Yesterday, as I was getting dressed, I spotted my naked self in the mirror. It’s a vision I try to avoid as far as possible. I don’t mind seeing my legs. After all this running, even though it’s been too little running for successful marathon results, they’re looking kind of not too bad. From the knees down, that is, and in the right lighting conditions, and preferably from the side, and when I’m standing on my toes. But the upper three-quarters to half of my body … well … it seems to have been around for longer than the lower bits. Or maybe it’s because they’re further from the ground that gravity has worked harder to drag the bits down? No, wait, that can’t be right? Well. Whatever the reason for its more enthusiastic embrace of decay, I prefer to avert my gaze from it when unclothed.
But yesterday I caught myself in profile and thought, ‘Oh, wow!’
And then I thought, ‘Now, how did I manage that?’
You see, it appears that I have somehow put my body on back to front: my bum is flat and my stomach is round.
And that is how I found myself at the Glutes, Abs and Quads class at 10:30 this morning, instead of at my monitor, banging out some tedious Grade 7 text about diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies. My butt is to be lifted, and my belly is to be flattened. And that is that.
The doors closed, the small, bot-bellied instructor minced to the front of the class, the music was cranked up and thirty-or-so women in spandex pranced into action. The journey to a tight tochas starts with the first squat, I told myself, and mentally steadied myself. But instead of getting down to squats, lunges, crunches and planks, we got going with ‘step, touch, step, touch, lift, lift … step, touch, step, touch, lift, lift …’
You have got to be kidding me!
Who resurrected Jane Fonda? And where are the leg warmers?!
Now, I may have won the odd dance competition, and I may have the medals and trophies to prove it, but I have never, ever managed to hold my own in aerobics classes. When the spandex-clad girls glide left, I stumble right. When they step, I touch. When they are down, I am up – beautifully poised, I might add, with a tall back, elegant shoulders, and arms and fingers gracefully extended, but I am still conspicuously up when I’m supposed to be down. And when they face front, I face back.
I am an aerobics disaster. The gym ups its insurance premiums when they see me skulk into the studio.
Give me a spit and sawdust gym. Give me weights. Give me boxing gloves. But don’t make me do a dance-and-exercise fusion.
For 45 minutes I felt like the special needs student in the gifted class, and looked like a slightly thick in the middle giraffe trying to do ballet.
Did it do me any good?
Well, sure it did. Looking ridiculous is always good for you. Especially if you are in the front row of an exercise class of gazelles. Another two years of this and I should have my body on the right way around again.