jr. High, when you tried to get all the Styx and Journey and Kansas ballads onto one tape because you thought that would be really cool.
And I’m not sure why the music was even important, because she had no sense of the beat. None. At all. And the movements weren’t done in sets of eight, she counted off in sets of ten. Ten. Anyone who knows anything about music knows it’s nothing more than math, and it’s not done in sets of ten. But hers was. And in between each set of ten, she would have to walk up to the table in front of her to look at her sheet of paper and see what movement was next so we would simply march in place and wait. There was no flow, no order. Stop and start. Stop and start. Count to ten. It was difficult to watch, and practically impossible to follow.
The whole thing was so bad as to be kind of funny. We did our warm up and stretches and they were ok, although I noticed immediately that she wasn’t on the beat. Then we stopped to get a drink of water. Then we started with the exercises, stopping every time she had to check her paper, and in the silence before every new song came on. Then we got another drink of water. Then we stopped half way through the “core” part of the workout to stretch again. Then did floor work, and then did actual tae-bo movements until the end, slower, but no cool down.
After just a few minutes, I knew I couldn’t follow along because there was a beat, and she wasn’t following it. (Have I mentioned she wasn’t on the beat? EVER? Remember those times you were asked to slow dance with some boy, and he just moved side to side at his own speed, irregardless of what the music was doing? And you would think, “My gosh, can’t you step left and right in time to the music?” Well, that’s exactly how this was only with exercising! And bad R&B music!)
Finally I thought, OK, I’m simply going to do the movements with the music, and who cares if I’m not in perfect synch with the instructor or the rest of the class, because apparently none of them have a sense of timing either, or maybe they’re all deaf and just can’t hear the music. (Yes, these are the thoughts that were going through my head during the class.) Then I even thought, “Maybe this is Candid Camera or something! I can’t be the only one in this entire room who can hear the music.” I know I looked completely goofy, flailing about at my own speed, doing my own thing, and they probably all talked about “that poor uncoordinated girl in the corner” after I left. And I even caught myself thinking, “Wow, if they are all together, and I am the only one who is not, am I wrong? Do I really NOT have a sense of rhythm and all these years I’ve been deluding myself?” But I really, truly think maybe it was a deaf people’s aerobics class.
And what’s worse, is I have to stick it out, because *my* friend thinks it's great and I don’t have the nerve to tell her how terrible I think it is. And, like I said, even though I’m sitting here complaining, you don’t see ME offering to lead the class. And even bad aerobics to Motown is better than no aerobics. And? I have to justify the cute little gray and lime-green Avias, or Blaine will mock me. Again.