On Tuesday I got up and left the house in time to get to a Pilates class at the YMCA. It was a rushed affair getting myself and my toddler out the door but I was feeling good that I made it in time to rush in before the class began. As I reached the door of the exercise room I realized the Pilates class is regularly on Wednesdays and I had arrived just in time for BOOT CAMP!
I had a quick mental wrestling match with myself to keep from bolting from the room. My instinct was to call the experience a failure since I mixed up the class days. I would just go to my comfort zone of the treadmill and do my same boring workout. Then something else occurred to me. What if I stayed for boot camp and what if I could do it?!
So I stayed.
The class started with jogging in large circles around the room, then skipping, walking backwards, and side stepping. After some stretching and balancing the remainder of the class was a combination of circuit activities. There was hula hooping, jumping rope, obstacle course laps, squatting lunges, balance work and finally some core work with free weights.
Well, I made it through the jogging and skipping with no trouble and started to feel really great about staying for the class. The stretching and balancing confirmed something that the Wii Fit keeps telling me, I have terrible balance. The hula hooping was just silly and I got more exercising bending over to pick it back up than swinging it around my hips. Jumping rope was good but that's when I started to notice my legs getting tired. The obstacle course reinforced by lack of coordination and I was going a little slower than before. By the time we started lunging and squatting across the room my legs were on fire! I kept going, step by step feeling my sense of determination building even as my legs were threatening to give out beneath me.
After the lunges we were supposed to side step back and forth with a resistance band under our feet and pulled up to our waists. Tired as I was this one really had me puzzled. I could not for the life of me figure out how to take two steps to the side without the band tightening up under me and tangling around my legs. If I hadn't been focusing so hard on staying untangled, I probably would have just collapsed from laughing at myself.
Next more hula hooping (read bending and flailing). She also had us grab a large Pilates ball and attempt to kneel on the ball with both feet off the floor and then sit up so our hands weren't touching the ball and remain balanced in that position. Goofy as this exercise sounded I actually liked attempting to balance on the ball. I had a flicker of hesitation before starting that I would be too heavy and it would pop under my weight. Then I shook it off and began to attempt to become one with the ball. I kept thinking, "be a statue" and I finally got both feet up and began using my hands to balance the ball and just when I thought I might actually be able to let go and sit up, the ball rolled forward and I did a slow motion sideways face plant onto the gym floor.
We ended the class doing some insane alternating knee lift, ab crunch, weight lifting move that try as I might were just not happening. And that was it.
It was an hour of hopping, running, twisting, falling, and I must admit it was really fun! Being in that room doing all of those silly exercises and feeling the impact on my body I couldn't help but think about all of the years of P.E. when I sat on the sidelines and watched. I was scared to participate. I knew I wasn't very good at the activities so I didn't try very hard and was never picked to be on a team. I often tried to get out of activity in school by needing to go to the nurse or just doing my best to blend in with the floor boards. Participating just plain didn't feel good. I was out of shape by third grade and as much as my body needed to move doing so made me uncomfortable.
After the boot camp I went to the instructor and thanked her for the class. As I spoke the words started to catch in my throat. I told her that going through the exercises had helped me make a bit of peace with gym class. She was really sweet and assured me that I had done a good job for my first time. I am not sure if I am going to make boot camp a regular part of my work out routine but I will forever be proud that I stayed.
I had no idea what was waiting for me when I left the house that morning. The experience was just another reminder that journeying toward a healthy weight is so much more than just cutting calories. I have miles to go both literally and figuratively.