Stations of the Cross-Training

So I’ve gained some extra weight during the past year — we both have, actually — for a lot of reasons that are explanations but not necessarily excuses, like not having a kitchen for six months.

It took me longer than it should have to notice, perhaps because we also didn’t have electricity for six months, or perhaps because every time it crossed my mind that my muffin tops might be rising more than they ought, My Fella (like most heterosexual dudes, who truly don’t notice anything* about a woman aside from the presence of boobs and, y’know, other lady bits) would just look at me, utterly baffled by the words coming out of my mouth, which were “Hmmm…my clothes are getting tight. I think I may need to lose a few pounds.”
But then I went to the doctor, who straight-up told me I was overweight; even the LPN made a variety of ominous “Don’t you DARE break my scale, lard@$$” tongue-clucking noises and I was like, “Hey, back off. I’m not some trophy wife; it’s not my job to be thin and gorgeous. It is, however, your job to draw blood correctly, which you are NOT doing.” Yeah, I said it.
(Actually, I didn’t, because she was holding a giant motherf*cking needle and I do have some sense, thanks.)

Anyway, we finally saved up enough for a joint YMCA membership, and have since made what amounts to a fitness suicide pact: going at least 2x/week to the group exercise classes of our choice.

We decided on classes because some of those weight machines comfy enough to fall asleep on, treadmills are really just an excuse to watch TV, and this particular Y doesn’t have a pool — which is a shame, because I truly believe that swimming is the cure for EVERYTHING. (Actually, this Y *used* to have a pool, but then they decided that they couldn’t compete with the one at the Downtown branch, so they filled it in and set up a bunch of elliptical machines instead…sigh.) Also, peer pressure/conformity impulses.

On Tuesday evening, I dragged My Fella along to NIA, which apparently stands for either Non-Impact Aerobics or Neuromuscular Integrative Action, according to Wikipedia. And this is a textbook example of why one should be wary of Wikipedia, because the definition provided bears NO RESEMBLANCE to reality. Here’s my highly unscientific breakdown:

25% Modern Dance (like nobody’s watching)

25% Pilates

20% Painful Foot Blisters

10% Riding the Short Bus

5% Cultural Appropriation

5% Cult

5% Pseudoscience

3% Mystical Jibber-Jabber

2% Miscellaneous Nonsense and Stretching

That said, it was actually a pretty good workout, at least for someone who’d rather be napping, like so:

"kitten and puppy are friends"

Plus, it didn’t conflict with our work schedules, wasn’t excruciatingly painful/humiliating, and didn’t require much in the way of grace or coordination…all of which I value in an exercise class.

My Fella disagrees, and probably won’t be returning. Nor could I talk him into Zumba, which I actually think he might have enjoyed because it’s basically an hour of dancing. Even better, it’s an hour of dancing for people who aren’t necessarily fit, flexible, or athletic — exactly like me, in other words.

And, having previously lived in an eerily homogenous town whose residents possessed enough money and leisure time to basically do nothing with their lives but wear designer moisture-wicking outfits and be amazing at yoga, it was huge relief to see people of a.) different ages, b.) different sexes, c.) different races and ethnicities, d.) different body sizes/shapes, and e.) different levels of fitness. But whatever, I enjoyed myself — despite the fact that, at one point, I found myself ordered to dance a Bollywood-inflected version of the Charleston to some kind of heavily remixed Salsa music, with the surprising and not entirely successful addition of lunges.

With the NIA fiasco still fresh in mind, I was more than a little surprised when My Fella said, “Let’s go to Saturday Morning Boot Camp at the Y.” At that moment I thought, “That sounds absolutely horrible, but maybe if we go, I’ll be able to postpone that inevitable NetHack intervention.”** Which is why I answered, “Ok. Sure.”

Fast-forward to 9:15 this morning, when we showed up at the Y to get tortured and yelled at by some dude. He started us off with abdominal crunches and high-stakes Super Bowl Trivia.*** After that, we rotated between stations for various types of circuit training — which, in practice, consists of stuff like running up and down the stairs, doing sit-ups, and jumping around and waving one’s arms in the air like one just doesn’t care. Kind of like Gym Class, only more diabolical.

Meanwhile, back at the Money Pit:

"kitten and puppy are friends"

Anyway, it *was* awful, but somehow we survived and — despite considerable temptation, CONSIDERABLE TEMPTATION — did not escape through the fire door and hobble, breathlessly, to the nearest coffee shop.

And even though Our Fearless Leader repeatedly called us slackers and berated us for “standing” (and here I’d like to point out that standing burns more calories than collapsing in a pool of one’s own vomit), I was pretty proud of us.

*I expressed my health concerns to my therapist, as well, who gave me the EXACT SAME LOOK of bewilderment, as if I’d suddenly started speaking in tongues.
**He claims he can quit whenever he wants…and then immediately fires up another game.
***VERY high-stakes: every wrong answer resulted in an additional ten push-ups. Previously, my feelings about football were basically neutral. I mean, I sort of hoped the Eagles would stop sucking because it would mean a lot to my Grandpop, whom I suspect is actively postponing his own death until just ONE Philly team wins SOMETHING, ANYTHING…and, you know, I think he deserves to see a hometown team take home a trophy before he receives his eternal reward. Anyway, that was before. Now I actively despise football, because I despise push-ups.

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