I joined the local leisure centre last January. Not to `lose weight` or `get fit` as a wonderful transformative start to 2015, but to create a valid reason to be out of the house for a couple of hours a few times a week. Sure, the time away from the sofa and snack drawer would benefit my waistline, but more importantly, the pause allowed for distance and head-space away from my daughter and her never ending dramas.
Classes, rather than just popping to the gym were preferred as they were at set times; so regardless of whether she was in mid monologue or gearing up for a fight, I could walk out without her pushing any of my buttons. `Got to go, can`t be late, see you later!`
Within a few weeks of this new pattern of behaviour I found I was opting for the classes more challenging than the universal `Aerobic/ Zumba`; Once the routine was learned, my mind wandered to what I could/should have said to change things – why didn`t I have a better relationship with my daughter? What was I doing wrong? Why didn`t other parents feel like this?
Spin classes were a revelation to me once I became the Master of my Own Limits and stopped relying on the commands of the instructor. I still pushed myself, but to my `maximum` and my `110%`, so that my hips weren`t sore the following day and I could still climb stairs without grimacing. With the right beats and music blaring out the speakers, I could lose focus on wordly things for a whole 45 minutes of physical activity. Bliss!
As my legs began to shape and tone, I explored other classes that might bring some definition to my arms: Kettlebells were awkward and shaming; surrounded by the classic gym bunnies (male and female) hoisting the kettlebell from floor to ceiling as if it were imaginary, I struggled to lift the smallest size, wrenching my shoulder in the process. Pump and Tone classes used free weights and bars, which certainly made you aware of their impact on muscles the following day, but then faded as quickly. No doubt my technique was to blame as my neck muscles began to enlarge as if I were taking steroids – not a good look.
However, there is something satisfying in our current world of Health and Safety protocols about punching the hell out of someone. Where else, can you legitimately punch men and women on a Monday night? What better way to start the week after a mundane day of back to back meetings than to do a round of fast upper cuts or set head blows? Admittedly, we all wear gloves or pads for protection, but it is hard to ignore the gleam in the eye of the boxers and the steely doggedness of the padders. My stamina has increased steadily and with arms of pure muscle when flexed, I am well on the way to appreciating this class too.
So, a year on, I am enjoying at least 3 classes a week, feeling fitter than I imagined and far more capable of lifting my spirits, regardless of what life throws at me.