Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Exercise Matters

I’ve been lying to myself for weeks, even months.

Every day I wake up and tell myself that I’m going to start exercising again. And every day I ignore myself. If I were me, I’d be so mad at myself for being rude to me, that I’d just stop talking to myself.

So in a feeble attempt to do something, I signed up for a pilates class through the continuing education program at my old high school.

In case you’ve never taken a continuing education class at my old high school, here’s what it’s like: retirees and older housewives who are bored, with teachers who (sort of) wish they were somewhere else.

Expectations and my motivation were both very low.

I’ve never taken pilates, but have heard so much about it, I felt really behind the times for just now taking my first class. I was skeptical of the pilates phenomenon – laying (lying? I never can keep those straight) on a mat was going to help me get in shape and maybe lose some weight? Hey, it worked for Jennifer Aniston, right? And Madonna. And tons of other skinny celebrities.

So I leave early from work to make it to a 5:45 class. I give myself extra time because I’m really excited to see the inside of the new high school. It was just built a few years ago, and like a million times better than the one I went to. It is massive; the cafeteria has cool booths and funky tables, and the gymnasium is twice the size than the one in which I used to celebrate homecoming.

Now that I think about it, I could’ve just walked around the hallways for the duration of the class and probably would have gotten more exercise.

The teacher arrives and she looks very familiar. She thinks the same thing about me.

“Where do I know you from?” she asks.

“Hmm…let me think. A gym, maybe?” I know exactly where I know her from, but I play hard to get so I don’t seem like an eager student.

“I taught at a lot of gyms…how long ago?” She asks.

She’s better at the hard-to-get game than I am.

“Elite gym. About 10 years ago.” When I was working out like crazy, trying to get over my exboyfriend and get in shape for my high school reunion.

She smiles at me and introduces herself as Melissa (of course I totally remember her name).

I’m a big in-the-front-of-the-room type of girl, so I lay my mat close to hers and wait for the rest of the class to show up.

We start when there are 9 of us sitting cross-legged on our mats. Melissa launches into the history of pilates and how it changed her life while I size-up the room. I’m tied for first for the youngest person there (the girl in the back could be younger…hard to tell since she’s not wearing any makeup). The two women behind me are probably in their late 40s early 50s and have been friends for a while. There are two girls a little older than I am, talking about their young children (“Well, he still likes his binky, so how can I say no? I mean, he’s only five.”). There’s one random woman who – like myself – came solo to the class (mental note to watch out for her, she might try and latch onto me). And the ladies over by the windows who probably got a senior citizen discount.

After about 20 minutes of learning the story of Joseph Pilates, Melissa teaches us how to breathe. After our first exercise I hear one of the geezers moan.

“I can’t get up!” she whispers to her friend (btw, a senior citizen whisper is much like a drunk whisper – rather loud).

“Are you alright?” her friend asks. By now everyone is sitting up and staring at this poor woman. Melissa asks if she's okay.

“I don’t know if I can take this class,” the woman responds. “I have vertigo.” Who knew I was in class with Kim Novak?

And then there were 8.

After what seemed like three hours, we wrapped up class. I think we did about five and a half exercises. Not only did I not break a sweat, I almost fell asleep while we were in child’s position.

So much for a workout. But it did get me out of the house and into my yoga pants; and I think I pulled a muscle getting into the car on the way home, so I even have a sore hamstring to show for it.

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