At some point, I’m supposed to have this attitude revolution whereby I begin to respect the importance of physical fitness in my life and want to become a healthier me. Or something like that. But the truth of the matter is that I’m only doing this because The Bitch says I have to. She says we’re going to the Y, and she makes me get on those damnable machines and put up with those people who teach the dance party classes.
And she likes Pilates. She likes Pilates for God’s sake people! She’s a total hound for them. I only just learned how to pronounce the damned name five years ago. I always read it like Pontius’s last name (Pie-late) , but it turns out to be some California guru weirdo’s last name instead, and he said it Pih-lah-tee. At least twice every class I have to flop down on my face and rest, and The Bitch just picks us back up and off we go again.
Just about the only classes she doesn’t have to force me to attend are Yoga and Zumba. Yoga is nice. Sure, it’s a workout, but it’s peaceful. I sweat, but I’m never left gasping for breath, and I can work on balance and stability to fake myself out of thinking it’s exercise. There’s soft music playing at something like a normal speed, we take our time going through each pose, and the instructors are never pushing us to do too much. Pilates shares a lot with Yoga. In both, there are modifications for just about every pose, and nothing is designed to leave me injured. But Pilates are designed to push. The instructor says things like “last eight sets” and “give me four more here”, as if these are easy achievements. Plus, there are these icky situps and pushups that my chest and abdomen hate. I’m supposed to lift from those abs for the up-sitting, but I struggle with that and have to be careful not to hurt my neck. And the pushups endanger my breasts, because I’m likely to crash down on them when I run out of oomph in the middle of hoisting myself back into a plank. In contrast, Yoga doesn’t put my boobs in mortal danger (though one of these days I’m liable to suffocate in them ). It seems like every class, another tight muscle relaxes, and every maneuver is like a tiny massage.
There’s no pretending about Zumba. There’s nothing slow going on, and the class name could probably end at that first syllable “Zoom”. I hated it the first few times I went, attending largely out of loyalty to Linda. But once I figured out to take off my shoes, I started liking the songs. And then I started loving the moves, which look flattering on just about any body type. And then, finally, I realized I adore the instructor, because Denisse isn’t a drill sergeant. She’s dancing. She’s telling us what the moves are, and offering modifications sometimes if we need them, but she’s not like those dance party people. There’s no need to browbeat us into submission, and even with the microphone on her head, it is difficult to hear her voice sometimes. I learn as much by watching her feet and the feet of the other, more-proficient than-Jessie students, and I seriously feel like I’m dancing. I can’t quite fake myself into believing it isn’t exercise, but it isn’t like when I’m throwing myself all over the floor in dance party building up a bad attitude to match my weight problems. Or like when I’m huffing along on the damned elliptical, too out of breath and angry to even read the book I brought along for distraction. For Zumba, I’m willing to be breathless and sore. In there, I can almost imagine the thrill the fitness nuts get from exercising.
I also had a good time with last week’s exercise alternative, when we went biking at Callaway Gardens. This week’s alternative was fun, too. It started off dully, walking around the jogging path at Vaughn Rd. Park. But after that, I played with the kids, swinging and climbing beside them and huffing as I pumped them along on the ‘train’. Then, the four of us, Scott, the kids, and I, got on the four-way see-saw and stayed there for some twenty minutes. It was a durable piece of equipment to balance our grown up weight in addition to our kids’ blow-away-in-a-stiff-breeze bodies. And I can feel the workout in my inner thighs and calves, so I know I was moving that whole time. It was excellent family bonding, too, always important.
Not that I’ll be converted to this regimen anytime soon. Just as soon as my decent Khaki’s fit again, The Bitch says I can pull back to a few times a week, and I’m taking her up on it. Because I hate exercise. And I hate exercise culture.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.