It isn't often that a blog topic is so completely clear in my head that it practically writes itself. Yesterday, however, not only was the topic oh-so-clear, but the title hit me like lightning.
Dee has been a member over at Gold's Gym for about two weeks. I've been a member for 14 months. She's taken more classes in her span of time at the gym than I have. And, she's been on me to do a class. I tend to be a tiny bit disruptive during exercise classes. I'm awkward, and when I'm awkward, I get goofy, loud, and...disruptive. (I used to take step aerobic classes through the local park and rec department. After several sessions of what I like to call "trip aerobics" it was suggested I find a different way to exercise.)
So anyway, after a week of schedule shuffling, I managed to get to a water aerobics class with Dee last night. I love the water. I'm a good swimmer, not as strong as I used to be, but I do just fine. So water aerobics sounded great. I asked my personal trainer, KRAM, about this class. He looked at me with his 20 something eyes and said, "You don't want that class. It's full of large 80 year old women."
First of all, I'm not saying I'm self conscious about being in my swim suit, but there's a massive, self esteem crushing mirror in the locker room at Gold's everyone has to walk past to get to the pool. Apparently the design team for Gold's wanted to really push home the point that WE ARE FAT.
Next, I did the class without my glasses. I'm not blind, but I have found, as I get older, that not only is my sense of site impaired without the glasses, but so is my sense of hearing. I used to laugh at my mother who would say, "Just a minute, let me put on my glasses so I can hear you."
I'm not laughing anymore.
So there I am, half blind, half deaf, awkward, and FAT and in the pool with half a dozen lovely older ladies, who were all shapes and sizes, thank you KRAM. Dee showed me all the flotation devices we would need. I thought this was pointless. We were in four feet deep water. How many aerobic drownings have there been?
Then the instructor showed up. I will call her Nan for no other reason than my hands are too sore to call her a longer name.
Tiny, young, and ready to kill us all. This I sensed without use of my ears or eyes. She sent us through a series of warm ups. These were moves I like to call "Churning the butter." Easy enough. Swish to the left, swish to the right, churn the butter.
Then Nan said, "Now do suspended jumping jacks."
Everyone else, including Dee, who SWEARS she'd only been to one other class, began to do expert looking underwater jumping jacks without touching the bottom of the pool.
I'm normally far more graceful in the water than on land, but suspended jumping jacks had me stumped. I'm either too fatly buoyant or to fatly fat to do suspended jumping jacks in 4 feet of water. I wound up doing a sort of injured walrus motion.
Warm ups over, Nan instructed us to get our dumbbells. Now, dumbbells for water are different than free weight dumbbells. These puppies are made of foam and FLOAT, so there's a resistance when you have to move them up and down in the water.
For me, the dumbbells made me more buoyant. Seven women moved those foam death tools up and down in the water like a well oiled machine. Woman number eight, me, was struggling to move the dumbbells without floating to the far end of the pool. Woman number eight failed.
So there I was, at the far end of the pool, unable to control my foam dumbbells. Meanwhile, the very sweet lady in the lane behind me, was trying to give me words of encouragement. Unfortunately, I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't hear her.
After tearing our arm muscles to shreds, Nan told us to put the dumbbells on the desk and do more suspended jumping jacks. This time I managed a couple of motions that felt like a suspended under water jumping jack, except for the part where, in the effort to move my hands and legs without touching the bottom, my head missed the message to stay out of the water. (Note: When someone takes you to a water class and tells you you're not going to get your hair wet, they are lying to you.) Surfacing with a snootful of water, it was now time to get the noodles and do some work on the abs.
I like foam noodles. I've lazed on some of the best pools and rivers on a noodle. Nan called out commands such as "gleeb woosh laff" and "gleeb woodle ram." Looking around, I realized that this meant I was to pull my knees up to my chin while floating on the noodle. First, pull the legs up, then twist hips to the left and pull the knees up, then twist to the right and pull the knees up. I was feeling very Esther Williams at that moment. It was lovely and graceful and fun.
|WWED? What would Esther do?|
Then it was time for the final foam tool. This was two foam cylinders held together by a canvas strap. Nan said, "Puh fonna kankle weee."
Watching Dee, I realized was to put the toy on my foot.
This is when the real fun started. Nan had us doing knee flexes and high kicks. My foot, buoyed by foam, developed a mind all its own. I was doing groin crippling high kicks mostly because I couldn't stop my foot from floating away!
After each series of leg exercises, Nan gave us a break. We removed the float from our feet and did...yes you guessed it, suspended jumping jacks.
I gave up. I treaded water until it was time to stop. I know I wasn't doing the right thing, but at least I wasn't choking on pool water or looking like a complete spaz. I do, after all, have the need to maintain my dignity!
At some point, while trying to wrangle my foam encased foot, I realized that the high kicks I was doing were actually really, really impressive. Oh, I knew I would pay for them later. I knew my hamstrings were shredded and mundane things like putting on pants would be painful for a long time, but darn it all, I was high kicking like a pro! "GIRLS!" I shouted to the blurred faces on the other side of the pool," WE'RE GOING TO BE ROCKETTES WHEN WE FINISH THIS CLASS!"
Inspired, I was really, really ready to work!
Unfortunately, the class was over, and it was time for cool downs.
Cool downs? Um, we're in a pool?
Never mind...I swished and I churned the butter with energy and excitement! I'm a ROCKETTE! I RULE!
And then I got out of the pool. And got reacquainted with my friend, gravity. Gravity was not interested in my new found grace. Gravity had missed me and wanted to hug me tightly. Gravity made me feel like I weighed about 400 pounds.
Still, I'm undeterred. I'm going to lose those 70 pounds before Rick Springfield shows up in Milwaukee again. (There, that's my goal, I said it. Now you know.) I'm going to be the most graceful person in the class for older ladies. I'm GOING TO BE A ROCKETTE!
At least in the water.
BTW, kids, I'm guest blogging at Susie Kline's delightful site tomorrow. I'm discussing how Miley Cyrus made me late for work. Catch me after 8 AM tomorrow, Friday at http://www.motherhoot.com/